The Library of Congress sheet shelflist, created between 1897 and 1940 was the forerunner of the card shelflist.  The sheet shelflist was originally maintained on sheets encased in red buckram portfolios, although some classes (M, Z, and parts of P) were recorded on 3x5 cards.  Holdings and location information were listed, including holdings for serials.  In 1940, all newly processed entries began to be listed on cards and interfiled into the existing card shelflist.  In 1942 serials holdings began to be recorded in the Serial Record division.  Until the information from the sheet shelflist was converted onto cards, it remained the only source of information for thousands of entries.

The card shelflist housed in more than 13,000 card trays, contained over 100 years of cataloging history.  It contained cards arranged according to earlier editions of classification schedules and earlier filing rules.  Information on more than 12 million 3x5 cards (printed catalog cards as well as shelflist information cards) gave not only the shelf location of every fully classified monograph and serial, but also holdings information--how many volumes and copies of a monograph title there were and where in the Library each was located.

From 1967 to 1999 many cataloging activities at the Library were automated, using MUMS (Multiple-Use Marc System), an in-house system developed specifically to fulfill requirements at the Library of Congress.  It provided for online input and updating of bibliographic and authority records, including the completion of call numbers.

The online shelflist began in 1999 when the Library adopted Voyager as its integrated library system.  At that time the card shelflist was closed.  New records were available only in the online system.  The card shelflist was dispersed to different buildings in 2004-2005 in order to accommodate the growing space needs of non-cataloging staff.

At the Library of Congress, shelflisting was an activity generally separated from classification until 2005.  Staff members in a special unit completed the call number after catalogers assigned subject headings and class numbers.  By 1991 the Shelflisting section of the Subject Cataloging division (1941-1992) consisted of 69 staff members in seven units:  General (A-G, L), Social Sciences (H-J), Law (K), Language and Literature (N, P), Science and Technology (Q-V), Serials (Z, Serials), and Shelflist Services.  In the whole book reorganization of 1992, the Subject Cataloging division and the Shelflisting section were disbanded and the staff reallocated to the 42 new cataloging teams.

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Subject Cataloging Manual - Shelflisting:  Contents