We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Paper Machines

About Cards & Catalogs, 1548-1929

Markus Krajewski, translated by Peter Krapp

Publication Year: 2011

Why the card catalog--a “paper machine” with rearrangeable elements--can be regarded as a precursor of the computer.

Published by: The MIT Press

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (49.1 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (30.0 KB)
pp. v-vi

read more

Chapter 1. From Library Guides to the Bureaucratic Era

pdf iconDownload PDF (117.4 KB)
pp. 1-8

“ Card catalogs can do anything ” — this is the slogan Fortschritt GmbH introduces to promote its progressive services in the 1929 volume of the Zeitschrift für Organisation ( figure 1.1 ), quite in accordance with its name: Fortschritt , progress. The promise offered in the very first phrase of the company’s full-...

read more

Chapter 2. Temporary Indexing

pdf iconDownload PDF (241.2 KB)
pp. 9- 24

With the invention and spread of printing with movable type, a complaint arises in the learned reading world. It is the book flood, always a nautical or irrigation metaphor, that has a disturbing effect on readers in the newly established privacy of their studies. 1 “ There are so many books that we lack the time even to read the...

Part I. Around 1800

pdf iconDownload PDF (26.2 KB)
pp. 25-33

read more

Chapter 3. The First Card Index?

pdf iconDownload PDF (160.3 KB)
pp. 34-48

On Christmas Eve, 1770, a court decree by Her Majesty Maria Theresa goes out to the mayor of Vienna, ordering him to “ make the numbers on all houses legible and visible, on punishment of 9fl .” 1 This refers to the so-called conscription numbers that serve to simplify the registration of the male population of...

read more

Chapter 4. Thinking in Boxes

pdf iconDownload PDF (142.3 KB)
pp. 49-68

When Konrad Gessner advocated in Zurich in 1548 that book indexes and descriptions should be made using excerpting tactics, he did so as a scholar addressing librarians as well as authors. The second half of the eighteenth century witnesses trends that help to dissolve this narrow coupling of librarian...

read more

Chapter 5. American Arrival

pdf iconDownload PDF (162.2 KB)
pp. 69-84

How, then, does the library card index reach the New World, and how does it also develop into a card index system for business use? On the one hand, American librarians travel around Europe throughout the fi rst half of the nineteenth century to study — and later to import — library technologies for their own, rapidly developing...

Part II. Around 1900

read more

Chapter 6. Institutional Technology Transfer

pdf iconDownload PDF (195.0 KB)
pp. 87-106

On October 6, 1876, a 25-year-old assistant librarian signs the corporate charter of the American Library Association thus: “ Number One, Melvil Dewey. ” 1 On Dewey’s initiative, America’s most famous librarians have assembled in order to...

read more

Chapter 7. Transatlantic Technology Transfer

pdf iconDownload PDF (134.5 KB)
pp. 107-122

Throughout the nineteenth century, the practice of using index cards not occasionally but permanently in cataloging large book collections spreads among European libraries, finding its way across the Atlantic into the New World, to be naturalized after 1861 as a new technique accessible to a general audience. Ezra...

read more

Chapter 8. Paper Slip Economy

pdf iconDownload PDF (164.7 KB)
pp. 123-142

Although The Bridge collapses on the eve of World War I, advertising stamps proving an insufficient foundation, Wilhelm Ostwald succeeds in drawing attention to his universal concepts of organization even after the failure of the project. However, in 1914, the global turn of events — that is, the outbreak of World War...

read more

Afterword to the English Edition

pdf iconDownload PDF (40.2 KB)
pp. 143-144

Progress knows no borders. Beginning with vacuum cleaners and telephones, electric and electronic technologies have invaded the library and have transformed information technology as well as the tools of rapid knowledge production. Be it in the form of catalogs that turn into OPACs, be it computerized...


pdf iconDownload PDF (130.0 KB)
pp. 145-180


pdf iconDownload PDF (139.0 KB)
pp. 181-206


pdf iconDownload PDF (60.9 KB)
pp. 207-215

E-ISBN-13: 9780262298216
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262015899

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2011