- The Union Catalog of Books in Transition
- No.15, p.1-14
The coming of a national computer system to take over the union catalog function is anticipated. Perhaps the best way of compiling a national union catalog would be the conversion of union catalog data to machine readable form. The present national union catalog, therefore, is considered to be in transition, but gives us many suggestions in planning future cooperative library systems. There was the idea of national union catalog even before World War I, but nothing was actively done until 1948 when the National Diet Library was established. The idea began to take concrete shape in Japanese libraries in 1949 when the filing of the union catalog in card form started at the NDL, and the desirability of having it in book form was widely expressed in the participating libraries.
In 1958 the first printed volume of the Union Catalog of Foreign Books was published based on the pre-existing union catalog in card form and the decision was made to publish it annually in the following year. In 1971 the new way of compiling the union catalog was devised at the expense of the union catalog in card form. The problems of the poorly printed union catalog are intensely felt, e.g., the limitation of participating libraries in number; the lack of the cumulativeness; the lack of uniformity of cataloging practice for the titles sent in by the participating libraries. Contrary to expectation, the inter-library loans system was not developed, the main reason being the lack of cooperative spirit among the participating libraries. Accordingly, the major attention should be given to the building up of the regional bibliographic centers to satisfy the demands of local users. The compilation of the national union catalog should form a part of a national library plan allied to a network of bibliographic centers spread over the entire country.
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