14 Pages

Toward "The Perfection of Work": Library Consortia in the Digital Age

The concept of shared cataloging began in earnest during that pivotal decade of the 1890s when the American Library Association began publishing analytic cards as part of a shared indexing/cataloging program in January 1898. This project was later taken over by the H. W. Wilson Company as part of the International Index of Periodicals. At about the same time, interlibrary lending emerged as a focal point of library cooperation. The librarian of the University of California announced in 1898 that he would be willing to lend books from his library to those that would reciprocate. A year later, the librarian of Princeton University proposed "a lending library for libraries" and

named the Library of Congress as a logical candidate for this important role. A few years later, in 1907, the Library of Congress issued a policy governing interlibrary loans and by 1909 had lent over 1,000 volumes to 119 libraries, including 49 academic libraries that accounted for over half of the loans.5 During the same period, notes Kopp, an article appeared in Public Libraries (1905) titled "Universal Library: A Plea for Placing Any Desired Book within the Reach of Any Person Wishing to Make Reasonable Use of Same."6