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The word `catalogue' has been derived from the Greek expression `kata logos'.
 It means a list, register or complete enumeration of something. It has now come to
mean a list of somethings, systematically arranged in alphabetical or other order,
often with brief description of items listed. For example: A catalogue of items of
furniture for sale in an auction; a catalogue of different kinds of pumps manufactured
by a particular company.
The New English Dictionary defines a catalogue as follows: 'A catalogue is usually
distinguished from a mere list or enumeration by systematic or methodic
arrangement, alphabetical or other order and often by the addition of brief particulars,
descriptive or aiding identification, indicative of locality, position, date, price or the

In the context of a library, a catalogue is a list of books and other documents of a
particular library. This list is arranged according to a definite order, containing
specific bibliographic data for the purpose of identification and location of the
documents catalogued.

A formal definition of a library catalogue is that it is an explanatory, logically
arranged inventory and key to the documents and their contents and it is confined to
the documents of a particular library. It the catalogue represents the collection of two
or more libraries, the catalogue is termed as union catalogue.

Harrod's librarians' glossary and reference book 6th edition, has defined catalogue
as `a list of books, maps, or other items, arranged in definite order. It records,
describes and indexes (usually completely) the resources of a collection, a library or a
group of libraries. Each entry bears details of class number or call number to enable
the item to he found (on the shelves of the library), as well as sufficient details (such
as author, title, editorship, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, edition
pages, illustrations) to identify and describe a book. To be distinguished from (1) a
list, which may or may not be in any particular order and may be incomplete, and (2)
a bibliography, which may not be confined to any one collection of books or to a
particular group of libraries'.

‘To catalogue’ means to compile a list of documents according to a set of rules (i.e.,
according to a catalogue code) so as to enable the reader to know what items
(documents) are available in the library, and where this document can be found on
the shelves of the library with the help of the class number, call number or other
means of identification given in the catalogue entry.

Dr. S. R. Ranganathan has defined the term library catalogue as a list of the
documents in a library or in a collection forming a-portion of it. He further states, `A
catalogue may be printed, or it may be in manuscript form. It may be in cards or in
loose leaves. It may be in the form of a continuous book or in the paste down form
with gaps for the interpolation of new entries in between existing entries'. (Ch. FM,
CCC, Ed 5).
In short, a library catalogue:

a) is a list of books and other reading materials available in a particular library;
b) contains entries prepared for all the documents according to rules prescribed in a
catalogue code and organised in a systematic order;
gives bibliographical information of the documents such as author, title, edition,
place of publication, publisher, date of publication in each entry in order to
describe and identify the document; and
d) gives location number of the document, such as call number of *the document in
order to locate the document on the shelves of the library.
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