Book Library Card Catalogues

How to use the library card catalogue

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How to Use the Library Card Catalogue

The Courtauld Book Library


Book Library Catalogues

How to use the library card catalogue

The card catalogue is situated in the catalogue hall. It allows you to search for all the material acquired by the Library up to and including 1992.

The location of the item is given in the top right hand corner of the card. (e.g. D497) If the card lacks a location, it is usually a cross-reference directing you to the main card. Temporary exhibitions do not appear individually in the card catalogue but a cross-reference is given under the museum/gallery where exhibitions took place (see exhibition catalogue listings).

The author catalogue

Use the author catalogue to search for the works of an author or editor.

Use it also to find catalogues of public collections such as museums and galleries, catalogues of private collections by name, and books which appeared as part of a series.

All books catalogued before October 1992 have at least one card in the author catalogue (and one card in the subject catalogue).

  • Books and theses are catalogued in alphabetical order of the author’s or editor’s surname. 
  • Catalogues of public museums and galleries are listed under the name of the town/cityfollowed by the name of the museum, e.g. LONDON: National Gallery, PARIS: Louvre.
  • Similar items from private galleries or collections are listed simply under the name, e.g. GIMPEL Fils, London.
  • Conferences are catalogued under the place where the conference was held

The subject classified catalogue

Use the subject classified catalogue if you want to see what the Library holds on a given subject (pre-1993) and the location where the books are shelved.

The subject classified catalogue is located in the drawers with blue labels in the centre and on the right of the catalogue hall as you enter. All books catalogued before October 1992 have at least one card in the subject catalogue (a yellow card) and very often additional subject references as well (blue cards). The subject catalogue is arranged in the shelf order used in the Library. The cards are filed by location, sub-divided where necessary by specific names or places, e.g. Z6512 for 20th century American art, D623 RAPHAEL for painting by Raphael. The labels to the drawers indicate the subject and an index to the subject arrangement can also be found in the subject index drawer, located on your right as you enter the catalogue hall.

Exhibition catalogue listings

Use the exhibition catalogue listings in the ring binders to find a temporary exhibition by the place in which it was held, or to see complete listings of the Library holdings of exhibition catalogues (up to 1992) by venue.

Exhibition catalogues are listed under the city/town and museum/gallery where they took place. The locations used in the ring binders indicate the geographical arrangement of countries, subdivided by the name of the city or town and finally the museum or gallery (e.g. Z5055 LONDON: Tate Gallery). They reflect the shelf order of the exhibition catalogues.

Name index to artists

Use this index to find artists represented in the Library holdings (up to 1992).

The name index is located in the drawers with pink labels on the left of the catalogue hall, at the back. It provides an alphabetical listing of all artists (including architects, photographers, etc.) who are represented in the collection of the Library (up to 1992). Under the artists’ names, one or more locations are given reflecting the subject area in which material is held (e.g. painting, sculpture, applied arts, etc.). Look up this location in the subject classified catalogue to find everything up to 1992 on the artist on whom you are searching. If you find nothing in the subject catalogue under a given number, the artist could be indexed in the Courtauld Institute Periodicals Index microfiche (please enquire at the desk).

Subject index

Use this index to find the relevant Library classmark for subject areas.

The subject index is located in the small box drawers with cream-coloured labels on the right of the Catalogue Hall as you enter. It consists of a brief index to the classmarks used in the Library. Subjects are listed alphabetically and corresponding classmarks are given below the heading. In these drawers, there are also special subject classified catalogues of MA reports/BA essays and MPhil/PhD dissertations in addition to the normal cards in the author and subject classified catalogue.

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