So why 91rules?

I was reading scintillating material on the history of cataloging books. It was pretty dry until I got to the origins of the first card catalog. Any guesses? Go ahead try! But I know you’ll never figure this one out.

It has something to do with the French Revolution. Like tinned food? Hmmm.

Give up?

Okay – After the French Revolution, the new government decided it needed to figure out what was in the libraries, returning all of the materials that had been confiscated during the war back to their rightful homes.

But wait – there was a paper shortage.

So necessity and creativity came to the rescue. All of those decadent playing cards (which happened to be blank on the back) were converted into catalog records. One entry per card. They saved the Aces and deuces for books with longer titles. The government decided what information would be included on each card/record like author, size of the book, what it was made of, what it was about. Blah blah. And then they underlined the keyword that would be used for organizing/ alphabeticizing this big mess. When it was time to organize the cards, they sewed them together, threading through the lower left corner so that they would not become a mess again.

How cool is that?

But I still haven’t told you why this blog is called 91rules.

You’ll just have to wait for the next post.

Ah, man!

I learned this little gem in Arlene G. Taylor’s and Daniel N. Joudrey’s (2009) The Organization of Information, 3rd ed. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited. Amazon? B&N?


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