Library of Congress Card Catalog in Washington, D.C.

For decades, elegant card catalogs occupied a central spot in the Library of Congress Main Reading Room. Before computerization, they were as central to the research process as a search engine in the present day. The last old card catalog was deemed obsolete the 1980s and pushed down into the basement, where it remains to this day.

The Library of Congress card catalog system dates back to 1898. By 1901 the LC Card Division was producing vast quantities of them for sale to libraries across...

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