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The Catalogue now issued has been prepared under circumstances quite unfavorable to thoroughness and accuracy. By necessity the greater part of the labor of transcribing and arranging titles has been performed by assistants who had had no previous experience in this kind of work. And during the whole progress of the work the free circulation and use of the books has not been obstructed for a day. The librarian, under the direction of the Committee of Revision, has supervised the work in all its course and in all its details. The labor of finally revising the manuscript for the press, involving very frequent reference to original title pages and to other authorities for the settling of doubtful points, and the whole of the proof-reading, has been performed by him. But with all the care possible in the case, errors and mistakes must have occurred.
This volume is rather an index to the library, than a catalogue. It has been prepared as a help in finding the books, and in ascertaining what books the library contains on particular subjects. Every book has been entered and may be found under the name of the author when known, or if anonymous, under the leading word of the title. These entries have been made sufficiently full to identify the books and to give a tolerably clear idea of their purpose and scope, including the place and date of publication, the number and size of volumes, and frequently the edition. Where no mention is made of the size of the volume in this principal entry, it is understood to be of duodecimo or smaller size. As an additional aid to the finding of books, very many of them have been entered under their title or under some characteristic or significant word in the title.
A third and sometimes a fourth entry has been made under the word or words which most clearly indicate the subject of the books.
These title and subject entries have been made very short, so as to gain space and bring a large number under the eye at once. They are constructed so as to enable one to find at once the principal entry, where the full description of the book is given.
These entries have all been arranged in one list and in strict alphabetical order. The
arrangement of authors and subjects in separate alphabets, which was followed in previous catalogues, has some advantages. But the present plan has been found to be far more convenient and useful.
Great pains have been taken to make such subject entries as would exhibit the general contents of all the books, and to arrange these entries so as to render it easy