Tag Archives: library of congress

Virtual Copyright Card Catalog a possibility

Back in February I reported on the LOC Blog – Copyright Matters.  At that time the Copyright Office was well into the digitization of the volumes of the Catalog of Copyright Entries.   Last week they reported that the project was nearly complete.  You can find 645 volumes on the Internet Archive ranging in date from 1891 to 1978.  These volumes provide the initial registration

 information for items copyrighted, but do not necessarily reflect current ownership for items still covered by copyright.   They are a good first step in the search for copyright information.  If you are looking for copyright information later than 1 January 1978 you can access the records from the LOC Copyright page.

Clicking on the Find records Prior to January 1, 1978 will open a .pdf file that tells you about the Copyright Card File and how to use it.  There is also an explanation of the Online Records.

It is the ultimate goal of the Library of Congress to provide access to that card catalog for all patrons, whether they are in the library or sitting at their home computer.  The digitization of the catalog is well underway with the cards dating back to 1955 nearly complete, but the idea of indexing it is somewhat daunting.  OCR is being considered along with other possibilities with the goal of making the card catalog searchable.  You can read more about that in Copyright Matters- April 26 .

In an earlier Copyright Matters blog, the public was asked to comment on the worthiness of a virtual card catalog.  While I seldom comment on blogs, I felt this was worth the time.  After all, how hard is it to pull out a file drawer and check a catalog card.  If the entire catalog was put online in the same order that you would find in the library there is no disadvantage.

In fact there is a huge advantage, I can virtually pull out that drawer and search through it for my answer without leaving the comfort of my armchair.  No longer will I have to wonder if an item is still in copyright, or hire a researcher to check for me.  The library listened and the feedback was positive.  They are looking at ways to implement the virtual card catalog for use until a searchable one might become available.

I’m looking forward to both the virtual catalog and the ultimate searchable one!


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Filed under Copyright, Genealogy

Library of Congress is digitizing older Copyright records

On Dec 1, 2011, the Library of Congress introduced a new blog, Copyright Matters: Digitization and Public Access.  The purpose of the blog is to keep the public informed about the effort to digitize copyright records prior to 1978.  I could recap what the site says, but why not read it for yourself.  You can also find more information about the project on the Copyright Website.

The January 6 post  gives examples of what the copyright records look like.  The card here is just one sample, be sure to check out the blog for more.  Be sure to read the January 26 post on transfers and assignments as well.  You will go away with a little background on copyright records.  

The digitized catalogs of copyright entries can be accessed from the Internet Archive.   They are almost 70% through with scanning the catalogs.  Currently you will find issues from the 1920s through 1978.

This is exciting.  One of the problems genealogists face is trying to determine if genealogies published before 1978 are still covered by copyright.  As the catalogs and cards become accessible online we will be able to find out without sending a researcher to the Copyright office card file, or guessing and hoping that we’ve made the right choice.

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Filed under Genealogy