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all the Histories of France, side by side; proceed on the same principles with the whole of your books, and your classed catalogue will be made: it may take a slight amount of trouble, yet any body with an ounce of brains and a little good will can and must succeed; real difficulty there is none.' It is impossible to suppress a smile when one thinks how many men there are even in this University to whom this sad nonsense appears to be perfectly sane and rational. 'But,' my hazy friend continues, 'you surely forget that what you so dogmatically call 'nonsense' is advocated by a large number, perhaps by a majority of librarians; they must know all about books; it is their profession.' No, I do not forget the librarians, to whom, their profession and qualifications, I shall some day return.

"A man thinks to himself how pleasant it would be to turn-let us say-to the head Balloon,' and there see all the books that treat of them arranged in the exact order that suits him (it will suit nobody else); another wishes to discover what were the popular London Songs at the Restoration; another desires to prime himself for a paper on the Ink of the Middle Ages; all expect to discover what they require in the classed catalogue. Under what head ought Balloon' to come? That depends on the way in which you look at them. Those who dream of travelling in the air will be disposed to think that travelling in the air should stand somewhere near travelling on land and travelling on water: those who look on the balloon as a toy, an amusement, an entertainment for a tea-garden, will be inclined to hunt for them under Sports, Pastimes, and Amusements: those who regard them as bags full of gas lighter than air may search under Natural Philosophy. Quot homines tot sententiae, and, what is rare, everybody is right. You may with perfect correctness look at a balloon in an indefinite number of ways, and

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your classification will vary accordingly. Do you want your book in order to know how balloons are made? surely it must come under the Arts: do you wish to read of celebrated ascents and descents, what can be more natural than to turn to some sub-division of History? At this point I lay down my pen, and consult a classed catalogue of more than thirty thousand distinct works (more than a hundred thousand volumes), and endeavour by its help to discover some books on the subject. It is idle to look under Theology or Jurisprudence; neither are History or Literature promising. Only one big head remains, Arts and Sciences; and, after running my eye over nine closely printed columns of index in small type, I discover that there is no head Aerostation or Balloon at all. Books certainly exist on the subject, and some of them are probably hidden away somewhere in this catalogue, but where? After a long search I am unable to say where. This, it will be said, only proves the badness of your book; in fact, however, it proves more, for the same thing necessarily happens times without number in all classed catalogues.

"For the London Songs of the Restoration three or four heads may be with some difficulty discovered, but it would be a weary business to make out under which of them we should be likely to find Durfey and his compeers. Then as to Ink in the Middle Ages, one reflects that old ink is a kind of pigment, modern ink is a species of dye, it is a chemical compound; are we to look under Manufactures, or Applied Chemistry, or Middle Ages? Again, it occurs to one's mind that people who discourse of writing and writing materials must talk of ink; are we to turn out the Art of Writing? and, if so, under what more general head does that come? As a matter of fact, in this case as in the others, I, in common with all men accustomed to literary research, know perfectly well how to get at

books on all three subjects, supposing such books to exist; but we should never dream of getting our information out of the classed catalogue of such a library as the Bodleian. It would take too long, and be too much like looking for a needle in a bottle of hay. However, I again take up my classed catalogue. Under Arts I find a general heading, 'Writing and other means of representing speech:' to that I turn and read two closely printed columns, but not a word do I see about Ink; so I have recourse again to the index, and at length, in a totally different part of the catalogue, under Literary History, I discover a subhead 'Palæography'; after a time I light on the one book of Caneparius de Atramentis, Lond. 1660. And now bidding adieu to classed catalogues, I turn to a very different sort of work, and there, without a moment's trouble, I get the names of more than twenty authors who have written upon Ink, and, if I were not too lazy, could with ease add to that number. Whereupon thinking of ink, it just occurs to me that, between forty and fifty years ago, I copied down a medieval receipt for the making of ink (and have just fished it up and re-read it) out of Arnold's Chronicle of London, a book which, like thousands of others, must always render a classed catalogue a snare and a delusion. Where should a Chronicle of London be put? Either under History or under London. Both would be right and both wrong, for the contents of this curious old book are very miscellaneous; it contains inter alia not only a list of the Lord Mayors of London, but (I speak from memory) directions how to grow parsley in a few hours, how to make ink, etc. etc., and the earliest known copy of that famous old ballad, The Nut-brown Maid.' Such a book goes by equal right in twenty places. If you put it in twenty places, you must pay for twenty slips instead of one; you vastly increase the bulk of your unwieldy

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catalogue; the larger you make it, the more difficult it is to use it, and after an enormous expenditure of time, trouble, and money, you produce something which no man fit to be admitted to such a library as the Bodleian would ever care to look at.

"It will be said that I have purposely chosen extreme examples and cases where I happen to have private information. Nothing of the sort: the examples were written down at random just as they came into my head; and as to extreme examples, it must be remembered that a classed catalogue which will not stand the test of extreme cases is self-condemned. Everybody knows that Bibles are to be looked for under Theology; Fearne on Contingent Remainders, under Law; and so on; it is only by taking something a little out of the common way that you can judge whether you have got a useful or a useless article.

"A large percentage of books, perhaps thirty or forty per cent, or more, are obstinate; they will not go under one class and stop there; small blame to them, for they have just as good a right to go in half a dozen other places. Either enter them then in half a dozen places, or make crossreferences, say the advocates of a classed catalogue. Very good only just consider what this means. It means that, besides the huge alphabetical catalogue in over seven hundred volumes, there is to be another ever so much larger; it means an immense expenditure, rather an immense waste, of money.

"What the present catalogue cost is more than I can tell; but to suppose it to have come to £5 a volume for labour, transcription, paper, and binding, is probably ludicrously below the actual sum expended; at £5 a volume it must have cost over £3500, and perhaps more than twice that sum. The classed catalogue, being of necessity considerably larger, can hardly cost less. And for what is this money

spent? For a thing that nobody wants who knows anything about books.

"Consider too the fate of an author like Aristotle or Leibnitz; their works are scattered in all directions. Where there is an alphabetical catalogue of authors, there may not be any great hardship in this, because every book is entered at least twice; and if you want the Opera Omnia, you can turn out Aristotle or Leibnitz and find them but where, as in many French libraries, the librarians are so ignorant of their profession as to make only a classed catalogue, the search for the works of a polygraphic author is, as I know by bitter experience, simply maddening.

"If any two persons would spend an hour in assigning to their respective classes a hundred books taken at random, they would discover that the arrangement which one considers to be natural and proper, is to the other in the highest degree unnatural and improper. A man may discover more than this; he may find, and certainly will find, not only that he differs widely from other people, but, what is more confounding still, that he differs from himself. The classification which seemed natural enough a month ago looks very different to-day. And the classed catalogue of a library is largely, if not wholly, the vagary of the librarian: even if it is fashioned on results arrived at in a congress of librarians, it by no means follows that any but the authors of the scheme can find their way about in it, nor can they always do so. Each system of classification-and there are many such-is a maze in which all but those in the secret are lost.

"But even were such a catalogue possible, no one man could compile it; for to class all the books in a library as large as the Bodleian, is to class works which cover, or nearly cover, the omne scibile; and unless a man knows every branch, nay, every twig and bud of human know

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