Radcliffe College Archives card catalog, ca. 2007
Generations of library patrons searched through card catalogs such as this one to find the titles they wanted. Today, most libraries have jettisoned card catalogs in favor of online public access catalogs (OPACs)—a shift made possible by the development of machine-readable cataloging (MARC) standards in the 1960s, which enabled catalog records to be read by computers, searched by patrons, and shared among libraries.
The Schlesinger Library began producing MARC records in the 1980s, but it was only in the early 2000s, after several retrospective conversion projects, that all of the Schlesinger’s holdings were represented by MARC records. The adoption of the MARC format has enabled the Library to participate in shared catalog projects, such as Harvard’s OPAC, HOLLIS, which debuted in 1988.
Once data from our card catalogs were migrated to HOLLIS, the cards were boxed and sent to storage, and the cabinets were discarded to make space for new projects. This card catalog, which contains information about materials relating to Radcliffe College, is the last one remaining at the Library.
Learn about the Radcliffe College Archives at the Schlesinger Library, which chronicles Radcliffe College from its beginning as the Harvard Annex in 1879 through its transition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 1999.
Explore the Schlesinger Library's exhibit It's Complicated: 375 Years of Women at Harvard.
See the research guide to the Radcliffe College Archives digital collections.