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Ir is to be regretted that it was deemed expedient to print a Catalogue of the Astor Library, before it was known that it would soon be enabled to make large additions to its number of volumes. The noble purpose of the son of its founder had not then been communicated; by his liberality, this collection of books now only begun, will ere long become so considerable, as to entitle it in point of numbers to rank with first class libraries, and in point of absolute completeness to make it in reality a library. It would then have been the time, if such a thing is to be done at all, for printing a catalogue, and it is not unreasonable to predict, that during this now living age, the principal value of the present one will be to mark the proportions between the newborn child and the full grown man. Of the library as it is, the first volume of the catalogue is here presented, and as its plan differs in some respects from that of most other catalogues, some explanation of it may be desirable. The plan is that of a Dictionary or alphabetical Index in two parts-the first, of authors and books-the second, of subjects. In the first part the books in the library are entered in strict alphabetical order under the name of the author as found upon the title page, or annexed to the dedication or preface, and if anonymous they are entered by their titles. In the latter case, the word of the title which constitutes its main subject is that under which it is entered, and not as is usual, under that of the first word of the title which is not an article or preposition. The reason for this deviation is, that few persons can be presumed to remember precisely, what the first word of a title is, whereas the leading subject of it cannot fail to be
known. When a book is published under an assumed name and is continued under the same, the assumed name is that under which it is entered upon the catalogue, with a cross reference, if need be, to the author's real name. Biographies are placed under the name of the author and not under that of the subject of the biography; in the second part of the catalogue, that of the subject will govern. Geographical and historical works are in all cases entered under the authors' names, except state papers, public documents and the like, which will be found under the name of the Empire, Kingdom, Country, County, or City to which they relate. Transactions of academies and other learned societies are placed under the name of the city in which the meetings of the society are usually held—literary, scientific, and other Journals and Periodicals under their leading title. In a word, the most specific title is adopted in preference to a more general one in determining where in the catalogue it is to be entered. Collective titles, as Analecta, Bibliothecas, Tracts, Works, &c., are specified under the collective head, and again entered in the alphabetical place to which the individual work belongs as far as practicable. The design of the catalogue throughout, is to facilitate the use of the library both to reader and attendant, and for that reason all bibliographical quiddling has been carefully eschewed. The entry of an author's publications under the general title of works is next to no entry at all, especially for those not exceedingly familiar with books, and it is for persons of this class that the catalogue is mainly intended. Readers that know what books they want never need a Catalogue of any kind except to know if the books wanted are in the library to which they repair.
These are some of the distinctive features of the first part of the Astor Library Catalogue, or Alphabetical Index of Authors and Books. In the second, or Index of subjects, the same alphabetical order will be observed. Every man's experience teaches him, that the Dictionary form is the best of all forms for a guide to needed knowledge, and that with such an aid the right track is surely and