My heart bleeds! Going to the main-entry card and following the tracings found there was a standard research technique and not the least bit impractical, though, yes, you did have to walk around the catalog room to use the catalog. There is probably video online somewhere of people doing this amazing feat, for the benefit of youngsters for whom it strains credulity.
Not so! Many libraries had a shelflist as part of the public catalog. In most of those that did not, asking nicely with a reasonable aim in mind could earn the user an escorted trip to some place such as the bowels of the cataloging department, with supervised access to the shelflist.
cp67-cms had a source *update* appliatiion called *update* that used sequence numbers on card images (default field in...
Useful things, shelflists. You could browse not only for books that were on the shelf, but for those that were off the shelf (including those that had been recorded as permanently missing). Indeed, in my experience, libraries maintained the selflist on cards for a while even after the card catalog was closed to new entries and preserved the shelflist cards after the rest of the catalog was physically discarded. With its handwritten and typewritten annotations, it remained the definitive record of duplicate copies, missing materials, and accession numbers until (if ever) the online records became accurate enough to trust for this information for the older parts of the collection.
-- Roland Hutchinson╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩╩Will╩play╩viola╩da╩gamba╩for╩food.
NB mail to my.spamtrap at verizon.net is heavily filtered to remove spam.╩╩If╩your╩message╩looks╩like╩spam╩I╩may╩not╩see╩it.