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The classified form of Catalogue having been adopted ten years ago by the Library Committee,—no doubt after mature consideration,—and having thus become familiar to honourable members, it was decided, in publishing the usual quinquennial reissue, to adhere to that form. Accordingly the present edition of the Catalogue has been drawn up very much on the lines of the two previous editions. The work consists of three parts,—
1. The Catalogue proper, containing a full list of all the books in the library, classed under various headings in that department of Literature to which they belong. In each class the books are arranged in the alphabetical order of their authors' names. Anonymous works are entered in the alphabetical order of their titles.
2. An Index of Authors. Besides, however, the mere names of the authors, I have alse, in most cases, given the short titles of such of their works as we happen to have on our shelves; so that this second division partakes somewhat of the nature and possesses some of the value of an Alphabetical Catalogue.
3. An Index of Subjects. This I have endeavoured to make as full and complete as possible—coextensive, in fact, with the first part of the Catalogue.
But, while proceeding on the general lines of the old Catalogue, I have never hesitated to make alterations wherever I thought an alteration would be an improvement. Not to speak of minor changes, I have considerably lessened the number of subsections in several of the great General Divisions; and I have very largely reduced the number of cross-entries, as only tending to unduly swell the work. I have still retained such of them as I thought were really serviceable.
Another change I have made will, I think, be found a very decided improvement. I have collected all the tracts and small pamphlets, which have hitherto been scattered up and down all over the Catalogue, and placed them in a section by themselves under the head of Ephemeral Literature. In like manner I have dealt with the Official Publications of the United States cf America.
Besides these internal changes, it was also deemed advisable to make some alteration in the outward form of the Catalogue. So much new matter had to be incorporated that, were we to retain the old demy octavo size, the work would prove a thick unshapely volume, anything but pleasant to use. We have, therefore, enlarged the size and had it printed in a somewhat smaller but clear type, and the result is a volume of fair proportions which members can handle with comfort and convenience. To enable them to make use of the Library with greater ease, I have had a plan prepared showing the arrangement of the books all over it, and in the right-hand margin of the pages of the Catalogue letters will be found indicating the General Division and the particular case in which each work is to be found.
Since the last edition of the Catalogue was published, the number of volumes in the Library has increased from 18,500 to 25,600: whence it appears that it grows at the rate of 1,400 volumes a year. It has attained such proportions now that the compilation of a new Catalogue is a task of no ordinary magnitude. With the aid of my assistants I have used every effort to make the present Catalogue as perfect and as accurate as possible. But, despite all the vigilance I could exercise, mistakes have crept in. I find a few books have got out of their proper place, and a few more have been omitted. Those omitted will, of course, find a place in the Supplement: those misplaced must remain for the present where they are.
The errata, however, "are neither so numerous nor so serious as to call for further notice.
A. MACGBEGOR, 4th June, 1885. Librarian.