Pinyin Card Catalogue: Drawer Five

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Image: © Jon Ellis


Currently, the only way to discover thousands of the printed books held in our collections is to manually flick through huge card catalogues held at the British Library.

It is our hope, with your help, to transform these printed cards into electronic records for inclusion in our online catalogue, Explore.

The task

On the next page you will be presented with a digitised image of the printed card catalogue record and asked to:

  1. Use the details on the card to search an external database and locate the matching electronic catalogue record.
  2. Once located, transcribe the unique British Library shelfmark found on the card.

The resulting electronic record can then be imported into British Library's online catalogue, making this huge collection of research material far easier to discover and access.

The Catalogues

Following is a brief introduction to the catalogues for which Convert-a-Card projects have been launched so far.

About the Pinyin Card Catalogue

This card catalogue covers about 40,000 printed items held within the Chinese collections of the British Library. The cards are typed and hand-written using English, Chinese characters and the Hanyu Pinyin Romanisation system. Books in this collection were acquired between 1966 and 1993 and include reference material, publications on humanities and social sciences from the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, as well as reprints of rare woodblock-printed items.

About the Indonesian Card Catalogue

This catalogue of typewritten cards covers over 3,000 printed books published before 1982 held within the Indonesian collections of the British Library. Books in this collection range from rare missionary works printed in Bengkulu, Ambon and Batavia in the early 19th century, to first editions of some of the most important works of modern Indonesian literature, such as Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s Keluarga Gerilja (A guerilla family) published in Jakarta in 1950.

About the Urdu Card Catalogue

This catalogue of typewritten cards covers over 4500 printed books held within the Urdu collections of the British Library. Books in this collection were acquired between 1950 and 1981 and include works on of history, politics, language, literature, Islam, law, education, anthropology, genealogy, geography, music, art and architecture.

Get involved

Your contributions will have a direct impact on enabling future reasearch at the British Library.

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