May 24, 2022

U.S. Copyright Office: "A Virtual Copyright Card Catalog? Tell Us What You Think"

From the Copyright Matters Blog:

Of the 25,723 drawers in the Copyright Card Catalog, more than 12,000 have already been scanned resulting in more than 17 million card images safely tucked away in Library storage.  The long term plan is to capture index terms from the card images using OCR and keyboarding and to build indexes for online searching.  But this will require significant time and money to achieve.  Must we wait to share these images with you?  Maybe not.

As an interim step, the Copyright Office is considering making the images of the cards in the catalog available online through a hierarchical structure that would mimic the way a researcher would approach and use the physical card catalog. We’re calling this a virtual card catalog.  While it would not provide the full record level indexing that remains a principal goal, it would make information available as we’re doing the scanning and as searchable as the actual cards.


We are exploring multiple ways of making the Copyright records available online sooner rather than later.  The notion of a virtual card catalog is an example and one that could probably be done at a modest cost.  It sounds good to us but we want to hear what you think of it.  While not the optimal solution, would it nevertheless be useful to you as an interim step?  Do you know of other organizations that have done something similar and done it well?  Please take a moment to consider this option and let us know what you think.

Read the Complete Blog Post
Much more info and an example image.  Comments Welcome!

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.