May 17, 2022

A New Proof-of-Concept: Library of Congress Introduces a Virtual U.S. Copyright Office Card Catalog

From the Library of Congress Copyright Office Blog:

With the public release of the Virtual Card Catalog proof of concept, I can browse full-color scans of the cards in indexes from 1955–1970 and 1971–1977. That’s almost 18 million images.


This Virtual Card Catalog (VCC) is the first step of many. It consists of cards arranged just like you’d find them in one of those old card catalogs you used to see in libraries everywhere.


Other indexes will be released throughout the year, and enhancements will be added based on your feedback. Please visit the Virtual Card Catalog and use the feedback link and optional survey for your input.

Read the Complete Blog Post

From the VCC Web Site, Copyright Office NewsNet, and FAQ:

The indexes contain 6,500 drawers of cards, with approximately 1,500 cards in each. Users can open a virtual drawer and browse through images of the cards on screen. Clicking on a card displays a larger image along with the next fifty cards for easy scrolling. The images also show metadata of the index name, drawer name, and card number.

The purpose of this Proof of Concept is to provide the public with a glimpse of the digitized card catalog and to solicit feedback from the public that will provide valuable information for the future digital transformation of the U.S. Copyright Office physical historical records.


Each card in the Copyright Card Catalog was scanned into high-resolution TIFF images for archival purposes. These TIFF images were converted into smaller, service copy images in the JPEG format to create the online images for the VCC. In addition, optical character recognition (OCR) and intelligent character recognition (ICR) technology was used to convert the images of the typed and handwritten text into text datasets. The raw datasets are then reviewed for errors and corrected to the extent practical given the large volume of datasets.


This Proof of Concept does not replace or supersede existing search practices established by the United States Copyright Office and the results should not be relied on for legal matters.

Direct to LC Copyright Office Virtual Card Catalog (VCC)

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.