Butler 310 FAQ


Why is the card catalog being removed?

The card catalog has not been updated since 1985, when the libraries introduced the online catalog, CLIO. As time goes by, the information in the card catalog has become increasingly inaccurate. Major historical changes, such as the break-up of the Soviet bloc in 1991 are not reflected.  Additionally, the removal of the card catalog provides the library with an opportunity to continue to improve, update, and in some cases, add records to CLIO that were not added during the initial move to CLIO in 1985. These improvements in CLIO will be noticeable as early as this fall as we begin to update the holdings information for journals and add missing microfilm sets.

What will happen to the space?

The removal of the card catalogs enables the Libraries to continue the transformation of Butler Library that began with the recently completed, decade-long renovation. Using the historical beauty of the space as backdrop, Room 310 will be re-purposed to better serve the emerging research needs of our students and faculty. Over time, Room 310 will be transformed into a Digital Humanities Center (DHC) where expertise and technologies will enable scholars to approach their research in new ways. Knowledgeable subject specialist librarians and technologists will help humanities scholars integrate deep research collections across multiple formats, with digital tools and new research methodologies – all within a space honoring both the rich history of humanities scholarship at Columbia and the architectural uniqueness of Butler Library.

When will the card catalog be removed from 310?

The process will begin this fall to remove the card catalog in Butler Library, Room 310. The Subject catalog in the north end of the room overlooking College Walk will be removed in 2013, followed by sections of the Name/Title catalog in 2014.

Will any of the cards be retained?

Yes, we will be removing the catalog furniture from the center of the room and moving many of the Name/Title catalog cards to the cabinets on the exterior walls in the south end of the room. Retaining these catalog cards will ensure that no bibliographic information important to scholarship will be lost in this process.

Have other libraries removed their card catalog?

Yes, the removal of the card catalog will bring the Columbia University Libraries in line with peer institutions that removed their card catalogs in the last decade; New York University removed their catalog in 2001, Harvard University in 2003, and Yale University in 2006.

Will any important bibliographic information be lost?

No, we will be removing the catalog furniture from the center of the room and moving many of the Name/Title catalog cards to the cabinets on the exterior walls in the south end of the room. Retaining these catalog cards will ensure that no bibliographic information important to scholarship will be lost in this process.

Where can I find out what is in the Columbia University Libraries?

CLIO is the online catalog for the Columbia and Barnard Libraries.
Use CLIO to:

·       Find print and electronic versions of books, journals, newspapers, documents, films, and more

·       Request items that are currently on loan or offsite

·       Access your account to save searches, renew, or recall items

·       Discover new acquisitions with CLIO New Arrivals

Who can I contact with questions?

Please email butler310@library.columbia.edu with any questions.