Reading Bibliographic Information
In the lower part of the image viewer, you can find the title of the item that you have accessed. If you click on it, the 'Bibliographic Card' will come up, and show all the bibliographic information that we have available for this item.
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The Bibliographic Card contains three columns:
The first column contains a bibliographic description of the item, with fields such as creator, title, published, place (of publication), date, notes (a short description of the work), local notes (a description of our copies of the work), part of (which indicates if this item is part of a larger item, such as a book, collection, or atlas), etc.
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An Open Door to New Findings
The second column contains the call number (the library 'code' that shows the location of the item in the library), the accession number (the unique identifier that an item receives when it is acquired), and many other fields that are transformed in tags, such as format, subject, language, geographic area (i.e. the subject area of the item, not necessarily where it was published).
This column open doors for you to find new items, but clicking on the tags. In this particular example, if you click on the tag 'Aztec calendars'...
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Tags and Related Searches
And Americana will generate another search, retrieving all other items that were indexed with the same 'tag'. The results can then be filtered with the use of keywords and/or tags! You can try it yourself!
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In Depth: Metadata Granularity
The bibliographic information that you find in the Bibliographic Card was produced by specialized catalogers through decades of work. Different bibliographic records can have different levels of detail, something that we refer to as "metadata granularity".
Because of the way in which items were historically cataloged, some records may only contain basic information such as the title and author, while others may contain additional information such as the summary, subject headings, and physical description. The amount of information included in a bibliographic record can vary depending on the library's cataloging standards at the time that the record was produced. And on the information available on that item!
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The third column is dedicated to the materiality of the item. On the top, there is a thumbnail of the item, with a JCB pencil indicating its relative dimensions. Remember, you can only bring pencil and paper to the Reading Room!
Below the thumbnail, you will find information about its dimensions, material and technique.
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Report an Issue
... and to report an issue (which you can use to let us know of any problem with the item).
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Metadata and Language
The language used by catalogers can also vary. Catalogers use controlled vocabularies, including subject headings and classification systems, which can change over time. These controlled vocabularies help to ensure consistency and accuracy in cataloging, but can also lead to differences in the language used in bibliographic records, which can be sometimes outdated and harmful, despite of our best efforts.
Catalogers and curators may also use different terms or phrases to describe the same item, which can affect how search results are displayed and make it more difficult to find specific items in the catalog.
But don't worry: our excellent catalogers are constantly revising old bibliographic records!
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