Cataloging – A Response from an NYPL Librarian

Hello, Michele:

The “black books” that you refer to are about 700 volumes of the old
Dictionary Catalog and are essentially photocopies of the card catalog of
the research (non-lending) libraries of the NYPL. Most of the material
still held by the research libraries of the NYPL has been incorporated
into the electronic catalog although the best way to search it is to not
use our current catalog in the upper right of the homepage below – but
rather – to start at our homepage at: and, in the black bar
near the top of the page, click on the word: “RESEARCH” and from the drop-down
menu click on: “CLASSIC CATALOG” and on the far left side of the page click
on “ADVANCED SEARCH” and use the drop menus on “ADVANCED KEYWORD SEARCH” – one on top of the other – to search: “ANY FIELD” (which drops to Author;
Title; Subject); immediately beneath it: “COLLECTION” – use the default
“Entire Collection” which includes the vast research (non-lending) and
branch (Dewey – lending) collections among others; “MATERIAL TYPE”
(specify Book, DVD, CD etc to narrow search); LANGUAGE and YEAR PUBLISHED (After 1950 etc to narrow search ); Skip publisher and hit search.

If you really wish to consult the “Black Books” Dictionary Catalog they
are always held in the Rose Catalog Reading Room which is – just outside
of – Room 315 Schwarzman/The Main Reading Room of the Schwarzman Building
at 5th and 42nd Street with the lions in front. Come early in their day
which is generally Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm; Tuesdays and Wednesdays
until 8pm and Sundays 1-5pm:



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