Reference Card Catalogs: Thesis and Main Entry Files

The Thesis File and all University of Illinois main entry cards from the retired card catalog are located in the room 204 (area near the entrance to the main stacks) on the second floor of the Main Library.

  • The locations given in these catalogs may not be accurate. Once a call number is obtained through the card catalog, do a call number search in the online library catalog to find the item’s current location.

Thesis File

The Thesis File contains records for the archival copies of all theses and dissertations on deposit in the library from 1873 until the beginning of 1984. There are two arrangements for the theses. One is arranged by year, then in alphabetical order by author. The other is by department, then year, then by author. Note that beginning in 1967, bachelor’s honors theses were separated out and put at the end of each year under the heading “microfiche.”

University of Illinois Main Entry Cards

The University of Illinois main entry cards include cards for publications about the University, as well as publications issued by university bodies.

Serials Records

The Serials Records, which were located on the second floor, have been moved to the basement of the Main Stacks.

How to Use a Card Catalog

Articles (a, an, the) at the beginning of a sentence are ignored in filing the cards. This is true for all languages in the card catalog. Certain other common words are also ignored for filing purposes. Words are alphabetized exactly as spelled without regard to diacritical marks (e.g., ü= u). Initialisms and acronyms (e.g., AFL-CIO) are filed at the beginning of each letter of the alphabet. Identical words are filed in Author-Subject-Title order:

  • Music Antonio Zoran, 1909- (Author)
  • Music (Subject)
  • Music at Midnight by Muriel Draper (Title)

Card Catalog History

The University Library’s card catalog historically consisted of two main components: a “Shelf List” (a listing of all cataloged items in call number order) and a “General Catalog” (an alphabetical file of authors, subjects, and titles) for material acquired by the University Library before 1978. In November 2012, the General Catalog was removed and recycled. The Shelf List was retained in storage. Starting in 1969, all cards in the General Catalog were microfilmed. That microfilm, with supplements through 1977, is stored in the Oak Street Remote Storage Facility (call number FILM 019.1 Un31c).