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IndexCat logo featuring National Institutes of Healths logo, National Library of Medicine logo, a head and shoulders view of John Shaw Billings, and a collection of books.

What is IndexCat™ | Content | Coverage | Searching | eTK/eVK2 PDFs | Software


What is IndexCat™?

IndexCat™ is the user interface that provides access to the following collections:

  • the digitized version of the printed Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon General's Office. The content and coverage is the same as the printed catalog. See: About Index-Catalogue. It reflects the same publishing patterns: series, volumes, references, and the original dictionary arrangement for browsing and display. As a digitized resource, however, search access is not limited to the dictionary arrangement. Users may search all descriptive information as direct search terms.
  • electronic Thorndike and Kibre (eTK for medieval Latin texts) - the expanded digital version of Lynn Thorndike and Pearl Kibre, A Catalogue of Incipits of Mediaeval Scientific Writings in Latin (TK) (Cambridge, MA: Mediaeval Academy of America, 1963), and the two supplements printed in Speculum, vols. 40, 43 (1965, 1968).
  • electronic Voigts and Kurtz (eVK2 for medieval English texts) - the updated and expanded version of Linda Ehrsam Voigts and Patricia Deery Kurtz, Scientific and Medical Writings in Old and Middle English: An Electronic Reference, which originally was a CD-ROM published by the University of Michigan Press, 2000. See eTK/eVK2 Project.
  • a pre-established link to NLM LocatorPlus® - the NLM online catalog of books, journals, audiovisuals and other materials in the Library collections. See LocatorPlus Fact Sheet

Content

  • The Index-Catalogue collection contains online references to over 3.7 million bibliographic items -- 2.5 million items are primarily journal articles; 616,000 items are monographs (books, pamphlets, and reports); approximately 471,000 items are dissertations (theses); and 32,000 are journal titles. Series 1 and Series 2 include portraits as separate citations but Series 3, 4, and 5 indicate portraits in descriptive notes for monographs and dissertations.
  • The eTK/eVK2 collections contain over 42,000 digital records of incipits (the beginning words of a medieval manuscript or early printed book). One can search incipit data by manuscript, library, author/translator, title, subject, date and other invaluable information.
  • The LocatorPlus collection contains over 1.4 million catalog records for materials in the Library's collections along with holdings information or the circulation status of a title, and links to Internet resources.

Coverage

  • The Index-Catalogue collection covers material from Antiquity through 1950 imprints. As in the printed series, Series 4 of IndexCat is incomplete. It includes citations printed only in the first half of the alphabet from A-Mn. The last half was never published. Therefore, if the first word of a name, title, or subject heading with its related journal articles file after Mn, they are not available. Series 5 excludes journal articles; the primary coverage is monographs, dissertations, and pamphlets with 1950 imprints or earlier. NLM will not add new bibliographic citations to the Index-Catalogue collection since its purpose is to reflect the bibliographic coverage of the printed Index-Catalogue.
  • The eTK collection supplements the printed Thorndike-Kibre (TK) by dividing entries from the book into separate records for each manuscript and incorporating additional information. Data has been treated in this way to allow searching by manuscript, to make a manuscript index possible, and to provide information on companion texts in any given manuscript. The goal of this undertaking was to produce an electronic version of the book, not to produce a thorough-going revision of it. New subject fields were added, a full-name thesaurus was created, and access is provided to TK bibliographies and for orthographic variants. In creating these electronic files the attempt has been to correct obvious errors in the book and supplements, wherever possible.
  • eVK2 collection is a companion to eTK (electronic Thorndike Kibre) and shares most field codes and record format with that collection. Two support files for names and subjects are also shared with eTK. In both eTK and eVK2 a record in the main database represents the appearance of a text or prologue in a specific medieval manuscript. These records in the underlying dataset for eVK2 are in manuscript order by collection. The sequence of eVK2 records in the database consequently differs from that in eTK which derives from a book. Base records in the eTK dataset are in alphabetical incipit order rather than manuscript order.

Searching

The following features are offered when searching:

  • Keyword searching for terms anywhere in the bibliographic description;
  • Search refinements and sorting options;
  • Combination searching using Boolean AND, OR, or NOT;
  • Phrase searching using double quotes;
  • Final truncation using “*”
  • Index-Catalogue Collection

The browse display in the Index-Catalogue collection reflects the original printed dictionary arrangement that interfiles subject headings with author names and titles. Although IndexCat™ displays in this alphabetic order, searching is not limited to the pre-arranged dictionary display.

The printed Index-Catalogue does not provide direct access to authors of journal articles, however it supports searches for all author names in any citation. Therefore, authors of journal articles are searchable.

Users may refine Index-Catalogue collection searches to specific series, volumes within a series, or a combination of both. A simultaneous search across all five series is the broadest search and is the default search setting.


eTK/eVK2 Collections

  • For assistance with searching, users may find it helpful to consult the following pdf documents:
  • Additional tips –
    • Numerous records include special characters. To search with these characters see the special characters page to copy and paste relevant characters.
    • Do not supply punctuation when searching. When words or names are truncated, a period is not needed.
    • Searches that employ word groups will produce the most reliable results.
    • When a record contains five fields of subjects or five fields of bibliographical information, it is important to look at all records with identical initial fields for additional information.
    • Use of the final truncation symbol “*” enables the user to search for a Latin word with multiple possible inflected endings.
    • Personal names present particular challenges in searching. Personal names in the Namelist file include authors and translators but not persons to whom texts are dedicated. The headwords in this list should not be taken as authoritative. Headwords and variants are taken from A Catalogue of Incipits of Mediaeval Scientific Writings in Latin by Lynn Thorndike and Pearl Kibre (Cambridge, MA: Mediaeval Academy of America, 1963), Library of Congress Author Authority list, and Personnennamendatei (PND). It is important to check the Namelist file for variant forms. Searching should employ both last name-first name order and first name-last name order.

Software

The software platform for IndexCat™ is IBM InfoSphere Data Explorer (DE). As installed by NLM, it permits simultaneous searching across all collections in the IndexCat™ database.