The machine-readable catalogue performs, all the functions of a library catalogue with greater efficiency and speed than any other form. We shall spell out theseadvantages: A computer readable catalogue.
Using a computer, one can store and sort catalogue entries automatically. The resultant computer output can be utilised in a number of ways. For example, the computer 'printout' itself can be used as 'master' and reproduced by offset printingprocess to obtain any number of copies. Alternatively, the output on magnetic tape may be used as the catalogue to access entries directly and one can search and know from it the availability of any document in a library.
The only disadvantage of computerised catalogues, particularly, in India, is the acute shortage of manpower to design and operate machine-readable catalogues. Users should be tuned to the computerised systems to exploit fully the capability of amachine-readable catalogue.
As a result of rapid development in computer and communication technologies, a number of libraries in the world are switching over to computer readable catalogues and in the process, several on-line catalogue networks have developed and are available for public access in libraries. In India, experiments to use computers for the production and use of library catalogues are going on, sooner or later computer readable catalogues will be a common feature of library services in India.