Centralised cataloguing led to the logical step of publishing bibliographic entries of documents in the publication itself, on the reverse side of the title page. Ranganathan called it 'prenatal cataloguing. This facility enables libraries to use the bibliographical data available on the book for the preparation of their catalogues. The Library of Congress was the pioneer in this enterprise. The British National Bibliography has also been participating in the CIP Programme from January 1977. Such facilities are yet to develop in countries like India.
Disadvantages Though the card form of library catalogue is universally accepted, it also suffers from some disadvantages. They are:
a) The card catalogue occupies large space in libraries. The problem of space is very acute in large libraries located in metropolitan cities. Libraries with a massive collection running into lakhs of documents with an annual addition of 10,000 volumes would need enormous space for its card catalogue. The cost of space is prohibitive in metropolitan cities and this has been a deterrent against continuing with the card catalogue in such libraries.
b) The growth and complexity associated with the card catalogue call for greater maintenance cost.
c) Due to inherent defects associated with the structure of a card catalogue, it is possible for a single person to monopolize a considerable number of trays at a time, precluding its use simultaneously by other users.
d) It is not portable and hence the user has to go to the library for consulting it. This naturally leads to wastage of time, particularly if the library does not possess the documents of his interest.