University of Chicago Press
Until recently it could have been argued with much justification that the cataloging of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the United States began and ended with Seymour De Ricci's Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada (New York: H. W. Wilson, 1935-40) and Supplement (New York: Bibliographical Society of America, 1962). Of course, many excellent catalogs were produced before the Census and have been produced since (although most are of a specialized nature), yet the Census and its Supplement must be regarded as the one great landmark in cataloging in this country. It was the first, and so far is the only, union catalog of all the medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada, and it has undoubtedly stimulated primary scholarship by bringing many unknown or unnoticed manuscripts to general notice. Yet at the same time the Census has discouraged cataloging at individual institutions. Invariably the further cataloging of manuscripts already listed in the Census receives the lowest priority: it simply is not done. The cataloging of manuscripts acquired since the publication of the Supplement to the Census (1962) has fared little better in most institutions. The Census thus has unfortunately been something of an obstacle to further cataloging.
“Cataloging Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts: A Review Article.” Library Quarterly 55 (1985): 316-326.