Card catalogs were a convenient way for a library to track their many publications. The cards are arranged in alphabetical order, and each card represents one item in the collection. A user has three ways to look for an item in the library collection: by author, title or subject.
The card catalog began in France when all books in religious houses became targets for the government. France decided to use the books to establish a system of public libraries. The inventory-takers used the blank side of playing cards to record bibliographic information for each book.