The catalogue provides a systematic guide to the book collection. Because stacks are organised according to a strictly formal system (size, subject, year), it is impossible to find anything without using the catalogue. The catalogue shows the exact location of a book.
The card catalogues
The alphabetical catalogue
The alphabetical catalogue is a formal catalogue (after the Prussian system), that is, it is arranged according to author or subject key-word. In addition, the title words are arranged according to a formal grammatical system, by which the first independent noun comes first.The subject catalogue
This arranges the literature thematically, according to key word, and should be used like an encyclopaedia. It was created in 1972, and older literature is only included in exceptional cases. The artists' names are not given as key words, but are listed in a separate catalogue (the artists' catalogue). Most recent publications can be found at the front of each key-word section.
The systematic catalogue
The Systematic Catalogue is a specialist catalogue and shelf-register which gives access to the complete holdings of the library. Here you can find subject areas labelled from A to Z. Part of it consists of further specialist catalogues, such as an artist catalogue, an exhibition catalogue, a catalogue of collections, a catalogue of literature about prints, a catalogue of illustrated artists' books, an auction catalogue, and a catalogue of art-in-store.
The online catalogue
Since the beginning of 1998 every accession has been electronically recorded. The museums of Hamburg form a network of museum libraries, located at the following address: http://hhas21.rrz.uni-hamburg.de/DB=3.4/LNG=DU/
This network connects all seven museum libraries, and is part of a larger system called the Göttinger Library Network (GBV) http://www.gbv.de. Due to a cataloguing back-log, there is no definite cut-off point between the card catalogue and the computer catalogue. Searches should therefore be made in both catalogues. There are two computers for searching located in the reading room.