Since we announced our Targeted Cataloguing initiative back in January 2017 we have continued to work hard behind the scenes to bring to the fore works by famous authors, Cambridge alumni and those which are the subject of current academic research published between 1920 and 1976. The aim of the project, which is being done with no additional funding, is to support the Library’s teaching, learning and research objectives by enhancing access to this material.


University Library Supplementary Card Catalogue

To date, we have made approaching 2,000 books, previously hidden in the obscurity of the Library’s supplementary card catalogue, more accessible through the provision of online catalogue records.  The majority of these have been works by authors of English literature, including William Wordsworth, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, TS Eliot, Irish Murdoch, DH Lawrence and Sylvia Plath, to name but a few.  Many children’s authors have also been included because of the added value of their illustrations.  These include Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Eric Carle and Judith Kerr.

BowlerWe were particularly pleased to support the work of Peter Bowler, an academic who “has made frequent use of the Supplementary Catalogue to locate ephemeral material from the early twentieth century in the areas of popular science and, more recently science fiction (especially that written for juveniles)”. In preparation for his book Science for All: The Popularization of Science in Early Twentieth-Century Britain (University of Chicago Press, 2009) and more recently for a book, published by Cambridge University Press, in 2017 entitled: A History of the Future: Prophets of Progress from H. G. Wells to Isaac Asimov, which looks at predictions of the future development of technology during the early twentieth century, Peter made extensive use of the Supplementary Catalogue.  This was true also of his work on “those authors who wrote both popular science and science fiction, including well-known figures such as Patrick Moore and W. E. Johns”.  Following our conversion of many of the authors he has been doing research on Peter informed us that it was “particularly gratifying to see that their less well-known works (until recently still only to be located via the Supplementary Catalogue) have now been transferred to the Main Catalogue”.

Major authors primed for conversion in the New Year include John Milton, Robert Louis Stevenson and Thomas Babington Macaulay.  Remember, if you would like to nominate an author for inclusion please contact us at