Vol. 14 No. 2 (2023)
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73 vs. 91: drafting a code for new alphabetical catalog of the British Museum


Published 2023-05-15


  • Antonio Panizzi,
  • British Museum,
  • Descriptive Cataloguing,
  • 91 Rules,
  • 73 Rules (Draft)

How to Cite

Neri, Franco. 2023. “73 Vs. 91: Drafting a Code for New Alphabetical Catalog of the British Museum”. JLIS.It 14 (2):100-124. https://doi.org/10.36253/jlis.it-527.


The paper, starting from the draft of 73 Rules Museum proposed by Panizzi to the Trustees in March 1839, aims at bringing out Panizzi’s underlying design for the new alphabetical catalog of the British Museum. Two temporal perspectives are crossed in contextualizing the process of drafting the rules: one of shorter duration, with a focus on items and actors of a confrontation that became intense between 1834 and 1839; and another, of a wider time span, aimed at reconstructing the conflicts of bibliographic cultures, the lines of tradition and the originality of Panizzi’s approach. At the bottom of the draft, there is an intellectual wager: although in the context constraints, to go beyond the boundaries of the English bibliographic traditions of the time by opening up to other bibliographic cultures. The most stimulating perspective comes from Audiffredi’s lesson mediated by a principle of exactitude which, if in the most immediate references has roots in the highest peaks of the contemporary French bibliographic culture (Barbier and Querard), draws its sap from the erudite tradition of the Italian eighteenth century (Tiraboschi). The paper discusses whether and what changes were made to this design in the passage from 73 to 91.



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