Access points and entries

The phrase ‘Access points’ may be a modern term, but the concept behind is not new.

“.. the phrase is indicating the concept of providing structured headings that the catalogue user can predict and, therefore, use to form successful search strategies – search strategies that retrieve the information they are seeking (and ideally only the information they are seeking).”

In other words, “an access point is a specific piece of data that catalogue users can and should expect to provide them with a way into the bibliographic record.”

Cutter thinks a library catalogue should provide these types of access:

– Author-entry with the necessary references
– Title-entry or title-reference
– Subject-entry, cross references and classed subject-table.

An entry, in the pre-computer period, means a card catalogue record providing the bibliographical information for user to find the information resource. It was a time-consuming process if we had to put the full information in each entry, each access point, in the card catalogue. The ‘work-around’ was to provide the full information in the entry, the access point’, the card record the users were likely to think of. That brought up the concepts of “main entry” and “added entries”.