Charles Cutter

Charles Ammi Cutter (1837-1903) is a famous nineteenth-cnetury American librarian.  He is best known as the creator of Cutter numbers, which form unique call numbers assigned to books with same subject.   In 1876 he published the “Rules for a Dictionary Catalgoue”.  In it, Cutter outlined the objects and means of library cataloguing:


1. To enable a person to find a book of which either
A. the author
B. the title
C. the subject is known

2. To show what the library has
D. by a given author
E. on a given subject
F. in a given kind of literature

3. To assist in the choice of a book
G. as to its edition (bibliographically)
H. as to its character (literary or topical)


1. Author-entry with the necessary references (for A and D)
2. Title-entry or title-reference (for B)
3. Subject-entry, cross-references, and classed subject-table (for C and E).
4. Form-entry (for F)
5. Notes (for G and H).

Welsh and Batley [1] (p. 3 and 4) said “Cutter’s objects reflected in the user tasks” in IFLA’s FRBR report.  The four user tasks are:
1. to find entities that correspond to the user’s stated search criteria
2. to identify an entity
3. to select an entity that is appropriate to the user’s needs
4. to acquire or obtain access to the entity described.


1. Welsh, A. and Batley S. (2012) Practical cataloguing: AACR, RDA and MARC21 Chapter 1. (p. 3 and 4)