May 15, 2009 National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Contact: John Sayers, (202) 707-9216; Beacher Wiggins, (202) 707-5137

The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC), a cooperative cataloging program of the Library of Congress and eligible archival and manuscript repositories located throughout the United States and its territories, celebrates its 50th anniversary in May 2009.

In its first half-century, the NUCMC program has worked with almost 1,500 repositories and produced more than 114,000 catalog records to describe archival and manuscript collections held by those repositories. The program provides and promotes bibliographic access to the nation’s vital historical resources.

Cooperating repositories provide information about their collections to NUCMC catalogers, who produce standardized cataloging to describe those collections. The cooperative effort has resulted in more effective security of collections, wider use of a repository’s collections, fuller access by researchers, and new donation of related materials.

The NUCMC may be searched freely via a gateway at The catalog includes not only the MARC-standard cataloging produced by NUCMC since the mid-1980s but also cataloging produced by libraries, archives, historical societies, museums and other holders of archival and manuscript collections around the world.

The Library of Congress is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library’s mission is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may be accessed through the Library’s website,, and via interactive exhibitions at


PR 09-104
ISSN 0731-3527