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Honoring Our Past

Letters to the editors are often interesting and sometimes informative. Erich Meyerhoff wrote one concerning the Union List of Medical Periodicals. He wrote a tribute to Jacqueline W. Felter as this publication was her creation.

He describes the Union Catalog as “unique in its bibliographic integrity—its creation was neither ‘quick’ nor ‘dirty’—and its adaptation to the practical requirements of machine operations. Pain and doubt were present, but they were overshadowed by Jacque’s joy and exhilaration to work creatively and practically with new methods and tools.” Meyerhoff continues that Felter is the leading lady with a great supporting cast: “Happily we all had failings and kept a respectful distance from ‘divine’ perfection” [1].

Today, there are many resources providing the location of journal titles. The Union Catalog was published in 1968, and you may not have been a librarian then. It was certainly big news at the time. Staff members working in interlibrary loan were given a marvelous tool that made a significant impact in their quest to borrow journal articles. Libraries at that time were just beginning to learn about computers and how they would change libraries and librarians. Felter was a pioneer, and her work provided a document that improved our services.

A full description of this Union Catalog was written by Felter and Djoeng S. Tjoeng in the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association [2].


  1. Meyerhoff E. Communications to the editor. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1968 Apr;56(2):176.
  2. Felter J, Tjoeng DS. A computer system for a union catalog: theme and variations. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1965 Apr;53(2):163–77.

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