With only two exceptions the Popular Music Library has catalogued everything in stock by title. This may seem a radical way of arranging things but in a large comprehensive collection such as this with its specialist use, the system is designed to suit the work patterns. Two main indexes are being introduced which cover the bulk of the stock plus a vast collection of song copies which are arranged alphabetically; thus creating their own index. The first main index covers the complete collection of arrangements and orchestrations in manuscript and printed form for various orchestras. This covers approximately 115,000 items which are all available and in current use. The material is arranged numerically on the shelves in bags as it is catalogued, the manuscript arrangements in one section and the printed ones in another. Because they cover a wide range of orchestral and band styles the only possible way to catalogue these items is by title. Naturally, most titles will have more than one arrangement and, therefore, in the index each individual title is arranged numerically.

There have been various collections of arrangements donated to the Popular Music Library from various sources, for example, eminent orchestra and bandleaders now retired or BBC regional orchestras and bands now non-operative. These collections have been catalogued and integrated into the main collection with information that these items are from alternative sources although absorbed into the main collection.

The other index includes song albums, vocal scores, piano and instrumental solos and selections and a separate indexed song collection. All the items listed in this catalogue itself are comprehensively annotated enabling the staff to pinpoint the location of each item.

The cards in both our main indexes contain selected information, which may include composer and publisher details, the orchestra for which a piece of music has been arranged, the date of composition, the copyright date, the key and the range of a vocal item, and any subsequent adaptations of the pieces.

Apart from these file collections the other sections of the library, which carry their own catalogue systems, are the reference books and the composer file section. This latter collection is based on eminent composers of popular music and contains completely indexed files of these composers’ works. This is a difficult collection to continue in as much as the problem exists of deciding which composers merit inclusion in what is essentially an archive. The obvious people such as Rogers and Hammerstein, George Gershwin, Lennon and McCartney, are easy to administer, their music is readily available and well documented. The lesser-known composers, especially those who are currently writing can be more problematic when deciding to create a file on their works. To decide on their inclusion, to obtain a list of their complete works, and then to obtain those works is quite an arduous task. The safest rule of thumb when in doubt about the merit of a composer is to include him in your collection.