Chronicling Pitt

Issue Date: 
November 26, 2007

An ongoing series highlighting University of Pittsburgh history

November 1987—Pittcat, the University’s recently developed automated card catalog, was “a key bridge between the book-bound campus of the past” and the “new world of electronic information retrieval,” according to Pitt Magazine.

Already, 500,000 volumes from Pitt’s library system were indexed by the database, and by the end of 1988, an additional 400,000 of the University’s 3.5 million volumes were to be cataloged. Access was available from any computer connected to Pitt’s “Campus of the Future” network.

Anne Woodsworth, director of University Libraries at the time, told Pitt Magazine that while traditional services remained important, “we’re slipping into an era where a lot of information is not in print form. Access to that information is critical to the library’s traditional information-dissemination function.”

But bricks and mortar weren’t being neglected. To mark the 20th anniversary of Hillman Library in 1987, the Henry L. Hillman Foundation and the Hillman Foundation contributed $1.5 million toward renovations. As the magazine noted, the improvements helped Pitt’s largest library “keep up with new technology while also preserving yesterday’s prime data storage material—namely, books.”