The VCC has been confirmed for use with current versions of the following: Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Internet Explorer 11. Other out-of-date browsers, such as Netscape, may be partially functional when used with the VCC. Internet Explorer 11 is recommended for screen readers.


(A) General Information:

The Copyright Office has never created or maintained a subject Index, so it is not possible to search by subject. There is no standardization in the Romanization of names, cross-references, and other filing elements. A researcher should take into account any possible variant forms of names and titles.


(B) Types of cards and information found on the Cards:

Cards in the general catalog consist of registration cards for original works, renewal registrations for original works, application cards for registration and renewals, Notices of Use, and information and reference cards. Other indexes contain assignments, commercial prints and labels, reference only cards.

Cards for original registrations contain five key elements that establish the copyright history of a work: title; author(s); claimant (the owner of a work, who may be different than the author); date of publication, or date of receipt in the case of unpublished works; and the registration number, identified by a letter (identifies class) followed by a series of numbers.

Cards for original registrations contain five key elements that establish the copyright history of a work: title; author(s); claimant (the owner of a work, who may be different than the author); date of publication, or date of receipt in the case of unpublished works; and the registration number, identified by a letter (identifies class) followed by a series of numbers.


(C) Notice of Use Cards:

The copyright owner of a musical composition had the exclusive right to make the first mechanical recording of a work. After initially recording a work, the owner was required to submit to the Copyright Office a Notice of Use. Notice of Use cards are interfiled alphabetically with the other cards under the title and claimant name only.


(D) Information Cards:

There are various types of information or "See also" cards. For example, a card may refer to a pseudonym used by an author, a more complete form of the author's name, or another form of a title.


(E) Assignments:

The Assignment and Related Documents Index is the source for tracing documents clarifying the ownership of copyrights that have been officially recorded in the Copyright Office from 1870 through 1977. Legal documents, including wills and contracts transferring copyright from one person or firm to another, are among the kinds of documents indexed. Assignor-transferor and assignee-transferee files are separate until August 15, 1941, and are thereafter interfiled through 1977. A single title file covers the period 1928 through 1977. There is no title file prior to 1928.


After locating the information needed in the files, the researcher may view microfilm copies of the documents themselves on reader-printer machines in the Copyright Public Records Reading Room (lm-404). All recorded assignments and documents from 1870 to approximately 1994 are on microfilm. Available online in the Copyright Public Records Reading Room only are scanned images of all recorded documents from 1870 to the present. The quality of these scanned images varies, and a patron may be better served by utilizing the microfilm. Early documents, in various formats, are also bound in books from 1870 to 1953.


(F) Commercial Prints and Labels:

The Commercial prints and labels claimant index gives a serial number for each entry and indicates whether the work was registered as a print or as a label. Search under this serial number in the Serial number Register will indicate the registration number or whether registration was ever made. The registration number will in turn lead to the certificate which is in a bound volume of either prints or labels.


(G) How Cards are organized within the Drawers:

Cards within the drawers are divided into two alphabetical groups: personal names, followed by corporate names, and titles. For example, a query on the name or word Lake would find Alexander Lake or Zachery Lake before Lake Publishing and The Lake of Many Colors.


The VCC provides several options for locating specific card images or registration records.


(A) Filter Drawers

For browsing drawers filter the drawers to the drawer most likely to contain the card image you are seeking. Note: the majority of the indexes are available for browse only.


Step 1: To do this, from the SELECT INDEXES tab; select category of index and the time-periods mostly likely associated with the work you are seeking. For example, if you are looking for a specific work that has been registered, you may want to select the time period from the registration indexes in which the work was created. On the other hand, if you wish to determine who currently owns the Copyrights to the work, you may select a time-period and index from the Assignments grouping. Once you have completed your selection, choose SAVE AND FILTER to execute the filters.


Step 2: Once the index filters have been executed, the VCC will take you to the Step 2: FILTER DRAWERS tab. The default results are all of the drawers and cards associated with the filtered indexes. You may filter drawers by choosing the first character of the drawer name in STARTS WITH, and entering a string that matches the drawer name in CONTAINS. You may choose up to three (3) starting with characters. For drawer contains, you may enter all of part of the drawer label to limit the drawer results. SAVE and FILTER will execute the drawer filters.


After the filters are executed, the drawer results represent the drawers that matched the filters, and the cards results represent all of the cards within the filtered drawers. To continue decreasing the results, click on the drawer that most likely holds the card image(s) you are seeking. Click on the “Show only selected drawers” option to show the card images for the selected drawer only. These filters are based upon the name of the drawer, rather than the content.


Finally, browse through the card images. To do this, click on the CARDS tab, then use the right or left arrows to move back and forth within the results page, or click on the “dots” to scroll within a page set. Use NEXT and PREVIOUS to scroll between pages. You may change the numbers of drawers or images displayed, along with the number of rows.


Select the card image you are seeking, or any image that is close to the preferred image. This will take you to the CARD VIEWER. View the Card Image. The CARD VIEWER allows you to view a larger version of the image, to print, view raw metadata, copy, save, and Save to My Cards for future use. In addition, you can scroll through the drawer to locate additional card images.


(B) Filter Cards

The ability to filter cards is limited to the 1971-1977 and the 1955-1971 index only. You may select one of these two indexes, or you may choose the “Select indexes filterable by card text” option to select both indexes that may be filtered by card content.


Step 3: After executing the index filters, you may then filter the cards from the FILTER CARDS (limited) tab. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO FIND and ADVANCE OPTIONS provide the ability to filter the content or metadata on the card image. Provide filter criteria for a simple query or multiple criteria for an advance filters with operators (AND, OR, NOT). Click on SAVE AND FILTER to execute the query. Using EXACT, will provide narrow results. If exact is not checked, the query will use a CONTAINS filter. The drawers with images which match the criteria will be displayed, along with their images.


Browse through the card images. To do this, click on the CARDS tab, then use the right or left arrows to move back and forth within the results page, or click on the “dots” to scroll within a page set. Use NEXT and PREVIOUS to scroll between pages. You may change the numbers of drawers or images displayed, along with the number of rows.


Select an image to view. The CARD VIEWER allows you to view a larger version of the image, to print, view raw metadata, copy, save, and Save to My Cards for future use. In addition, you can scroll through the drawer to locate additional card images.


(C) Filter Drawers & Cards (1971-1977 & 1955-1970 only)

Various strategies may be used to narrow results. If you are seeking a particular card image (e.g. title card for a specific work), filter the drawers first and then select the drawer that most likely contains the card image. Once the drawer is selected, a simple query on the title or name will narrow the card images based upon the criteria.


On the other hand, if you are seeking a variety of card images (e.g. multiple titles by same author, multiple cards by same work), perform a query first and then filter the drawers. Using the advance options, for example, will allow you to filter author, title, and claimant in a single query providing limited results.


If you don’t find the specific card you were seeking, select a card image that is close to your image, then browse the drawer that houses the selected image. Choose the CARD IN SAME DRAWER option from the Card Viewer.


Step 1: Filter the drawers by the TIME PERIOD, STARTS WITH, and CONTAINS to narrow the filtered results to a few drawers.


Step 2 (if applicable): Perform a simple query by typing the title in WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO FIND.


Step 3: Select the drawer most likely to contain the title card, browse through the images below the drawers until you locate your title. Select the title card image to view.


Step 1: Filter the drawers by the TIME PERIOD, STARTS WITH, and CONTAINS to narrow the results to a few drawers.


Step 2 (if applicable): Perform a simple query by typing the author’s name in WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO FIND.


Step 3: Select the drawer most likely to contain the author card, browse through the images below the drawers until you locate your author. Select the author card image to view.


The CARD VIEWER provides card image details, the ability to view, print, copy, and save card images from various galleries such as the filtered results, cards in the same drawer, and My Cards. By default, after selecting a card image from the CARD CATALOG page, the CARD VIEWER will display the selected card image within its sequence within the filtered results.


Filtered results images are displayed according to drawer name, then card ID. You may browse through the card gallery within the viewer. To browse card images one at a time, use the arrows to move forward and back. Use the vertical scroll bar to browse multiple cards at a time. You may move between page sets by clicking on NEXT PAGE or PREVIOUS PAGE.


If card images are missing in the filtered results, choose an image that contains the name or title you are looking for and change the gallery view from filtered results to cards from the same drawer. For example, for cards with multiple images (a, b, c, etc.), only those images that match the query criteria will be displayed in the filtered results. To view the remaining images, select the card image and then choose the cards from the same drawer gallery. Using the arrows, you can view the other images to the card set.


Use FOLDER + to add an image to the My Cards folder. Use the Printer Icon to print a copy of the image along with the raw metadata. To view the card image’s metadata, click on MORE next to CARD CONTENT.


Card images may be added to the My Cards folder for later viewing and processing. Card images are added to the My Cards folder from the CARD VIEWER. The My Cards folder may be accessed by selecting the My Cards gallery. In addition, the My Cards folder may be accessed through the link on the VCC Menu Bar.


Drawers that are selected are added to the My Drawers folder. When performing queries, you may choose between viewing card images from the filtered results for the entire set of drawers queried, or you may choose to view only those card images that match the filter criteria from selected drawers. Only drawers that contain images that match the query criteria will be displayed in the Drawers tab.


If your initial filter results in a large set of drawers and images, you may continue to filter the drawers or use advance options to minimize the set. For example, if you are performing research on a particular author, you may want to view only the title cards associated with the author. To do this, filter the drawers to the time period in which the author is most likely to have registered their works, and then select the first character of the author’s last name. As you use these filters, the results set with be updated to reflect the new filters. If the resulting drawer set is still too large, add a string to the Drawer Label filter to continue filtering. In this case, you may want to start with the first three characters of the author’s last name.


If you want to find card images associated with a particular work, you may use the advance options to narrow your query. In this case, you would filter on the author’s name (First Last) AND the Title. (For filterable cards only)


You are encouraged to provide feedback to the U.S. Copyright Office regarding your experience while browsing the Virtual Card Catalog. You may submit a feedback form that captures comments about the catalog drawers, cards, and index. In addition, you may report an issue, make a recommendation, or offer comments. For example, if you have noticed an issue with one of the card images or content, you may activate the feedback option from the card viewer, selecting Cards as the ABOUT, Report an Issue for CATEGORY, and then describe the issue. The feedback submitted will capture the card image associated with the feedback.



Tips & Tricks


Search Strategies: Idiosyncrasies of the Copyright Card Catalog

In general, each segment of the card catalog, all filing elements are divided into two alphabetized groups: personal names followed by corporate names and titles. Thus, for example, a researcher using the name or word White would find Alice White and Zachary White before White Lithographs, Ltd., and The White Monkey. The copyright records are subject to a lack of standardization in the romanization of names, cross-references, and other filing elements. A researcher should take into account any possible variant forms of names and titles. For example, cross-references may not be provided for entries cataloged under Chaikovskii and Tschaikowsky.


Non-English names such as de Mille and von Franz may appear under both the prefix and the surname. A corporate entity such as Walt Disney Productions may appear under that form or under Disney (Walt) Productions. The post-1977 online records can be sensitive to spacing and punctuation: Bank of America NT&SA; Bank of America N.T. & S.A.; and Bank of America, NT & SA are all different index entries within the electronic files.


When working with some indexes predating 1938, use of the published Catalog of Copyright Entries is recommended. During that period, titles of books, lyricists, and even composers were inadequately entered into the card catalog. The printed volume is therefore invaluable for tracing elements not found on the catalog cards. There is no subject index to the card catalog


Locating Authors

The format of the author’s name depends upon the type of card in which the author appears. For example, the author is listed as LAST, FIRST in author cards but is also listed as FIRST LAST within the body of the card image for the author, title, and claimant cards. Thus, an advance query with FIRST LAST and LAST, FIRST will provide the most results. However, if you are seeking author cards only, a simple query on LAST FIRST may be your best option.


From the filter results, select an author card image then switch to the Cards From Same Drawer to find any missing images from the filtered results.


Locating Cards in the Same Drawer

Due to the nature of the Card Catalog and the gaps in the image metadata, it is likely that not all card images will match the query criteria. The most likely reason for this is that the criteria may be missing from a card image that is part of a card set. For example, some card records contain more than one page, which are identified in the Card ID as a, b, c and so on. Thus, only those pages that match the criteria would be included in the results. In addition, where there are errors with the raw metadata (e.g., love shows as iove) the card image will not be displayed in the results.


To locate the missing card images, from the original filtered results, select the card image from the multi-image card set, or any image from the same drawer. From CARD VIEWER, switch to the Cards From Same Drawer gallery to browse for the missing card images.


When To Use Reset All Filters

The VCC allows you to continue to filter and narrow your results. The RESET ALL FILTERS feature should be used when you receive a “No Drawer Results to Display for String Entered in Search” notification, or if you want to start a new query from scratch. The RESET ALL FILTERS feature clears all filters criteria.


When To Use Exact (Filterable Cards Only)

An exact query requires that the criteria is a perfect match and produces the fewest results. Thus, if the criteria is Parton, Dolly any instance of Dolly Parton would not be included in the results. In addition, if an advance query were performed, such as Dolly Parton AND I will Always Love You, only those card images with metadata that matches this criteria will be included in the results.


To locate the missing card images, from the original filtered results, select the card image from the multi-image card set, or any image from the same drawer. From CARD VIEWER, switch to the CARDS FROM SAME DRAWER gallery to browse for the missing card images.


When To Use Contains (Filterable Cards Only)

A “contains query” will return any card image that matches the criteria. For example, if the criteria is Parton Dolly, the results would include any instance of Dolly Parton, Parton Dolly, and Dolly AND Parton (not necessarily as part of the same name). Another example, if the query criteria is May, the results may include any instance of May; including Maybe, Mays, and the like.


To locate the missing card images, from the original filtered results, select the card image from the multi-image card set, or any image from the same drawer. From CARD VIEWER, switch to the CARDS FROM SAME DRAWER gallery to browse for the missing card images.


Filtering Drawers Vs Filtering Card Content

The VCC incorporates two sets of metadata. The first set is associated with the name of the drawer and the Card ID number. The Drawer Name is the exact name as it appears on the physical drawer. The Card ID, is the sequence of the card within the drawer, including any misfiled cards. Thus, all Card IDs for any drawer start with 0001. Where there are multiple pages to a card set, the additional images include a character on the end of the ID. For example, a card set that contains two pages (front and back) would be labeled 0001a and 0001b.


In addition, data capture has been performed on the card images resulting in raw datasets. These datasets represent the content on the card image. While the metadata for the drawers and images is near 100 percent accurate, the raw data sets are roughly 90 percent accurate for the typed content. Thus, card content that is mostly handwritten, such as with serials, was incompatible with the data capture technology used and contains the most errors.


To locate the missing card images, from the original filtered results, select the card image from the multi-image card set, or any image from the same drawer. From CARD VIEWER, switch to the Cards From Same Drawer gallery to browse for the missing card images.



DISCLAIMER

This Proof of Concept is a demonstration of a potential Virtual Card Catalog to validate its feasibility and to verify that the concept has a practical potential use for the public. The images are presented in this virtual card catalog in the exact filing order as found in the physical card catalog and may contain filing errors and corrupt images. This Proof of Concept does not replace or supersede existing search practices established by the United States Copyright Office and the results should not be relied on for legal matters. For information on searching Copyright Records, refer to the circular “How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work.” If you would like to request removal of personal information from the Virtual Card Catalog please refer to the circular “Privacy: Copyright Public Records.”