Computer technology has made it easier and more efficient to store library catalog records online. The ability to make changes and updates in the computer data with just a few keystrokes has increased the efficiency and reduced the cost of maintaining catalog records. It also allows library patrons to search the catalog from remote locations via the Internet.
With an online search customers can check on the status of any item in the collection, can place a “hold” on the item if it is checked out, and even check their own circulation record to see what they have checked out and when it is due to be returned. Searching for individual items is easier as well since patrons only need to type in a few keywords to find the item they are seeking. In the card catalog system, customers needed to know the order and spelling of all of the words in a title or author’s name, with the online catalog this level of detail is no longer necessary. All of these changes have made the traditional card catalog obsolete.