Virtual Card Catalog (Proof of Concept)

The U.S. Copyright Card Catalog provides an index to copyright registrations and other public records pertaining to ownership of copyrighted works. The catalog enables users to identify original copyright registration records and other U.S. Copyright Office records from 1870 through 1977. The information in these records typically includes: name of author(s), title of work, copyright registration number, and effective date of registration. These records do not include the full registration records or copies of deposited works registered with the Copyright Office. The card catalog also contains entries for transfers of ownership, generally one card for each title, assignee, and assignor.

Over the decades, with changes in the rules of cataloging copyright registrations, the U.S. Copyright Office has organized these records into several chronological periods or indexes. There are six primary Registration indexes: 1971-1977, 1955-1970, 1946-1954, 1938-1945, 1898-1937, and 1870-1897. Other indexes include: assignments, notice of use, commercial prints and labels, and a pseudonym file.

VCC Release 3 - New Functionality

Prior to this release, the VCC Proof of Concept contained the last two indexes (1955-1977) of the catalog. This release enhances the collection by adding the remaining images (1870-1954) for the complete Card Catalog collection. The complete collection is available to browse using filters that limit the number of drawer results. A few indexes will be available for the enhanced browse capabilities that include the ability to filter the card results based upon the card content.

The Purpose of the Virtual Card Catalog

The Proof of Concept card catalog represents card records, displayed in JPEG images, from the U.S. Copyright Card Catalog collection. It is not a final version of the planned Virtual Card Catalog (VCC). The images are presented in a similar filing order as found in the physical card catalog and may contain filing errors and corrupt images. In addition, the enhanced browse capabilities are limited due to the use of raw OCR data. We are working to update and improve the overall functionality.

The purpose of this Proof of Concept is to provide the public with a glimpse of the digitized card catalog and to solicit feedback that will provide valuable information for the future digital transformation of the U.S. Copyright Office physical historical records.


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, please refer to Circular 22 "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 Circular 18 "Privacy: Copyright Public Records".