Virtual Card Catalog | U.S. Copyright Office
Virtual Card Catalog | U.S. Copyright Office

About Virtual Card Catalog (VCC)


Together, the Copyright Card Catalog and the Catalog of Copyright Entries (CCE) provide an index to copyright registrations and records in the United States from 1870 to 1977. The physical Copyright Card Catalog contains approximately 41.5 million card pages. A large part of the literary, musical, artistic, and scientific production of the United States and of foreign countries is recorded in these files. Because of changes in the techniques of recording copyright registrations over the years, the Copyright Office has divided these records into several chronological periods or indexes.


The cards in the Copyright Card Catalog were scanned into high-resolution TIFF images for archival purposes. These TIFF images were then converted into smaller, presentation copy images in the JPEG format to create the online images for the VCC. In addition, optical character recognition (OCR) and intelligent character recognition (ICR) technology were used to capture metadata from the images of the typed and handwritten text into raw datasets. The raw datasets have been added to the VCC to enable enhanced browse capabilities. In the future, the raw datasets will be reviewed for errors and corrected to the extent practical given the large volume of datasets.


This second release Proof of Concept Virtual Card Catalog is the next step toward providing more robust online search capabilities of the Copyright Card Catalog given the raw OCR data currently available. The purpose of this proof of concept is to confirm the validity of a Virtual Card Catalog by assessing if additional registration indexes, more features, and enhanced search capabilities through OCR data perfection will provide value to researchers, copyright owners, and the public. The U.S. Copyright Office welcomes your input and feedback on the VCC.


This Proof of Concept is not a final version of the planned Virtual Card Catalog (VCC). The purpose of the VCC Proof of Concept is to test if this system can be used for online public access to the physical Copyright Card Catalog. The images appear in roughly the same filing order as the physical cards, but filing errors and corrupt images may cause some images to be in the wrong place. Enhanced browse capabilities are limited because data capture technology is not entirely accurate. We are working to update and improve overall functionality. Your feedback is essential to improving the system. This Proof of Concept does not replace or supersede existing search practices established by the U.S. Copyright Office. Any results obtained during the course of your enhanced browse are not reliable for legal matters. For information regarding searching copyright records, please refer to Circular 22 “How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work.” For information regarding the removal of personal information from the Virtual Card Catalog, please refer to the Circular 18 “Privacy: Copyright Public Records.”