The Sanford Berman Website

Sanford Berman Website

photo courtesy Bert Schlauch Peace Images

Welcome to the Sanford Berman website devoted to the work of librarian Sanford Berman who created an innovative, radical and inclusive catalog which used terms we use when looking for information instead of he 19th century language of the Library of Congress Subject Headings. Berman worked for Hennepin County from 1973 until 1999.

I call upon all who care for Sandy and his work, to help me add more of his work to this site. You could send PDFs of his articles or scan paper into PDF and send me copies. Let's show Sandy and the world how much he and his work will always mean to us.

A few offer to help, but no one actually does.   But some republish Sandys rad mailings in their twitter feeds, websites, facebook pages etc.   That's in the spirit of sharing the knowledge, so it's good!   Sandy always perceives ideas and the terms that are used to communicate concepts the moment they are born.   His mind worked like the internet before the internet existed.  He works within the structure of MARC, to create a People's Catalog free from the limits and biases of traditional catalogs.  

Several years ago when a local library school asked for guest speakers for its students, I recommended Sanford Berman. The condescending response I received was that they wanted speakers that their students might "know" who would inspire librarians of "the future." Berman's work is included in library coursework, his work is discussed on librarian blogs and websites, library media continue to ask for interviews, he continues to receive awards and give speeches.

Yesterday I searched for "Sandy Berman" on Twitter and found many feeds where young persons both librarians and non-librarians were tweeting about Sandy. Many of them had just discovered his work. They said that his work and his life so inspired them.

Sandy Berman and his work are and will always be relevant to librarians and anyone who seeks information and finds it following the guide he and those who have followed his example have given to us.

I started this site in 2002 when the Hennepin County Library System removed Sandy's catalog from their servers and consigned the raw data to the ALA archives at the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana, where it has been in prison all these years.

In 2021  Dr. David Lesniaski announced that he had created an environment for the Berman catalog to live in using open source cat software KOHA.
After 19 years in prison, the catalog that Sanford Berman and his colleagues at Hennepin County library created is now accessible to us all.  BRAVO!!!

Hennepin County Library 2/2002 Bibliographic file and 10/2001 Subject authority file catalog (


Madeline Douglass -   1/7/2022

Berman LCSH Scorecard Last Unabashed Bibliography Sanford Berman Rocks my Socks Librarians at Liberty 1999
Tribute HCL Sanford Berman's Last Stand Biography Books
HCL Cataloging Bulletin Headings Change The Subject Expand Videos
Contact Sandy