Brodart is a library services company based in Pennsylvania that supplies materials to institutional libraries that still has a variety of supplies not only for libraries and book lovers alike, but for amateur and professional zettelmacher(in) as well.
Most of their focus is on 3-by-5 inch index card sized material, but maybe with the re-popularization, they might add more support for the 4-by-6 inch card enthusiasts?
Perhaps if the demand for these older systems goes up, they’ll not only have more offerings, but the price will come down through economies of scale?
Let’s look at what they’ve got available.
Cards and Card Guides
On the card side, they’ve got a variety of options that aren’t as readily available at most office supply stores. If you’ve got an old school library card catalog with rods, you’re probably going to want cards with holes pre-punched. Of course they’ve got them in colors as well as without holes too.
With a sizeable card collection you’re likely to want some card guides, so they offer the traditional A-Z 1/5 Cut Card Guides as well as Blank Catalog Card Guides, with those holes pre-punched for convenience.
Most may already have an indexing system built into their system, but if you don’t and want to go with a classic Dewey Decimal set up, they’ve got you covered.
Perhaps you’ve got a sizeable digital card collection already, and have been jonesing to make the jump to analog? They’ve got printable card sheets so you can print out your digital cards relatively easily and continue without losing all that work. Or maybe you’re the mid century/ Umberto Eco purist who wants typewritten cards, but don’t want to retype them all? They’ve got both 4-up and 3-up versions as well.
Let’s say you’ve got a long standing practice of making bibliographic cards. You need some cards to hold not only your meta data about the materials you’re reading, but you want to add your fleeting notes to them the way Luhmann and others have. Brodart has a wide variety of pre-printed cards that could serve this purpose. Some have printed sections which say “Date Loaned” and “Borrowers’s Name”, with sections for data below, but these could just as easily stand for page number and lined space for your important notes.
There are also a number of other versions of this sort of card depending on what you want. Try these or search for the many others which may suit your fancy:
- Brodart White Book Cards with Two Columns and Ruled Top
- Brodart Book Cards with Author, Title, Date Due, and Borrower’s Name
- Brodart Medium-Weight, White Book Cards with Ruled Top, Date, and Issued To
Maybe you haven’t made that slip box purchase yet, but want something shiny and new? Brodart has you covered here as well. They’ve got a few different options for a small desktop slip box or a fully modular system that you can add to over time.
Stand alone boxes
Brodart has at least two desktop boxes, with 12 and 9 drawers respectively.
- Brodart 12-Tray Card Catalog Cabinet with Solid Oak Front
- Brodart Nine-Tray Card Catalog Cabinet with Solid Oak Front
Want to design your own system that’s expandable with your card collection? They’ve got a five drawer wide system with options for 1, 2, or 3 row tall sections that you can build up to suit your needs. Start with their table and legs, add a one or more sections of card files, and then top it off with a cover. If you’d like, they’ve also got an interstitial piece with drawer pulls so that you’ve got a writing surface built into your zettelkasten. Build that system up to your ceiling!
- Brodart Cabinet Bases for Card Catalog Sectional Cabinets
- Brodart 15-Tray Unit for Card Catalog Sectional Cabinet
- Brodart 10-Tray Unit for Card Catalog Sectional Cabinet
- Brodart Five-Tray Unit for Card Catalog Sectional Cabinet
- Brodart Cornice Top for Card Catalog Sectional Cabinet
- Brodart Sliding Reference Shelves for Card Catalog Sectional Cabinet
4-by-6 inch Card Boxes
Brodart is a bit thin on the 4-by-6 inch category, but for the beginning zettelmacher(in), they do have some nice sized, portable, archive quality boxes you might like to start your collection. See their Postcard Boxes.
Of course there are lots of other options in the space. Some of these box systems can become pretty expensive, and for the price you might be as well off purchasing a used card catalog which you can restore or you can find restored ones online. Some of them even go to the level of fine furniture and can quickly go for over $5,000.00.
If you prefer the vintage 20 gauge steel esthetic (you know I do!), you can find lots of used, but still great condition slip boxes online in places like eBay or on Craigslist.
I and others have written some advice about other card storage options on a Reddit community targeted at analog zettelkasten in the past.
What do you use? What do you want to use? Are you going to custom build your own? Have you seen other companies like Brodart that still support the manufacturing of these sorts of tools for thought? Please share your ideas and supplies below.