Wikipedia has let me down, I fear. I was looking for a brief description of the Brown Issue System. Nope. Not there.
Indeed, a search on Google produces remarkably few results. Here is a brief description from one document found:
With the very widely used Brown issue system, for instance, when a book was borrowed the librarian took one of the reader’s borrowing cards and removed the book’s own card. The two cards were filed together in chronological order of the day on which the book was borrowed and this date was stamped in the book. When the book was returned, the user’s card was removed from the file of the day indicated by the stamp and given back, and the book card was replaced in the book. Whilst the filed cards revealed which user had a particular book, or which books a particular reader had borrowed, this was only true whilst the loan continued. Afterwards no record of the transaction remained. [Sturges, Iliffe, Dearnley. Privacy in the digital library environment. [doc]]An interesting - well, interesting to me, anyway - example of how a niche topic of historic interest does not produce many results.
Incidentally, I got two results on Google Book Search, one of which shares authors with the document from which the quote above comes.
Update: today, I notice that the Google Book Search search is producing one result only. Tomorrow, who knows ....?
Update: yes, Alex (in the comments), 'let me down' is a poor choice of words. What I meant to say is that given the high expectations I have developed of finding an entry on things I look for, I was surprised not to find one.
Update: and yes folks (in the comments) I could do an entry if I went looking for some background materials, and I am well placed to do that given the very fine service the OCLC Library and Information Center provides. Maybe I will get around to it, or maybe by the time I do that somebody else will have begun the work ....