I’m sure everyone in New England is familiar with the snow in the title. For those outside the region, the forecast shifted before and during the storm.
We went from dusting to an inch to 3 inches to 7 inches in the space of 12 hours. Needless to say, the first order of business for everyone was to dig out.
By the time we arrived on campus, there was a clear path to the library door, for which I am grateful. I’ve had more than a few spills on that campus in the winter months. I tell myself I am more graceful than in my youth, but I think the truth of the matter is there’s more ice melt than there was back then. Whatever the reason, I’m sure all who have ever fallen on the road from dorm to library can share in my pain and the happiness that is not falling.
The semester is well underway, of course, but we’ve managed to stay on pace with the shelving, a victory in its own right. Beyond the handful of books returned (one of which we’ll highlight this week. Interesting stuff!), I found that the number of books wandering the rooms was beginning to get out of control.
This week’s room in focus was the Helm Room, in no small part due to the fact that my office opens onto it. Too, there were a number of books scattered along the window sills throughout the room. These have all found their homes on the shelves, their presence noted in the shelf read spreadsheet. The spreadsheets have been cleaned up and stripped down to essentials: since I will not be creating full MARC records for each of our books, there is little reason to check all those fields. Once we move to a full OPAC, the system will pull down the records for us, a development for which I am eternally grateful. I enjoy cataloging to a certain extent. I do not enjoy the amount of coding that goes into creating original records.
Another minor impact of the shelf read is the ability to double check the call numbers. There have been some acquisitions processed in the last decade or so with call numbers that make you go “huh?”
Granted that reasonable minds can disagree on the correct call
number for a work, some of these were far from home. The advantage I am finding in doing the shelf read is the ability to really get into the collection, to get a feel for what my predecessors have done and where they have agreed and disagreed with each other.
The call number previously on these volumes out of the Loeb Classics collection, for example, would have put them squarely in the center of bird watching books for New England Species. Not the first place I’d check for Pliny, to be sure. When I consider trying to do this in the age before the internet, when things like World Cat can bring you call number consensus in 30 seconds or less, I find myself with even greater respect for those who braved this world of information before me. I wouldn’t necessarily go back to their world were it took far more time to find out how the Library of Congress had classified something, but I can appreciate the amount of work that went into such an endeavor.
Trying a few new things on the blog in the coming weeks, including the beginning of a feature on the interesting, odd, cool, and wonderful volumes I find in the library.
If there’s anything you’d like to see or anything you’d like to hear about, drop me a line or post a comment!