Danny, Caroline & Tracy take us on a trip down into the IDS basement…Continue reading
These theses trees
by Clare Playforth
Those of you who enjoyed my last post on sandwiches but felt like you wanted it to be longer and even more niche (lol) then read on, this one is for you! It’s an article originally titled Subject Indexing in an Institutional Repository that I had accepted for publication by Catalogue and Index – periodical of the Cataloguing and Indexing Group, a Special Interest Group of CILIP.
I’ve been a cataloguer for some years but have only just started training to become an indexer with the Society of Indexers. I can now see that there are many parallels between cataloguing and indexing and I am often expanding my knowledge of one activity through the other. The clearest example of a task in which the two areas are intertwined is when I classify theses in our institutional repository. Our current repository platform is EPrints using the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set. This allows us to assign subjects to research outputs so that they are indexed and available to users through access points in our discovery layer (Primo). I’m going to avoid discussion about the systems involved here and their interaction with each other and am going to focus on the details of this task and try to understand some of the benefits and flaws of the current workflow.
Documents in the Legacy Collection
By Chloe Dobson
The largest part of the Legacy Collection will be the 20237 documents we have accumulated since the opening of the University.
Official Publications used to have its own dedicated area in the University Library, with a counter service to help users retrieve and discover new items and dedicated staff to develop and manage the collections.
The Documents Librarian, who had a responsibility for the Social Sciences and Parliamentary materials was keen to fill the shelves with pamphlets, reports, ephemora and papers relating to current issues at the time as well as reflecting the research interests of the new University. The building had no space limits and a healthy budget for acquisitions, so many donations were accepted, standing orders established and staff would even travel around collecting new materials.
“I wanted our Library collections to reflect the mood of the times, and this directed me to the ephemeral publications of the interest groups and pressure groups that were active in those decades. We aimed to collect together the output of such organisations, that represented the current social and political views of the decades. Some publications were standing orders from “regular” sources, political parties, research organisations, etc. Many of the pamphlets we collected were the result of scanning the press and being alert to media reports. Those four little words, “a report out today” were sufficient to raise an order for that report. We also went on regular foraging trips to “known” venues in London, such as 9 Poland Street, where pressure group publications were available for sale.”
David Kennelly, former Assistant Librarian.
There was a focus on events such as general elections, strikes, changes to infrastructure and following political and social movements locally and across the UK.
The Documents collection was a strong feature of the Library at the time. Monthly acquisition lists would be sent out to academics and researchers to ensure that all parts of the University used the collections. The then Librarian Adrian Peasgood recalls an external examiner commenting very favourably on the quality and quantity of the material to which candidates had clearly been exposed.
As the section had its own area and was shelved away from the other collections, much of it was uncatalogued, as staff knew the contents very well and could help students directly, often using lists and indexes rather than a card catalogue.
The Collection Development Librarians and the Special Collections Archivist are now working through the extensive spreadsheet that our teams have produced, detailing all of these items of which 40% are uncatalogued.
We have identified the following themes running through the collection and have been examining each item to give it a category:
Gender Studies and Feminism
Popular and Counter Cultures
Post WW2 World Order
Political Movements and Parties
We hope that this will help with discoverability, as one or more themes will be added to the MARC record when it is recatalogued. Researchers using the collections should be able to easily identify items of interest to them and this will help us with promotion and use in teaching if we can easily identify items by topic.
As the cataloguing will be an extensive part of the project, having smaller collections within collections can help us to break it down into manageable chunks.
We have just completed the review of all items and can reveal that the sections will look like this
|Political Parties and Movements||10658|
|To be decided||2677|
|Popular and Counter Cultures||402|
|Post WW2 Order||393|
|Gender Studies and Feminism||218|
Here are some examples of our documents:
This task has had tricky moments as we grapple with crossover publications covering Socialism in wartime or areas such as airport expansion and the market economy which we struggled to fit into our categories. We now feel the next step is to add Infrastructure and Trade to our list to cover these gaps satisfactorily.
We are almost ready to start cataloguing and the War section is looking good to start with, as the items in there are without any doubt in their right place.
Please do drop us a line if you would like to know more or be involved in the creation of Legacy:
by Clare Playforth
Classification is a big part of my job and certainly the part that I find most enjoyable and challenging. The other day I was looking in vain for a resource that would provide me with a table of ‘date letters’ that are sometimes used when classifying collected works. After a couple of discussions about this it became clear to me that there are many practices in cataloguing and classification that might seem like they are needlessly complicated and opaque. I want to explain that there is a reason for things to be done this way.
Every time we make a decision about how to classify something we are doing it with the collection and ultimately the user in mind. When someone has looked up a book on the catalogue we want them to be able to find it easily on the shelf, but when they get to that shelf we also want them to find a load of other books that are relevant on either side i.e. we want to enable browsing. We want them to arrive at the shelf and first find the general books about a topic and then to be able to walk down that stack seeing how the subject narrows and becomes more specific as the classifications are expanded. In an ideal world we would want each classmark to represent only one book – this is part of the reason for doing the reclassification projects which you can read about here.