On the Shelf: 2019 Year in Review

Each month for well over a year I have checked in here to provide updates about the growth and development of our print collections.  We steward several print collections of books, periodicals (both bound and loose issues), tracts, and pamphlets.  We also catalog audio, video, and digital materials in several formats.  Usually these A/V items are published or otherwise widely distributed; nearly all of them are either produced by the University or are Stone-Campbell-related.  As an aside, we have tens of thousands of A/V items (reels and cassettes, mostly) in our archival collections.  These items are usually not mass-produced, such as sermons delivered at congregations.  These are discoverable, in varying degrees, through the finding aids we create for each collection.

‘New Library Quarters’ from The Optimist, February 25, 1937. Available at: https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101341/m1/3/

In nearly every case, when we add items to these print collections, the new catalog records are also pushed over to Worldcat so they are globally discoverable.  Many of the Stone-Campbell items we preserve have never been cataloged before, so each month I call attention to how original cataloging is a tremendous contribution to knowledge about information resources from and about the Stone-Campbell Movement.  Additionally, I am always looking out for variant editions and printings of Stone-Campbell items so our collection represents the full breadth of our publishing activities.  These variations are also noted in the catalog records.

In 2019, with great thanks to our colleagues and student workers in Technical Services, we can reflect on the addition of 3,225 items to our print collections. Thank you to Gary Oliver for his work with original cataloging, to Shan Martinez who creates multiple hundreds of records and supervises several students, and volunteer Linda Foster who has faithfully created records for thousands of tracts (with thousands more to go).

Here are the breakdowns of the number of items added by month in 2019.  If you’d like to see the titles and authors, browse these lists.

January: 132

February: 500

March: 413

April: 430

May: 219

June: 82

July: 118

August: 168

September: 209

October: 697

November: 209

December: 48

In order to prepare new items for our colleagues in Technical Services, Mac determines whether the item is within our collecting scope.  Then, a student worker (Mac and Amanda also do this some, too) verifies whether we have the item already cataloged.  If not, we add it to the workflow to be cataloged.  If we already have a copy (or copies) we (usually Mac) compares its condition against the one on the shelf.  He also looks for variant editions, printings, bindings, or other features (such as an author’s signature or gift inscription) that merit inclusion.   If the new book is in better condition that the shelved copy, we will replace the worn copy.  If it is in comparable condition, we may put it in the queue for scanning or digitization, offer it for the circulating collection, or trade to another library.  We then take the items upstairs to Technical Services along with instructions for catalogers: where it should be cataloged (into the CRS collection or another sub-collection within rare books), who the donor is, and whether cataloging should make special note of any edition or printing or provenance.  When the catalogers finish, our student workers lead the way in making sure items are shelved, with Mac and Amanda assisting when needed.

Not only do these 3,225 new (and new-to-us) titles represent the fine cataloging work of our colleagues and their staff, they represent dozens of donors who wanted to see the collection grow in scope, utility, breadth, and depth.  We do not yet know how students and researchers will utilize these materials, but we look forward to the contribution they will make to our history.  And we look forward to what 2020 will bring to the shelves.



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