The goals of the catalog modernization component of the project were to:
1) create an electronic (computerized) catalog of the Library’s holdings to OCLC standard, built by importing available MARC records (Z39.50 standard) from other sources and standardizing them into a consistent format, and creation of original MARC records through OCLC for unique holdings for which no record exists;
2) assign a Library of Congress classification number to each title modified to meet the needs of the standardized collection and its patrons, placing this unique number into the catalog and creating a shelf label to be affixed with a protective cover;
3) make available the electronic catalog to patrons visiting the Library and over the Internet;
4) promote the existence of the new catalog;
5) make manuscript file material more accessible by placing non-rare unbound materials in document boxes and storing them at the beginning of the shelf category rather than elsewhere in vertical files; and
6) implement an Interlibrary Loan program.
Critical to the accuracy and success of the project was the identification and hiring of a Lead Cataloguer (Librarian I or equivalent experience) and several assistant cataloguers (Master’s Degree in Library Science, Library Assistant, or graduate student in Library Science).
Through the efforts of Board member Richard Breithaupt, Sr., whose
professional career included extensive experience in executive and staff
recruiting, the Society was successful in hiring highly qualified librarians
for the project. A team of eight professional librarians worked over the
course of the year to complete the necessary tasks.
The SR Library became a member of OCLC, a worldwide library cooperative whose WorldCat, which now includes a listing of our holdings, is used by 50,540 libraries in 84 countries. Special training was held on-site by OCLC staff to orient the hired and volunteer staff in performing OCLC original cataloguing, and copy-cataloguing. The result is a professional catalog that rivals any library.
Working with President Emeritus Breithaupt, James D. Boyle, the Society’s Senior Vice President, provided leadership as Chairman of the Library Committee and personally contributed hundreds of hours to the project. Unfortunately, an unforseen medical condition caused Dr. Boyle to resign as Chairman early in 2004, just a couple of months into the grant project. His duties were assumed by Mr. Breithaupt, and, along with extraordinary effort of Mark J. Denger, the project was completed within the grant period.
Eight professional librarians and several trained voluntary reviewed, organized, identified and catalogued more than 24,000 items contained in the Library’s book, manuscript, photographic and CD collections. Manuscript files, formerly in ten five-drawer filing cabinets and 2 two-drawer lateral filing cabinets, were organized, catalogued and placed in archival document boxes on shelves.
As part of the cataloguing process, each holding was assigned a unique Library of Congress number. This unique LOC number was placed in the catalog, a spine label prepared and affixed to the holding with a protective cover. LOC numbers were assigned in conformity with Library of Congress standards using its ClassWeb database.
The cataloguing project included creation by our librarians of roughly 3,000 new original OCLC records representing titles not found in the OCLC database. These are titles apparently not found in any other library, including the Library of Congress, as they had not been previously catalogued by anyone. We were informed that this was not unexpected by OCLC staff who were impressed with the depth of our unique 110-year old collection.
The Library’s photograph collection, including about 1,500 original portraits of the Society’s members taken in the early 20th century, were catalogued for the first time.
A total of 5,568.50 hours were expended during the grant period, including 2,350 hours of un-paid volunteer effort. The new electronic catalog is accessible at the Library, through OCLC’s WorldCat (which is accessible at most public libraries) and on the Internet at the Society’s web site, http://www.srcalifornia.com. Though the Society incurred costs of $160,000 to complete the project, the actual value of the project is estimated to exceed $250,000. The Society and the community are grateful to those who played a role in bringing it to a successful conclusion.