Cataloguing update

by anchorarchivist... ()

I apologize for my long absence from the Catalogue Blogue. A lot has happened since I last wrote.

I spent about 4 months working as a paid “Cataloguing Coordinator” for the Anchor Archive (my dream job!). When I started I had high aspirations of getting almost all of the zines in the library catalogued by the end of my contract, but after awhile I become more realistic and decided my focus would be to teach cataloguing to as many people as possible and establish the necessary infrastructure for cataloguing to continue after my contract ended. In this regard I was very successful.

I started training volunteer cataloguers at the end of the summer and hosted “cataloguing parties” 2 or 3 times a week when anyone was invited to come catalogue at the Zine Library. I recruited volunteer cataloguers from current Anchor Archive volunteers, recipients of the Anchor Archive newsletter, folks who stopped by the Zine Library during open hours, students in the local Master of Library Studies program, and pretty much everyone I knew and met. There was a huge amount of interest and I trained around 25 people over 2 months. A lot of those people only came to 1-3 cataloguing parties, but at least 10 became regular cataloguers who would catalogue once a week or so. I invited people to catalogue in whatever subjects they were interested in. Our cataloguing parties were always fun and I met some awesome people.

Our volunteers are diverse and bring different strengths to cataloguing. Some have a library background. Some know the collection really well. Some have special knowledge or high interest in a specific category. Some are really fast. Some are thorough and detailed.

I catalogued quite a few zines myself, but I also spent time editing catalogue records and transferring subject terms to the Zine Thesaurus I was making. Coming up with good subject terms continues to be the most challenging part of cataloguing for all the volunteers, but building the thesaurus has been fun.

I created an instruction booklet for zine cataloguing that includes step-by-step instructions for filling out fields, tips for choosing good subject terms, and directions for using other aspects of the catalogue. I will attach it to this post at some point. I also worked on some instructions for general users of the catalogue and administrators but those haven’t been finalized yet because we keep redesigning the user interface.

By the end of my contract we had catalogued over 500 zines! We figure there are around 3000 zines in the collection, but we’re not totally sure, so we made a good dent.

I went away on a holiday for November and December. Since I got back to Halifax in January I’ve been hosting cataloguing parties every Sunday afternoon during Zine Library open hours. Sarah (a more “senior” cataloguer) has hosted a couple of parties during the week too, to accommodate those with different schedules. Sometimes only 1 cataloguer comes, but most of the time I have 3 or 4, and last weekend I had 6. We keep getting new people who want to learn too.

Since November we’ve actually catalogued another 500 zines, so I’m pretty confident that the momentum will continue and we’ll most of the collection catalogued by the end of the year.

The catalogue is online and some people use it, but we haven’t officially launched it yet. I need to give regular open hours volunteers some training on the catalogue first, and I’m waiting until we’ve finalized the user interface for the website before I do that, which should be in April. When we do launch the catalogue we’re going to have a big party.