I’m a Cataloguing Librarian (with special responsibility for the medical and healthcare libraries) who works for Cardiff University, I’m not actually based in a library (sadly), as about 5 years ago they relocated the Acquisitions and Cataloguing department from the basement of the Arts and Social Studies Library to an admin building about a mile away. [Incidentally the basement now houses SCOLAR – Special Collections and Archives]. Although we get to see all the new books passing through we don’t get to see them adorning the book shelves in the libraries. The reason for this blog post is that I’m taking part in the “Library Day in the Life Project Round 7”
My attention was drawn to this project by Girl in the Moon who commented on an earlier blog post where I had mentioned a “Day in the life” piece that I wrote in 2008 for an internal project in the library service at Cardiff.
Today there are no new medical or healthcare books waiting for me to catalogue. The rest of the cataloguing team no longer have special responsibilities for a school or library, as a few years ago it was deemed more efficient to have everyone catalogue everything. I was the exception as I my post is funded differently. There are pros and cons to this approach, and not everyone was happy with the decision to go this way. Having a specialist subject means that one is usually able to catalogue a book on that topic faster than someone who doesn’t, and that one is aware of any local idiosyncrasies connected to that area. Anyway, that is the way it works at the moment.
Today it means that while there are 5 metres of new stock waiting to be catalogued, none of them are my responsibility! I start the day with participation in cpd23 looking at Thing 8 – Google Calendar and I blog my response to it. An hour is spent on some confidential paperwork.
Next up I tackle some of the theses I have waiting, it seems they are universally hated in my team, as adding keywords on highly specialised topics can be a severe intellectual stretch at times! This issue was discussed at our last team meeting and the option to forget about adding keywords was raised. Should the authors of theses include keywords (well yes it would be helpful!), and if so should we just use these even though they might not conform to either LCSH, or MeSH; should we ask the schools to provide keywords, perhaps getting a postgrad to add them to our records; should we continue as we do, adding what we can – we at least are familiar with LCSH and MeSH even if the topic of the thesis is beyond our comprehension (you know – when you’ve read the abstract 10 times and you still don’t have a clue what they are talking about) I’d be interested to know what other places do with their theses. Anyway, today I managed to do a selection of the ones on my shelf without too much problem – though I was cherry picking a bit.
Next I moved on to books I have waiting to add to the Human Genetics Historical Library. This ‘library’ is housed in SCOLAR and is part of a project to preserve the history of human genetics. All the items have been donated, either as individual copies, or as part of larger collections (from medical libraries and personal collections). The main driving force behind this project, Professor Peter Harper, is also donating his personal book collection; however, he is keeping his books at home for the time being as he is still active in research, but to ensure they are added to the library he brings me a couple of bags worth every few weeks. The library will eventually contain the complete collections of three main individuals (including Prof Harper), as a consequence there are quite a few duplicates being added to the library. Today I found was no exception, and of the eight books that passed through my hands before lunch, only one needed cataloguing as a unique copy. After lunch I am hoping to continue with the genetics books, I have several on a shelf that are all foreign language items donated by Prof John Edwards (another one of the three main individuals) – they are in languages such as Russian and Japanese so I have been putting them off for awhile – might try to tackle a few of them today.