outside-the-basement cataloguing

In my first week at the Schulz Library I basically worked on cataloguing materials, which has been good. It’s not glamorous exciting sexy work, but it’s the kind of thing you can do with Pandora streaming on one of the laptops and just sort of get lost in. Caitlin has been very kind in making sure I’m not getting too bored, but dude, I’m one of those nerds who actually likes cataloguing. (I sort of figured this might be the case from the class this past semester.)

The thing that makes this cataloguing work a bit more interesting than usual is that instead of just being able to run a Z39.50 search in Koha, importing the record and slapping a barcode onto the book (don’t worry if that didn’t make sense, the point is that’s a very rote, very easy thing to do, taking maybe four clicks), we’re dealing with materials that the Library of Congress isn’t necessarily carrying. This means I get to go do detective work on WorldCat to find other libraries that might have the comic in question.

I’ve learned a bunch about which libraries have really good comic collections (I knew Ohio State University Library did, from my term paper I wrote in my cataloguing class this past term, but University of Michigan is also pretty consistently good). I’ve used records from Slovenian libraries and reformatted them to our own system. There’s also been the opportunity to create records for a bunch of local/small-press comics completely from scratch, putting my descriptive cataloguing skills to good use. It’s kind of great.

The software we’re using is the open-source integrated library system, Koha, which I’m really glad I’ve been able to do. I’ll be helping users with it a lot more when I go to Australia for my co-op in a couple of weeks(!), and this familiarity will make me way more comfortable with the software than simply reading the manual and mucking about in an illusory situation would.

So yes, that’s how my first week was. I’m having fun being a cataloguing comicbook nerd. Whee!

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