While many of you are lounging on the beach, sipping pina colados and daiquiris, we in the library are hard at work on two major projects this summer. The first project, which I find incredibly cool, is the actual physical inventory of our entire book collection. This is the first time in almost 40 years that a comprehensive book inventory has been conducted and I, for one, am glad we waited. Portable bar code scanners, like the one shown below, will allow us to complete the scanning part of the project in less than eight weeks. In the “old” days, a project of this magnitude would have taken us almost a year. (In those days, we would have had to take the shelflist card drawers up to the book stacks and compare each book with its card. Labor intensive doesn’t begin to describe how daunting that project would have been). But with the portable barcode scanner, we are able to capture all of the bibliographic information we need at lightning speed. It is a thing of beauty. I’d like to thank the Yukon Energy Mines and Resources Library, in Whitehorse, Yukon for writing up their experiences and sharing them. By doing so, we were able to modify a computer program they wrote that allows us to match the barcodes captured by the scanner to those in our local database.
The second project that is underway is a journals cancelation project. Librarians, along with help from all academic departments across the University, are looking at each and every journal title to which we subscribe to determine if title needs to be retained in print format. Currently, most of the library’s 400+ journals are available in one of our many aggregate databases. (Fewer than fifty of the total numbers of journals, to which we subscribe, are unique and have no electronic equivalent format). Students and faculty alike have expressed a preference for electronic journal articles, so wherever we can provide electronic content, we will do so in favor of print. Again, this project, which took months to coordinate, is expected to be completed by the end of June.
So, as you can see, our summer vacation is not nearly as exotic or exciting as yours; however by the time you get back to start the fall semester, we will have accomplished much in terms of inventory control and better electronic access. It is, indeed, a beautiful thing.
Behind the scenes @ the RMU Library