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Query--library stuff - 1370°C

Nov. 19th, 2007

07:11 pm - Query--library stuff

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Today, one of my cohort and i discovered that our wonderful Centre for Medieval Studies library contains a) books that the U's library owns but live on our bank of the river--a full 15 minutes closer walk than the proper library for those of us farthest away and b) books that the U library system doesn't contain at all. Sadly, CMSL's collection is poorly organised and not at all catalogued.

I hatched a plan.

With volunteer help, i reckon we can shelf-mark and database all of the books in the library so that medievalists can make much better use of them. We'd like CMS to be the bustling hub of activity it once was, and it would be dead helpful.

Now, i can probably roll my own database, but it would be hacked together, unprofessional, and likely full of the craptastic. Have any of you come across a free (preferably Free) database system that would allow us to input full bibliographic details for books, including LC call numbers, in a format searchable by author, title, call number, and perhaps keyword? We'd want the database to be locally hosted but able to be set loose on the Internet. It's a strangely specialised request, but i'm guessing if anyone knows of such a thing, you lot would be the first defence.

Comments:

From:neogrammarian
Date:November 20th, 2007 01:23 am (UTC)
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Oh sad, is CMS not successful these days? Years back we had the Early Modern Center green w/jealousy.

May I drop a link to this in comments to a librarian & computer-saavy friend of mine? She may well know of a good databasing program for this sort of thing.

(And if it's not entirely free, but less than a couple hundred, you should get a few helpers together & apply for a small grant to buy the necessary software- CMS needs to know what they own!)
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From:ferrousoxide
Date:November 20th, 2007 01:30 am (UTC)
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CMS has been reduced in staff to one 50% Grad Student employee, a much smaller space, and generally has been subsumed by the Institute for Advanced Studies rather than being its own entity. The colloquia are still going strong, but other participation (including enticing Grad Students to do the Medieval Studies major) is flagging (currently, i'm their only officially enrolled minor student). We really need to convince CLA, the U, and IAS that we need funding! Sad, as CMS was one of the things that drew me to UMN.

Please do pass the info along to your librarian friend. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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From:neogrammarian
Date:November 20th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
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Well, my friend has no ideas off the top of her head for cataloging programs. Sorry- never hurts to ask, though.

That is sad news about CMS. That was a very tough time for me, in a lot of ways, but the Center was always warm & welcoming.
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From:liadan_m
Date:November 20th, 2007 01:59 am (UTC)
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LibraryThing, and there's a Georgette Heyer on my desk in the office that belongs to the center, as well as some CDs of never-cataloged manuscripts that now belong to the Center.

And what am I? Chopped Liver? ;) I'm Center staff, even though I'm paying to be slave labor this semester.
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From:ferrousoxide
Date:November 20th, 2007 02:03 am (UTC)
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Does M know what you have? That would be helpful. We're trying to get everything in one spot.

Chopped liver? Assuredly. Just like all of us Grad Student scrubs. Welcome to the fold ;)
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From:liadan_m
Date:November 20th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC)
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I don't know, but the Heyer is the only thing to save me from utter boredom during office hours when I leave my computer at home. And I know he knows about the CDs.
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From:ferrousoxide
Date:November 20th, 2007 02:33 am (UTC)
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Cool. Well that will be a brilliant start to the project of a proper catalogue. I'll make sure everyone knows. With any hope, you guys at the Centre will have some proper lackeys soon to order around for specific tasks!
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From:liadan_m
Date:November 20th, 2007 04:42 am (UTC)
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Yay! M really needs that. I really need to do my office hours next week...
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From:catblade
Date:November 20th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
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If there isn't something readily available, I could write something over break using MySQL which is free and running on Apache. Let me know if you need this. It wouldn't take long-I used to do some amount of database stuff.
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From:ferrousoxide
Date:November 21st, 2007 01:24 am (UTC)
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Well, evidently, one of my cohort has a few Nota Bene licenses. It's a bibliographic tool plus word processor thingamabob specifically made for academic research. He's also got a laptop he's willing to donate specifically for the purpose of keeping the catalogue. So, thank you for the awesome offer, but i think we've got it covered!
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From:nephster13
Date:November 20th, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
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Another vote for Librarything. First 200 books are free to catalogue, then it's something like 25 dollars for a lifetime sub. Accessible anywhere.
If books are isbn'ed you can just scan 'em in.
Even proper academic libraries like WIT in Ireland are starting to use it - was showing their version to the Keeper of Reader Services in Trinity yesterday.

Mine is at http://www.librarything.com/catalog/nephster

G*
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