As I write and you read the 72nd Slavonic item of the month piece, it can seem that some things will never end. This post, however, looks at the satisfying task of bibliographic closure, with several Slavonic book sets recently completed following the receipt of their final volumes.
Letopisʹ zhizni i tvorchestva N.V. Gogoli︠a︡ (Chronicle of the life and work of N.V. Gogol’) came out over the course of 2017-2018 in 7 volumes. Detailed life chronicles of major figures have always been quite major business in East European publishing, and this lengthy record is a good addition to our literary collections. It is also an eye-catching addition, as the photos show; the cover colour of each volume is even reflected internally in the ink.
Last week, two 19th-century Russian books were brought to me by a Rare Books colleague who had found by chance that they had no record in the online catalogue. An invisible title is a librarian’s (and reader’s) nightmare – without catalogue records, we may as well be without books. Now that these two volumes, lost to readers (except those still dipping into the old physical guard book catalogues) for decades, have been found, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate them in a blog post.
Earlier this year, Sir Charles Chadwyck-Healey spoke about the visual side of the peerless Liberation Collection he has donated to the University Library. This post, however, focuses on an unillustrated book whose interest, certainly for me as a librarian, lies in the identity of the author.
An important part of cataloguing work in the Library is what we call authority work – adding or editing records for people for the master authority file hosted by the Library of Congress. Each record provides a unique main heading for an individual (eg Hugo, Victor, 1802-1885) and cites books where this and other forms of names appear. By using this unique heading in a catalogue record, all works by or about someone will file together in a library index even if the person’s name might appear differently in each separate book (eg V. Hugo).
Many of the books in the Liberation Collection need this authority work. More often than not, a new authority needs to be created. Sometimes the author has a record already but we need to update it to note a different form of the name. On the odd occasion, the book we are looking at is on such a different topic to those cited in the writer’s authority record that without further investigation we might assume that our author is someone different.
The University Library has traditionally suppressed titles from the public catalogue until books have been fully catalogued. This practice was altered some time ago for new Legal Deposit material. From this week, records will also appear for newly received English and European-language bought material. This post explains what readers will see and how they can access these books.
Records for such material will appear in iDiscover and Newton with the legend “Uncatalogued item: Enquire in Reading Room; Received [DD/MM/YYYY]”. “Uncatalogued” here means that what is on display is essentially an order-level record which has not yet been upgraded or approved by one of our trained cataloguers. Here are sample screenshots for a new Italian arrival (click on each image to expand): Continue reading