#LibrariesWeek: Cataloguing, Classification, and Critical Librarianship at Cambridge University

Typographic image with the Libraries Week logo, page title, and the cover of Narrative Expansions: Interpreting Decolonisation in Academic Libraries.

This year’s Libraries Week, the annual showcase of what the UK’s libraries have to offer, is centered around the theme of Taking Action, Changing Lives, with the aim of “highlighting the diverse ways that [libraries] take action with and for their community and make a positive impact on people’s lives; to showcase their central role in the community as a driver for inclusion, sustainability, social mobility and community cohesion”. 

Within this initiative is featured the upcoming Facet publication Narrative expansions: interpreting decolonisation in academic libraries, edited by Jess Crilly and Regina Everitt. The book “explores what is specific to colonial contexts that has impacted knowledge production, how these impacts are still circulating in our libraries, and what we can do about it.” 

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Cataloguing in 20/21

This post is a celebration of the extraordinary cataloguing work of the Collections and Academic Liaison department over such a difficult year.  More than 21,000 individual new records for printed books and ebooks have entered the catalogue through our efforts, not including records added for the titles contained in ebook packages (these are added en masse through a cataloguing process called bulk import). Continue reading

Uncovering Official Publications

Some of the OP class catalogues.

One of the rare bright notes of the lockdowns has been the chance to embark on projects that we would otherwise have struggled to find time to do.  Chief among these has been our department’s retrospective conversion cataloguing of some Official Publications (OP) material.  The collection contains governmental publications from around the world, and the lion’s share of this enormous collection can be tracked down only through the subject-led OP card catalogue in the Rare Books Reading Room. Continue reading

An update on print operations

In a post in September, I described the temporary procedures we had introduced to get as many new books into the catalogue and available to readers as possible following so many months away.  We have made huge progress, passing hundreds upon hundreds of titles into iDiscover while upgrading their catalogue records where possible from home.

Since we got back into the building, we have for example put the following numbers of titles for our largest languages alone into the borrowable C3-figure and non-borrowable S3-figure classes:

  • French: 320 borrowable titles, 38 non-borrowable
  • German: 291 borrowable titles, 25 non-borrowable
  • Italian: 452 borrowable titles, 51 non-borrowable
  • Spanish: 415 borrowable titles, 40 non-borrowable

Working together with our colleagues in the English Cataloguing department (they have concentrated on Legal Deposit intake, we have focused on bought books), we have also put 1457 English titles into C3-figures and 171 into S3-figures.

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An assortment of new books

Mel Bach recently wrote about our processes for dealing with newly unpacked printed books. I am one of the small number of CAL staff who have resumed some work in the UL building and have been privileged to sit at my desk in South Wing 1 for a couple of days a week since early September. During this time I have handled a few hundred books and I must say it has been a joy to actually touch physical books again. I hadn’t realised how much I had missed this while working exclusively from home during lockdown.

My cataloguing work usually centres predominantly on material in German, Dutch and Scandinavian. I was pleased to see that some relevant Dutch titles on race, ordered in June to supplement titles referred to in my post on Dutch titles on race and decolonisation, had already arrived: Continue reading