At 10:00am I met Wendy Wasman at the Harold T. Clark library at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. This wasn’t my first time in the library (I had taken a workshop with Wendy a few months prior), but I feel compelled to remark on the swank decor: The reading area feels like an airport lounge circa 1972, which, coming from me, is a compliment. Wendy had just returned from SLA and had some catching up to do before our conversation, so I got straight to work.
I began by visiting the shelves and estimating the number of botanical books by counting shelves containing QE 9XX or QK. The library collection consists of all 12 natural sciences (unlike the other collections, which specialize in botany, gardening, herbs, and/or horticulture), and as a result, it will be necessary to describe its specializations. I later learned that a significant portion of botanical books are located elsewhere in the building where they are convenient for the museum’s botanical researchers; I was able to count these titles by consulting a card file.
I already knew that unique to this library is its extensive periodical holdings. I began compiling a list of relevant journals and the years held. The library’s OPAC has yet to be completed, and the periodicals are not yet included. Rather than go into unnecessary detail, I decided to only list the journal title, year of the earliest holding, and the year of the most recent holding (when the title is still received, this is “present”). On the final list, I will indicate that there may be gaps in holdings, and that the librarian should be contacted for more detail. To compile the list, I worked from a shelf list printed in 2005. When the title was in a language other than English (and was not obviously relevant, e.g. Acta Botanica), I used Google Translate; when a journal’s subject matter was ambiguous based on the title, I either consulted the shelf or WorldCat. For many titles, the holdings were not listed in the shelf list; in these cases, I consulted the shelf. Before we even sat down to talk, I knew this library would demand the most time.
We sat down to discuss the consortium at around 11:00am. Ms Wasman conveyed no shortage of enthusiasm; despite her part time status, she expressed a willingness to be very involved in consortial activities production of content for the website. By participating in the consortium, she sees the individual libraries as being able to limit redundancy in collection development, which she pointed out is a way of sharing the financial burden—if one library carries a certain journal, for example, the other libraries may not feel the need to purchase the same subscription and so on. She also described the benefit of increased awareness and enhanced visibility. Collectively, the consortium will be able to accomplish things the individual participants could never accomplish alone (and in some cases would not be permitted to accomplish). She also sees great potential for obtaining project grants. Having just returned from SLA, she shared a number of examples where consortia had obtained funding for projects such as scanning rare books.
I described Tuesday’s meetings, and she agreed that hosting the site through Case might be less than desirable, providing the same reasons described before. We talked about the website and various possibilities for jointly produced content. Wendy already writes a blog, and seems eager to expand her repertoire of content.
After our meeting, I spent the remainder of the day working on the aforementioned list of periodicals.
Onsite hours today: 7
Onsite hours to date: 25.5