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Saturday, December 1, 2012

How to Catalog Building Stories

Since I posted here about receiving our copy of Building Stories by Chris Ware, I have had a few people contact me for info on how we finally cataloged the "book."

I have replied to a few people via email with pictures but then realized that there are probably others out there who haven't emailed me but are just as interested.  So today, I will share those pictures and explain what we have done.

We treated the item much like we would a kit in our youth department.  This was decided on after the Head of RA, Circulation Supervisor, and a processing clerk met to discuss the best options.  They key here was that we wanted to use a standard that was already in place in our cataloging system.  This meant no new templates needed to be created AND the circ staff would already be familiar with the procedure needed to check this item in since it was the same as an already in place procedure.

Also, since the book is unconventional and difficult to circulate, it is important to involve multiple staff members from the various departments in the conversation, as we did.  Many, more old fashioned, librarians may feel like the chance that a piece of the item will go missing makes it not worth circulating at all.

YOU HAVE TO RESIST THIS ATTITUDE!  If a piece goes missing, here is what we plan to do. [By the way, this is the second most popular question I get about this title.] We will ILL another copy (or use my personal copy) and make the best photocopy we can of the the missing piece.  We will mark the piece as a reproduction so patrons know.  However, if we get to the point where we have more reproductions than original items, we will consider replacing it.

So that is my first advice when cataloging Building Stories.  But no matter what I say we did, you should start from an established procedure/template already in place at your library.  This will make the entire process easier.

Now on to the pictures and nitty gritty details.


We put the label on the cover of the box, as seen in this picture, alerting the circ staff that parts will need to be checked.

Next, as you can see in the picture below the same information -- that the item contains 14 parts and that the circulation clerk must check-- is on the inside of the box lid.  The inside of the lid also contains the barcode and pocket.  Then on the right, you can see that each piece is labelled in black marker, in the top right corner of the cover of each piece, "1 of 14," "2 of 14, etc....  We decided not to individually barcode each item for two reasons.  1, this is not how we handle kits and for all the reasons I already listed above, we wanted to use a pre-existing standard. 2, we realized that would take the staff much more time than simply counting; we didn't want to make it more difficult.


We will offer full ILL rights on this item which means we will send it anywhere in the system for a 3 week loan; however, we are considering buying a pouch to send it out on the ILL trucks in.  At the least it needs a rubber band. [This is the 3rd most popular question I have received about this book.]

I hope this helps.  If you still have questions, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment.  Either works just fine.  If I receive enough of the same questions, I will put up another post.

By the way, at the time I am writing this post, Building Stories is sold out on Amazon.  Libraries need to get those copies on the shelf.

I just finished my personal copy of the book yesterday and will have a review up next week.  But as a teaser I will tell you, it really is as great as everyone says it is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this post. I have had Building Stories on my desk for 10 days. I was waiting for it to go away by itself! We like your numbering plan. We are thinking we won't ILL it though, due to the lack of a suitable container in our consortium courier system. Our copy is the only circulating one in our system so far (80+ libraries, 1 owns it "for library use only")