CLIR Hidden Collections Program Symposium

Jennifer and I will attend the CLIR Hidden Collections Program Symposium in Washington, D.C., March 29-30.  The program looks good, promising to provide speakers, and break-out sessions in which we’ll get to hear how others have or will be managing their grant-funded projects for hidden collections.  Obviously, we’ll have a chance to share our own plan and experiences thus-far.  I’m looking forward to seeing what kinds of collections other institutions are processing.  For the symposium, we’ve created a poster representing the French pamphlet project — it’s a fun motif that resembles in type, illustration and layout many of the pamphlet’s we’re working on.  Kudos to Jennifer for the idea.  Jennifer and I will also be presenting a session entitled:  Parlez-vous français?  Finding and training subject specialists to catalog 18th century French pamphlets, describing our experience in hiring Project Cataloging Assistants, the use of the wiki in training and communication, among other aspects of the project.

Below find our abstract for the presentation:

Parlez-vous français? Finding and training subject specialists to
catalog 18th century French pamphlets

The Newberry Library has a 2009 grant to catalog four French pamphlet
collections, most from the period of the French Revolution. Cataloging
Assistants will create 22,000 item-level, MARC records that provide
sufficient detail for research, adhere to recognized bibliographic
standards, and will be web-accessible and sustainable.

The Cataloging Assistants must have a fluent reading knowledge of
French and be able to work with 18th century, political documents that
may have idiosyncratic spelling, grammar and vocabulary. Some of the
Cataloging Assistants will have little or no library cataloging
experience but must quickly learn to use Connexion and MARC format if
we are to meet production goals.

Several University Libraries have successfully implemented this model
of hiring subject and language specialists to do rapid, hidden
collections cataloging but it will be new for the Newberry. As an
independent research library, the Newberry has no formal connection
with the graduate programs from which we hope to find Cataloging
Assistants and as a small technical services department this grant
will double the size of our cataloging staff.

Jennifer Thom and Eric Nygren will share their experiences,
observations and anxieties in getting this ambitious project up and

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