CRL Cataloging and Metadata Update

Four cataloging projects--the Foreign Doctoral Dissertations, Turkish, Russian popular journals and the National Archives and Records Administration microfilm—underscore the eclectic nature of CRL’s holdings and highlight how the Center is processing collections as a whole and responding to members’ feedback and evaluations.

Non-U.S. Dissertations

The Foreign Doctoral Dissertations collection consists of approximately 800,000 titles. Since January 2002 when the Center received a Mellon grant to begin cataloging the dissertations as a collection, over 70,000 have been cataloged. The basic catalog record includes essential bibliographic description—title, author, date of creation or publication, pagination, and institution granting the degree. In OCLC’s WorldCat, all fields can be searched with a keyword search. In the Center’s OPAC, author and title are the access points. For the first 50,000 dissertations cataloged this year, English subject keywords were added as an additional access point.

In August the dissertation staff began reviewing the records for errors, evaluating the quality of the subject headings and evaluating the workflow of the project. Adding English keywords to the records was identified as an important part of the cataloging in the 2001 Collections Assessment Task Force report. Project staff found that providing this type of indexing demands a high level of language expertise and an ability to evaluate the specifics of the subject covered in each dissertation cataloged. If students cataloging assistants have proven language proficiency, they add keywords to the records. We are researching a variety of options for adding keyword access to all records and will develop a workflow for indexing before the next phase of the project begins.

Modern Turkish Publications

Given the heightened interest in the Islamic World, Turkish language items were identified in the unprocessed material and organized for cataloging in two groups—modern and Ottoman Turkish. The Center has completed cataloging items in modern Turkish and has begun working on the Ottoman Turkish. The addition of these works brings the total of modern Turkish language holdings at the Center to more than 700 items. The collection includes dictionaries, almanacs, government documents, dissertations and general works covering politics, law, contemporary society, religious thought, and the arts.

According to graduate students from the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department at the University of Chicago, who helped catalog this collection, political works in this collection reflect the evolution from one-party system to multi-party democracy and demonstrate involvement of disparate political ideologies. Social works highlight various aspects of twentieth-century life in Turkey including religious issues, rites and customs, social conditions, and law. Historical and cultural works focus on the development of national identity in the new Turkish Republic and chronicle urban and rural life. The arts include original modern Turkish language plays and novels as well as translations of popular books from Europe and America and Persian, Arabic, Ottoman and European classics published in modern Turkish.

Russian Popular Journals

The Center holds over 600 titles of popular Russian journals. Approximately 300 of those have been cataloged or the holdings of existing records updated since March. The collection covers the 1950s to the early 1980s; the holdings of individual titles vary within that time frame. Topics vary according to the subject scope of the title, but generally cover issues relating to family, health, work, technology, agriculture, women’s social issues, popular science, art, literature and society. Many of these journals, covering the last decades of the Soviet regime, are illustrated with photographs and drawings, many in color. A significant number of journals in the collection frequently deal with Russian politics and political figures in a humorous way with cartoons and jokes.

National Archives And Records Administration Microfilms

The microfilm sets of the records of the National Archives and Records Administrations were identified as a cataloging priority in response to the recommendations of the participants of the Historian’s Conference held by the Center last spring. The Center holds both complete sets and partial sets. Since July, the cataloging of the Center’s holdings of M series of publications has been completed and catalogers are on schedule to finish the T series of publications by the beginning of 2003. An additional series statement is being added to each of the records to make it possible for patrons to do a title search of the M or T number itself. The series statement will appear, for example, as NARA M300, but patrons will only have to do Words in title search of the series letter and number, for example, M300, to find the record of the set they need.

Amy Wood