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Re: How were holdings kept in the old days? Horn, Marguerite 02 Jun 2004 16:07 UTC

[Tales from 30 years ago at Brown University!]

We had a holdings list which was separately maintained and produced in
paper and microfiche once a year (real dynamic, yes!) The paper product
and fiche would be located in various areas around the library...

In the Periodicals Reading Room, where the kardex for the "main" library
was, there was a rolodex which contained information about only those
items in the periodicals reading room -- many patrons thought it was the
whole shebang (and came in YEARS later, wondering where the [imagine
someone rolling their arms around] thing was)

For staff, individual issues were noted on a Kardex -- we had one in the
"main" library; one in the Sciences Library; one in the Special
Collections Library -- all mail would come to the "main" library, be
checked in there and then checked in again at the remote destination.
When volumes were bound, they went to serials cataloging where they were
posted on a shelf list.  The public had access to this specific
information only during regular business hours (and only with staff
intervention) ... sometimes a Reference Librarian might venture back to
pry into the secret recesses of our data storage systems!

we also for a while kept the card catalog up-to-date with penciled in
holdings (and a system of "traveling cards" whereby we had duplicates of
each main entry stored in a separate file in serials cataloging -- the
student would pencil in a new holdings statement on one of the set in
the back room and then go out and switch it in the public catalog).
These penciled holdings reflected BOUND volumes and so therefore led to
much confusion about whether we had current issues (there was a stamp
which said "Current issues in Periodicals Reading Room) ... We had these
traveling cards for the remote sites also; so said student would trot
off to these places a couple times a week.  Needless to say, I put up
with this for just a few years of my tenure and then killed the
traveling card  system -- we killed that with the agreement that the
holdings list would come out more frequently with better information in
it (which is, indeed, what happened)

Maggie Horn


Marguerite E. "Maggie" Horn
Library Systems Implementation Specialist
Office of Library & Information Services
System Administration
State University Plaza
Albany, NY 12246
voice: 518 443-5564
fax: 518 443-5358


-----Original Message-----
From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2004 11:19 AM
Subject: [SERIALST] How were holdings kept in the old days?

Back when libraries still had card catalogs, and even before word
processing, how were periodicals holdings lists kept? Were there
annotations on the cards in the catalog? Was the Kardex kept near
reference? Some other method?


Steve Black
Reference, Serials, and Instruction Librarian
The College of Saint Rose
392 Western Avenue
Albany, NY 12203-1419