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Re: How were holdings kept in the old days? (fwd) Max Shenk 09 Jun 2004 13:37 UTC

In the old days, we used clay tablets and cuneiform writing, which was,
needless to say, somewhat ungainly, and we received many complaints from
faculty and students about the smoke that gathered in the periodicals
reading area from the torches we had to use to illuminate the back
issues stacks.

I also had to walk to the library every day uphill in blinding snow.

Thank God for computers!

Max Shenk
Periodicals Assistant
Montgomery County Community College Library
Blue Bell, PA

>>> rd13@MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU 06/07/04 08:52AM >>>
OK Steve -- now you've got 'me' strollin' along that lane...

The "file-type machine" you spoke about for the ISER file (Inactive
Serial Order file) was called the ... Dieboldt (I believe that was how
was spelled; it was pronounced DEE-boldt).

And yes -- you were the quite the lucky guy :-) with your brand new
typewriter -- we in Recording had a manual typewriter -- with a ribbon
(half black and half red) and no correction tape.  We loved that
typewriter though.

As for recording ...
The best strategy was to order your charge of the day's receipts
in rough alphabetical order -- so you didn't have to dance around the
cards as much.
As unbound periodicals were received, they were recorded on 'green'
cards -- there were separate white cards to record the binding event
these unbound issues.
The green cards were gridded off -- had the months printed across the
of the grid -- the main entry was "typed-in" just above that
-- the grid running along the lefthand side was slightly wider for
in the year. The issue number of the receipt (obviously) and the date
recorded in the appropriate box.

There were specially printed cards for monthly receipts -- daily
-- and annual receipts, etc.

If, when recording, it was learned that we didn't receive the previous
issue, you'd xerox the holding card and forward that xerox copy
(pointing out which issue(s) was missing) to the Serial Order
(Acquisition) Dept. for claiming.  Claiming was a greater trick than
recording receipts in "those paper days" -- it relied on the Recording
staff, the Orders staff and the Reading Room staff.

The tools of the trade here were black pens, red pens, and pencils --
slightly toughed fingertips from rifling through the card sets.  I
remember, after my first week or so, wondering why my fingers were so
... dah.

Receipts were recorded in black pen. Any issue reported
missing/lost/stolen after receipt had a diagonal line 'penciled'
the issue number that had been recorded on the card with the
word "lost" (and the date) written in pencil.
When the issue's replacement was received -- the pencilled diagonal
replaced with a red pen diagonal and the date of receipt.

It was a system of markings and colors that triggered clues as to the
nature of the beast in hand -- one glance at the
holdings cards and you knew whether you had a well mannered
periodical in hand or ... trouble.  You had the whole history of
in your hands -- no one could completely 'delete' anything from those
cards.  The ghost of erasures could still be read ... and sometimes
they provided just what you needed to know.

Oh ... I could go on and on ...

Renee Martonik
Serials and Digital Resources Cataloger (former Serial Recorder -- who
loved it so much she just had to have more)
University of Chicago Library

>This thread is definitely taking me down memory lane...My first job
>of library school was as a serials cataloger for a large,
>ARL institution.  It was a great introduction to the profession, I
>say.  However, at that time, serial holdings were maintained on 3x5
>cards in what was called the "Serial Record" -- a series of open,
>waist-high, wooden tables with a bazillion cards interfiled
>alphabetically.  There was also an inactive file kept in an old
>file-type machine whose name I've forgotten (wish I could remember),
>which kept cards in drawers that revolved in much the same way as a
>ferris wheel.  There are SERIALST subscribers from that institution
>are more familiar with this than I am and could no doubt provide
>details.  Up to about 1992, maybe 1993, if there had been a fire or
>other disaster that destroyed that very large collection of 3x5
>the library would have really had a challenge on its hands :-)
>I think it was close to the time I started working there that
>began on converting this information into online form.  Yet we still
>a heavily-paper-based workflow when I began there in 1992.  Part of
>job of serials catalogers at the time was to type up a serial record
>entry card (for recording holdings by hand) as one of the final steps
>cataloging a new title.  There were strict regulations for how to
>these out, and how to file them.  For that reason, every serials
>cataloger had a typewriter on his or her desk as standard equipment.
>can still recall with humor (although it wasn't funny at the time) my
>first day on the job, being told "how lucky I was" that I had been
>a *brand new* electric typewriter.  I was shocked, somehow naively
>expecting that I might have my own desktop PC (which I didn't get
>several years later, btw).  At the same time, as a new UIUC GSLIS
>I was used to using email and desktop PC applications.  At that time,
>seemed that this institution's idea of high tech was an IBM XT
>compatible dumb terminal, and very few people used email.  In the
>year or so of employment, in order to read my email I had to go to a
>student computer lab.
>Things have dramatically changed since then, at that institution and
>elsewhere!  Now, I look back on my experience with a largely
>workflow as a good experience to have had.  When I told students in a
>tech. svcs. course I taught at the Univ. of Illinois last fall about
>experience, it boggled their minds ;-)
>Steve Oberg
>Electronic Resources Librarian &
>   Assistant Professor
>Taylor University
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Carol Morse [mailto:MorsCa@WWC.EDU]
>Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2004 12:52 PM
>Subject: Re: [SERIALST] How were holdings kept in the old days?
>We still produce a printed list, updated every year, several copies
>which are spread around the library. It's quite popular. Sometimes
>faster to look on a list than log onto a catalog. It's not too hard
>revise it, since the files are all saved from year to year. Carol
> >>> otto.sillius@SHERIDANC.ON.CA 6/2/2004 8:47:15 AM >>>
>We produced a "Union List of Periodicals".  It showed title, start
>volume and end date if not currently received.  A copy was kept at
>circulation desk and reference desk.  I also included a Subject Guide
>the holdings.  That was a long time ago....
> >
> > 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?
> >
> > Curious,
> >
> > Steve Black
> > Reference, Serials, and Instruction Librarian
> > The College of Saint Rose
> > 392 Western Avenue
> > Albany, NY 12203-1419
> >
> > (518)458-5494
>Otto Sillius
>Library Technician
>Sheridan College Library
>1430 Trafalgar Road
>Oakville, Ontario  L6H 2L1