Archive for the ‘Retro-conversion’ Category

End of an Era

08/06/2012

June 8th 2012 marks the sad end to an era at the Oriental Institute Library as we say goodbye to James Fishwick, who is leaving us for pastures new (and free lunches) at Magdalen College.

James has been working at OIL since April 2009. He was originally employed to help with the retrospective cataloguing of collections not already on SOLO, and has since taken on the mammoth task of the Indian Government Publications (see the rolling stacks in the basement for an idea of scale!).

As well as his general library duties, which have involved manning the issue desk and organising the bookmoves – including the successful amalgamation of the collection from the New Bodleian Reading Room in September 2010 – James has been responsible up to now for this Blog and for the administration of the Library’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

He has also greatly contributed to the social side of the library: the provision of a slow cooker for mulled wine greatly enhanced the last couple of Christmas parties, and his innovative use of old copies of the staff newsletter, Outline, redundant Library Guides and the backing paper from barcodes and label protectors as Christmas decorations in the office will long be remembered.

We wish him every success in his new post at Magdalen, and will miss the cataloguing advice and the cheerful enthusiasm with which he approaches every aspect of his work, but are anticipating that the cake and biscuit supply may go a little further from now on (sorry James!).

Indian Government Publications

05/12/2011

The Indian Institute used to be located at the top of the New Bodleian building, which is now undergoing a major renovation. Because of this, the Indian Institute Government Publications are currently being kept in the Oriental Institute basement, on open shelves where readers can consult them. Whilst they’re here, we’ve been taking the opportunity to make sure they’re all catalogued and on SOLO. Over the past month we’ve had two important developments in the collection:

Some of the Indian Institute Government Publications used to be kept in Nuneham Courtney. These have now joined their fellows in the basement, meaning that all the Government Publications are finally reunited! Also it means that all of the Lok Sabha debates (the details of government debates) are on open shelves – which should be exciting news for scholars of the Indian government.

Also, the cataloguing project has just completed the Geography (shelfmark P) section. This section includes the gazetteers (shelfmark Pa), extensive descriptions of every district in India that are invaluable reference guides. There are now full details of all of these books available on SOLO. The Social Conditions (BB) and Statistics (CC) sections are due to be catalogued next.

Turkish books all in OLIS & SOLO

12/01/2011

Many of our books were originally just listed in the card catalogue, not on the online catalogues OLIS & SOLO. Over the past two years we’ve been changing that, and we’ve now completed over two thirds of the library (almost 29,000 books!) The Turkish Language & Literature (PL) section is the latest to finish being retro-converted by James, and now there’s just the Hebrew (H) collection and a few oddments (the General Reference 000-190 and the Islamic Sciences Q-T) left.

In the Turkish collection there were around 3500 books. Just under 2600 were already on OLIS and over 250 were in Oxford at other locations. Almost 650 were unique to our library so needed to be catalogued from scratch and 20 were in Ottoman Turkish and James couldn’t find a record for them so they need to wait for a specialist to catalogue.

Mark and Lidio have now completed their cataloguing training, so they’re joining James in the project. They’ve begun work on the Islamic Science and General Reference areas, whilst James is diving downstairs to the Hebrew section to try to get as much of that done as possible before his contract runs out in April!

Persian Books Now Catalogued

19/10/2010

Two years ago, many of the books at OIL were not yet on the online catalogue. Then they hired James to do a retro-conversion project and put them all on the catalogue. 

He’s just completed the Persian Language & Literature section. Many of these books haven’t got duplicate copies elsewhere in Oxford, so it was a particularly hard task. There were around 2500 books. Just over 1450 were already on OLIS and 225 were in Oxford at other locations. 725 were unique to our library so needed to be catalogued from scratch and 100 were in Persian and James couldn’t find a record for them so they need to wait for our Persian specialist to catalogue.

We’re approaching the end of the project- there’s just Turkish and Hebrew to go (plus a few random oddments)…

Cataloguing Arabic Literature

28/05/2010

Our retro-conversion project is steaming ahead, getting all the old books onto OLIS so that people don’t have to use the card catalogue! James has now finished the Minor Islamic (Art, Music etc) JC-N and the Arabic Language & Literature PJ sections. There were just less than 4000 books, and almost 3000 were already on OLIS. 600 of the rest were in Oxford at other locations, 200 were unique to our library so needed to be catalogued from scratch and 100 were in Arabic and James couldn’t find a record for them so they need to wait for our Arabic specialist to catalogue.

Now there’s just Persian, Turkish and Hebrew to go (plus a few loose ends)!

Ret-conning History

15/03/2010

Our Islamic History section is now fully catalogued onto OLIS and SOLO (except the vernacular items), and James is steaming on into the Language & Literature sections. Like Islamic Religion, this was a quick section as our marvellous front desk staff had already done most of the work!

Out of almost 5,000 items, only 60 needed to be added to pre-existing records from other libraries and 40 needed entirely new records. 150 are still not finished as they’re in the vernacular.

Cataloguing Continues

12/02/2010

Our retro-conversion project, putting all our catalogue online rather than in the old card indexes, is going well- the Islamic Religion (B-BP) section is now complete.

Of the 4380 items, 1621 had been put on OLIS when they arrived and 2598 were done before James started on the section- mainly by Mark & Lidio. So James had an easy job! He’s added 61 holdings to pre-existing records and created 24 new records. There are now 51 Arabic and Persian vernacular items still uncatalogued, and 25 books that seem to be missing so we’re hunting them down…

James is now heading onwards to Islamic History (D, DS & DT). Hopefully that’ll be similarly quick, as Lidio & Mark have already worked through a lot of it.

Meanwhile, Emma at the Indian Institute is working through the South Asian vernacular items for us- thanks Emma!

Retro-converting South Asia

01/02/2010

The retro-conversion project at OIL is going well, with the South Asian Collection now close to completion. The retro-conversion project is making sure all books in OIL are on OLIS & SOLO- some books bought before 1987 were previously only catalogued in the card catalogue. It’s being done by James Fishwick, a cataloguer employed specially for this task.

The South Asian Collections (with 500s shelfmarks) are mainly about Sanskrit and Prakrit language & literature, with some Pali, Gujerati, Bengali and so on. There are just under 7,000 items.
4,300 of these were already on our online catalogue before James started.
1,500 had copies at other Oxford libraries, so James just had to add holdings for OIL.
Over 800 were not in any other Oxford libraries, so had to have new records made for them or copied from WorldCat.
Finally, almost 300 items in the vernacular have not yet been catalogued, as they’ll require a specialist. Emma Mathieson of the Bodleian’s South Asian collections has said she’ll help us, thankfully!

Now the South Asian collections are finished, James is moving onto Islamic Religion, the BPs. A preliminary survey of the Bs and BLs suggests that these should be considerably quicker to work on- James looked through 984 books in just two days, as only 15 were not already on our electronic catalogue.

Ret-Conning 2

02/10/2009

The retro-conversion project discussed last month has continued well, working through the South Asian Collection (India, Sanskrit, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and so on). So far James has inspected almost 2300 items- most of these were already on the system, but around 300 books have been added. He thinks he’ll be finished there in two more months, so all of the South Asian Collection should be complete by Christmas.

In other news, the building works in the library are now fully completed and painted- hurrah! Hopefully our library is ready to welcome the new students arriving from next week…

Ret-Conning

04/09/2009

One of the main projects currently being worked on at OIL is the retro-conversion project. Since 1987, all books entering the library have been electronically catalogued and put into the main Oxford University catalogue- which can be searched online at the SOLO webpage.

However, our older books haven’t all been catalogued electronically. Some have, but most are only searchable using the card catalogue in the library. This obviously isn’t ideal- in a perfect world, all of the books would be searchable online!

The retro-conversion project aims to do just that. At Easter OIL was joined by a new Senior Library Assistant, James Fishwick, a cataloguer who previously worked for the National Trust. His main job is to conduct the retro-conversion project, and thus open up knowledge of our collection.

He’s now finished most of the work on the so-called ‘Minor Collections’. Downstairs at OIL we hold collections of Syriac, Armenian, Georgian and Ethiopic/Ge’ez that have few rivals in the UK- and now they’re (almost) all catalogued and can be searched for via SOLO.

The Minor Collections consist of just under 3,000 items.
1,300 of these were already on our online catalogue before James started.
1,000 had copies at other Oxford libraries, so James just had to add holdings for OIL.
400 were not in any other Oxford libraries, so had to have new records made for them or copied from WorldCat.
Finally, 173 items in the vernacular have not yet been catalogued, as they’ll require a specialist. There are 3 Ethiopic/Ge’ez, 37 Syriac, 2 Georgian, 127 Armenian, and 4 difficult Russian ones. We think we’ve sorted out cataloguing the Russian items, but if anyone can help James with the other languages he’d be delighted to hear from you- please e-mail james.fishwick at bodley.ox.ac.uk!

Now the Minor Collections are finished, James is moving on to the South Asian collection, our Sanskrit-focussed collection that is kept downstairs alongside the Minor Collections. With around 8,000 books, James has a big task ahead of him…

Shelf removed for cataloguing
Shelf removed for cataloguing