One of the ways the BPL fulfills the Special Collections principle of the strategic plan and the outcome Special collections will be discoverable by users in buildings and online is through creation of a three-year plan to make items and collections discoverable in the online catalog, including retrospective conversion (the process of converting catalog cards into electronic format) and in-house cataloging.
For many years now, the BPL has been working on the retrospective conversion of items not reflected in the online catalog. Earlier in 2014, the Trustees approved continuing the project for another three years. In addition to the tens of thousands of MARC records (a MARC record is a machine-readable cataloging record) created by a vendor, the Technical Services team also continuously creates records for these older titles and add them into the BPL catalog. Staff work on materials that are being digitized and on special projects. Some of the types of materials worked on include:
- Antislavery pamphlets and manuscript correspondence
- Genealogy materials
- Chap books
- Old cookbooks
- French language rare books.
According to records, the Technical Services team has cataloged 31,583 titles and processed 37,036 items to date. Once Technical Services is done, the Digital Services team digitizes these materials. The process is then completed by inserting the URL to the digital resource into the MARC file so that all these materials are fully discoverable and viewable in the library’s online catalog.