Health Sciences Collection Librarian Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, Virginia
Background: Over the last century, the cataloging migrations of the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Science’s print collection have resulted in an incomplete inventory of holdings, currently estimated to include over 450,000 items. Facing a move in the next several years, the health sciences collection team realized that it needed to update the catalog in preparation for items being moved or withdrawn. A move preparation working group was convened with members from four different departments to develop plans for and oversee the initial implementation of this project.
Description: It was determined that a pilot project for processing the library’s dental journal titles -- which are part of a print retention program -- would be a useful starting point for establishing a workflow that could be applied to the rest of the library’s journal collection, and for determining the project's feasibility at current staff levels. A workgroup comprised of collection development, serials, cataloging, and preservation librarians and staff collaborated on producing a workflow for the dental journal titles. To maximize sharing, a Google Sheet was used to log the time spent, findings, and specific activities completed for the pilot. Following cataloging training, preservation analysis, and journal vacuuming, the linking of this collection started in mid-September 2019 and was mostly completed by December 2019. Approximately 42% of items were unlinked, and 73% of holdings needed to be revised. A manageable number of items were identified as requiring preservation attention.
Conclusion: Although some work is still in progress for the pilot project, a ballpark assessment indicates that it would be beneficial to move forward with linking the rest of the library’s journal titles for further analysis. Due to the success in planning and executing the pilot, the workflow for the rest of the journal collection is anticipated to remain largely unchanged, with the exception of transitioning a majority of the linking process to the health sciences library’s on-site staff, who will continue to work closely with serials and cataloging staff to ensure proper processing. In several months, the workgroup will conduct a follow-up evaluation of the project.