“As analog creatures the digital world closes the tenuous gap between our dreams and our possibilities.”- Margaret Atwood
Grow Your Library and Support the APRL
As 2021 draws to a close, we are slowly opening up again in the philatelic world. Here at the APS, the library is now open to all (although masks are still required) and we are also starting to enjoy more and more of the familiar experiences that are an integral part of the hobby such as stamp shows. A few months ago I was able to attend a couple of stamp shows, The Philatelic Show in Boxborough, Massachusetts and Indypex in Indianapolis. While there I was able to once again meet with APS members and recruit some prospective members.
While attending both of the aforementioned shows, I took the opportunity for the first time to bring along some of the used philatelic literature that we normally only sell in the library or through the online catalog. Along with a sign at the APS booth that read “Make an Offer,” I was able to sell 90% of the books that I brought to the shows with all of the proceeds going directly back to the APRL. Both of these experiences once again highlighted not only the generosity of our members and those who support the library, but also demonstrated a continuing interest by collectors in the research and resources which inform the hobby.
But you don’t need to go to a stamp show in order to support the library and purchase items from our used books inventory. With a few simple clicks on your computer you can access all of the items we have for sale. Just go to the David Straight Memorial Philatelic Union Catalog homepage: http://1549.sydneyplus.com/final/Portal.aspx and click on the “Used Books for Sale” tab near the top to see all the items we currently have for sale.
Once on the “Used Books for Sale” page, add the items you wish to purchase to your “Bookbag” by placing a check mark in the box to the left of each item. When you are finished, click on the link “Save to Bookbag” at the top of the page. Submit your request to the library and that’s it. Library volunteer Karen Robbins regularly adds new material to the used book inventor,y so check back each week.
Filling in the Gaps
Speaking of the generosity of APS members and patrons, the library staff would like to thank everyone who heeded the call in the September column about replacing books in the APRL collection that have either gone missing or of which we no longer have copies. The response to the request was overwhelming. We heard from so many of you and were able to replace a vast majority of items on our list. With this success in mind, we plan to repeat this call periodically in upcoming columns as the need arises for further replacement copies.
Trenchard Donation Progress
Many of you have contacted us about the progress of the Trenchard donation given to us by Dr. Herbert Trenchard, past APS Historian, earlier in the year. The processing of the donation continues as we sort through and inventory both Dr. Trenchard’s vast philatelic literature collection and his collection of philatelic material. In order to continue the process in an efficient and timely manner, in addition to part-time work being done by Betsy Gamble on the project, we have added Marian Mills, APRL Technical Services Manager, and library volunteers Kitty Wunderly and Bill Monsell to the project.
Marian will work in tandem with Betsy, cataloguing the needed material into the online philatelic union catalog, while Kitty and Bill assist with the sorting and organizing of the material as they unpack the over 600 boxes. To date we have completed roughly 90 of the boxes and added many new auction catalogs and journal issues to the APRL collection.
The Digital World
Finally, many of our readers have also asked about the progress of the library’s digitization efforts through the Robert Mason Digital Library. As has been mentioned here previously, we have obtained permissions for 51 journals, 13 books and 305 exhibits to add to the database. We are now beginning the first phase of digitization by tackling this backlog of material. Since the journals represent the largest portion of content currently available and provide the greatest research value for users of the Digital Library, we have decided to proceed with these first. About half of the 51 journals are already partially or completely in digital form.
We will begin the process of working through the backlog of materials by uploading these digital journals files into the database first. For this initial phase of uploading we will be hiring two part-time Digital Projects Assistants (DPAs), purchasing three workstations devoted solely to uploading digital files into the Digital Library and in conjunction will also be purchasing three ContentDM site licenses (i.e. the platform software used for the Digital Library) for these new workstations.
We have already begun our search for the two DPAs. Following their software training we will commence the task of uploading the backlog of digital material in January 2022. In addition we will conduct quarterly progress assessments in order to evaluate our methods and progress. You can expect quarterly updates on the website and here in this column. In 2022 we will endeavor to grow the Digital Library significantly in order to meet the remote research needs of our members and researchers.