“Research is the path we take, when the journey is yet unknown.” – Hugh Holland
As we turn the page on the accomplishments of 2022 and look forward to the opportunities in 2023, we look back on what the year brought in terms of achievements in the library.
The most significant of these was with the Robert A. Mason Digital Library (RMDL). When the year started, as part of our Phase I Digitization Plan – which commenced on March 1 and included 51 journals for which we obtained publication permissions – we set out with the conservative goal of uploading 25 journal issues a week, approximately 1,100 issues for the year.
By choosing to start the project with journals already in digital form, and through the dedication and efforts of digital assistants Betsy Gamble and Geoff Hobart, we have surpassed those initial goals, working at a current pace of 61 journal issues uploaded per week, with more than 2,350 issues added since March 1, comprising roughly 254,460 pages. This brings the total number of journal issues in the database to approximately 5,300 issues, a 44 percent increase since March 1. But there is still more to do.
In 2023, we want to continue the progress we have made and expand our efforts, moving into Phase II of the project.
With this in mind, in the new year we are looking to add another part-time digital assistant to our digitization team as well as employing a full-time digital librarian. The former will give us the opportunity to increase our ability to upload the existing digital files into the database, while the latter will oversee the project and be involved with site customization, patron utilization, vendor relations and continued project productivity.
We will also begin processing those journals for which we have permission but are not in digital form by looking into scanning options (in-house vs. outsourcing) for the project. As new developments happen we will keep our readers informed both here and on the APS website.
PLANS TO EXPAND OUTREACH
In 2023, we will also be exploring opportunities to better educate and reach out to users of the RMDL and the David Straight Memorial Philatelic Union Catalog.
Coming in early 2023, the library will host a virtual “Ask Me Anything” session open to all, in which attendees will be given the opportunity in an open forum to ask us anything about the library, its collection and services.
Also, in the coming months we will create and post more video tutorials on the new APS website focusing on how to make use of our services in the library as well as instructions designed to assist patrons in making the best use of the digital library and union catalog for their research needs.
At the APRL we accept the challenge that many patrons would prefer to do their own research and also want to be able to do that research remotely, at their own convenience. In 2023 and beyond, we want to make that process more accessible and seamless for those that make use of the library through avenues such as the digital library and the union catalog.
Check the library page of the new website in the coming year for those instructional tutorials. We welcome any thoughts or ideas that you may have for topics you would like to see. Stay tuned.
Word of thanks
Finally, as with the close of each year there often comes change, so too as 2022 becomes 2023 I would like to take the opportunity to express my sincere thanks for the support and continued leadership to all who have served on the APRL Board of Trustees in 2022 and during my time in this position.
I especially want to thank past APRL president Ken Grant for his encouragement and vision in helping myself and the library staff as we endeavor to meet and exceed the expectations of our members and our library patrons.
With Ken’s leadership and the unfailing support of APRL board members, the library staff has been able to tackle the challenges of the past year and in turn has maximized the opportunities that were given us through the dedication and commitment to the APRL and the APS of every board member.
I look forward to working with new APRL president Melanie Rogers and welcome all of the new and continuing board members as we work together to continue the growth and accessibility of the APRL for both our library patrons and the worldwide philatelic community.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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