As some of you may have already noticed when skimming over the table of contents for this first issue of 2022, there is a regular feature of the journal that is no longer present. Moving forward, the “APRL New Acquisitions” section is being repurposed and will find a new home on the APS website. The regular column was a bibliographic listing by subject of the new materials that were received and have been cataloged in the APRL collections each quarter.
With this move we hope to share this column that compiles the new resources of the APRL with an even wider audience of readers. Under the title of “APRL New Resources,” readers can now find on a monthly basis a compilation of the materials that have been recently received and cataloged into the collection. The website has proven to be a very effective conduit for letting our members and readers know of this information and other library news in a more accessible and timelier basis.
As mentioned in the last issue of 2021, this journal is undergoing some welcome changes under the leadership of Editor-in-Chief Susanna Mills in order to engage our readers more and to provide the type of content our readers have suggested they would like to see in its pages. The move of the new acquisitions column allows us to devote more space for articles on the resources and research of the hobby.
We hope that you will find the new content in the journal of more interest and also will be able to enjoy the sections that we have now repurposed to the website. We welcome any of your comments and questions about the new and previous content in order to help us grow and diversify the journal.
Your Support Grows the APRL
Speaking of new acquisitions, the library staff would like to thank all those who have reached out and continue to reach out regarding stamp catalog suggestions either through donations or for purchase. The January “Stamp Catalog” issue of The American Philatelist included information regarding the holdings of the APRL, specifically those catalogs the library held or were missing. Readers reached out both with copies to donate or information regarding where to purchase some of the more specialized catalogs mentioned in the January issue.
We continue to invite readers to contact us or send in suggestions for materials or new publications that they would like to see as part of the APRL collection. The library staff is constantly on the lookout for new materials as they are published for inclusion into the collection as well as areas where the collection may be missing items of philatelic importance. We strive to provide for our members and philatelic researchers the most comprehensive and resource-full collection for all of their research interests and needs. Feel free to contact the library with your suggestions at email@example.com in order to assist us in growing the scope of the APRL and its resources.
As the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to wind down and funding sources for the Phase I Digitization Plan are now secured, we are beginning the first phase of growing the Robert A. Mason Digital Library, hoping to double its size to more than 1.3 million pages by the end of 2022. As mentioned previously we have purchased three new workstations (computers with the necessary upload and processing capabilities) for the project as well three additional licenses for the ContentDM Project Client software that we use for optical character recognition (OCR), quality control, to create metadata and upload each journal issue for proper entry into the digital library.
We also have hired two part-time staff members (i.e. digital projects assistants) who will substantially accelerate our ability to upload new material into the database. Our target goal is to upload and make accessible 25 new journal issues per week, resulting in an additional 600,000-plus pages added to the database in 2022.
We will be processing and uploading journals in the order in which we were granted publishing permissions. In order to expedite the process we will be starting with journals that are already in digital form only.
Once we have established a regular procedure, we will also begin to include those journals currently in paper form only, and staff will scan the necessary pages to prepare them for upload. On a quarterly basis, both here in this column and on the APS website, we will provide reports documenting our progress and identify those steps that have gone well and those areas that we need to improve for efficiency.
We currently have 51 journals for which we have received permissions, which totals (roughly) 19,688 individual journal issues to be scanned and/or uploaded, comprising roughly 735,586 pages. It takes about two to three hours to scan and upload the average journal of 30 pages. However, if the journal is already digital, it takes about one to two hours to completely upload, with OCR and metadata creation and processing taking the majority of that time.
As always, your questions and comments about our digitization efforts are always welcome and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.