Now a month into the new year, our new digital projects have begun to take shape again as we look to grow the scope and size of our digital database. Currently we are looking to add a number of new journals into the online digital library platform, APRL Digital. We are in discussions with multiple societies about including their journals and are considering the following for upload into the database: La Posta, Posthorn, Philateli-Graphics, The Bay Phil, Cape & Natal Philatelic Journal, The Magnifying Glass, Airpost Journal, The Third Reich Study Group Bulletin, The Danzig Report and the Post-World War II German Stamps Bulletin.
Figure 1. A wide range of readers access the materials and resources on APRL Digital. We invite you to consider the many benefits your club or organization will reap if you digitize your journal with the APRL.
As was mentioned in the October 2019 issue of The American Philatelist, the American Philatelic Research Library invites clubs or societies to contact the APRL if they are interested in having their journals made available to APS members through the APRL Digital platform (Figure 1). If you haven’t already, we welcome and encourage societies and clubs to consider the possibility of digitizing your journals. In doing so, you will not only provide digital access to your specific content for fellow APS members, but also gain the added benefit of promoting your own organization and publications to a much wider audience. Your organization’s participation will also assist the APRL in its goal of preserving the history of philatelic literature, research and education. If your organization is interested, contact Scott by email or (814) 933-3816 to schedule an evaluation and estimate.
At the close of 2019 and into the first month of 2020, the library has been exploring available alternatives to the existing software currently used for the online catalog, Inmagic Genie. As of this writing, the current software is a legacy version. The APRL is researching and testing possible software options to upgrade and improve the online catalog platform. Marian Mills and Betsy Gamble have been working diligently with vendor and technical support staff to coordinate this upgrade.
Our first goal is to provide easier, more intuitive access to the online library catalog and the library’s vast collections for patrons. The second goal is to improve the library staff’s ability to organize and store resources and in turn better meet the needs of our members and the philatelic research community. Stay tuned for further updates about our online catalog at stamps.org and in the library blog. We look forward to your feedback and comments once the upgrade is fully implemented.
Volunteer Opportunity — Article Indexing
Figure 2. During Volunteer Work Week 2019, we welcomed the help of many volunteers, several of whom worked on article indexes for various journals. Pictured: Joe Sullivan.
One of the most important resources we have here at the APRL are our volunteers, who regularly perform a number of useful and necessary tasks. The day-to-day assistance we receive from volunteers includes the following: mending and repairing used materials in the collection; processing incoming donations for inclusion in the collection or for resale; shelving journals and auction catalogs that come to the library via subscriptions or donations; and any number of other tasks that arise in the library.
One of the less heralded but necessary tasks is one that is performed remotely by a dedicated group of library volunteers: the task of indexing journal articles (Figure 2). Article indexes provide greater access to all of the materials in the APRL collection via the online catalog, especially our journals. As many of you know who have searched the online catalog extensively, one of the options that a patron can choose when narrowing their search is the Record Type “Article.” When you select “Article” as the Record Type (and then select “All Libraries and Indexes” in the pull down menu at the bottom of the Search page), the database will search journal articles that have been indexed into the online catalog, the vast majority of which have been compiled by our volunteer library indexers (Figure 3).
Some of the journals that have been indexed by these dedicated volunteers over the years are American Revenuer, American Stamp Dealer and Collector, BNA Topics, Bulletin of the Polonus Society, Captain Cook, Confederate Philatelist, Geosix, Linn’s Stamp News, Penny Post, Posthorn, Precancel Forum, and Rossica, to name a few (Figure 4). As time has gone on we have lost a few of our volunteer indexers (specifically those for Linn’s Stamp News and American Stamp Dealer and Collector) and would like to invite those who have these and other journals in their own personal collections to help us index articles.
Our volunteer indexers work remotely, at their own pace, and can request training by the APRL staff, specifically our Technical Services Coordinator, on how to properly record and document articles for indexing from these journals. Article indexes greatly expand the scope of the online catalog and open up a research doorway to the 3,000-plus journal titles in the APRL collection.
If you are interested in volunteering your services as an article indexer for the APRL and helping us to increase the accessibility of the library and its resources, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
A Fond Farewell to Betsy Gamble
Our Technical Services Coordinator, Betsy Gamble, who has held the position since 2009 and been with the APRL since 2004, has decided to retire and pursue other interests, such as her music. Betsy came to the APRL as a highly skilled cataloger from Cornell University, where she worked in the Music Library. Her greatest legacy with the APRL will be her dedication to the resources of the APRL and their access and availability. Betsy started in the APRL as a part-time serials cataloger, and progressed over the years to be not only the serials cataloger but the cataloger of every item that comes into the library via donation, subscription or purchase. In essence, she became a one-person cataloging department!
Betsy Gamble served for over a decade as the Technical Services Coordinator in the APRL. She will be much missed after her retirement by APS members and fellow staff.
In her career, Betsy has always enjoyed organizing and making accessible various esoteric and diverse research materials, such as music sheets and audio files while at Cornell, and postal route maps and stamp posters at the APRL. She has been a tireless champion of the APRL. She created volunteer opportunities (such as the article indexers mentioned above) to expand the services and resources of the library, and invited members to feel a sense of community with their philatelic library here in Bellefonte. Her efforts during Volunteer Work Week to train and work with volunteers have greatly benefited the APRL; many of the volunteers who give their time during that week later return to the library to volunteer during the year. Leonard and Darlene Bloom, who volunteer their time with the In-Kind Donations Department, principally credit Betsy’s warm welcome and support when first volunteering here as the reason they decided to return and regularly give of their time to the APS and APRL.
Betsy has been a great assistant in helping current Reference Assistant Marian Mills assume her role as the new Technical Services Coordinator, starting in March 2020. On a personal note, this Library Director can’t say “thank you” enough for all Betsy has done by way of her support, guidance and unflappable patience as he learned his new position. Betsy will be truly missed and we wish all the best to Betsy and her son Jeremy (who has been a regular volunteer and digital projects intern), as she pursues one of her loves in retirement, her music.
Editor's Note: This "The APRL is Growing: Here’s How You Can Get Involved" article is current as of the February 2020 issue of The American Philatelist. APS members can read the full February issue here and discover back issues of the AP.