How to Find Books You Can’t Read

Japanese book and Japanese dictionary

In my last post, I briefly explained the differences between two types of bookbinding. Interestingly, both object books that I chose needed a little catalog record TLC. The first, an anonymous journal from the first voyage of Captain Cook, simply needed to be linked to its twin elsewhere in the collection. The second, however, required investigation. You see, no one on the current library staff reads Japanese. Newer books come complete with ISBNs and standard modern publication data, making them nearly effortless to match to existing records despite the language barrier. So how do you track down a book whose information is not only in an old-fashioned format but printed in a language (and writing system) you don’t understand?

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A Day in the Life of a Manuscript Processor at the Phillips Library

Orders from Elias Hasket Derby for Stephen Phillips, Jr., master of the ship Eliza for Bilboa, July 9,1794

The Phillips Library provides access for scholars and researchers to a remarkable collection of unique and rare materials.  Its patrons are curators and staff of the Peabody Essex Museum, scholars and researchers from around the world, local historians, and general readers.  The library collects printed materials and manuscripts related to the major collection areas of the museum, and it builds on traditional strengths developed over more than two centuries of collecting.

Many people are curious about what a manuscript processor or archivist in an art museum library does. Let’s start with what a manuscript is. Read more

Making Progress

Making Progress - Backstage ProjectPeople have been asking us at the Phillips Library what has been happening in the library this past year.  I will tell you that there has been a lot of activity behind the scenes.

As most of you know we had been preparing the collections for a move to a temporary facility to allow our building to be renovated.   Inventory of all collections has been completed.  Library collections that have not been cataloged are cataloged.  All our collections that are card cataloged in the reading room are being converted to MARC format and currently being added into our online catalog, PHILCAT.  And last month we moved the entire collection into our temporary facility.

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