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Revisiting Records Revisited: Cataloging The Morton J. Savada Collection at Syracuse University

First names (author1): 
Surname (author 1): 
Syracuse University Libraries
Other authors: 
Jennifer Vaughn
Presentation type: 
spoken paper
27 Sept Sunday
Start time: 
1 700
Belvedere 2

In 2008, the collection of Morton J. Savada, which includes over 200,000 10- and 12-inch 78 RPM records as well as a handful of lacquer discs, a card catalog, and other papers, was donated to the Syracuse University Libraries. Despite a 2009 grant that resulted in the cataloging of several hundred discs within the Decca and Columbia labels, the collection has remained largely inaccessible. Beginning in the Spring of 2014, the Belfer Audio Archive staff along with the Libraries’ Cataloging Department began a project for the archival processing and catalog description of the collection.
The collection came to Syracuse in 1,300 moving boxes with records arranged by performer and title. The collection was housed in an off-site facility with no processing space. The inventory was minimal. In addition to the lack of informational control, many of the discs needed attention. Most needed to be rehoused, some needed evaluation for repair, and some were broken by the move from New York City to Syracuse. Student workers were trained in hands-on processing of shellac and poly-vinyl phonorecords as well as organizational methodologies such as re-ordering, re-sleeving, and re-shelving.
For the description portion of the project, we created an in-house metadata dictionary and a FileMaker Pro database for our graduate students and interns, who had no prior cataloging experience. The metadata dictionary guided them in searching WorldCat for pre-existing bib records as well as transcribing information following basic ISBD and MARC conventions. All core data elements discernible from the disc labels were recorded, including title statements, label names and numbers, and creators and performers. Additional archival information like condition, take numbers, and number of copies was also collected. The FileMaker Pro database was utilized in multiple ways. The descriptive data were transformed into approximately 600 MARC records for inclusion in SU Libraries’ local ILS, and over 700 OCLC records were identified to which SU can add its holdings symbol and import to its local ILS. The database also provides the Belfer with a more complete inventory, enabling more informed decisions on the care and future use of the Savada collection.
By the end of eight weeks (160 hours), approximately 1% (1,389 discs) of the collection had been processed and cataloged. We will discuss challenges faced and lessons learned as we continue to refine the project, as well as how we are considering employing these collaborative processes and workflows for other commercial and archival recordings held at the Belfer Audio Archive.