Keeping track of it all

Index, locate, define, he said, quoting yours truly!  Well, here’s what the ‘locate’ bit entails:-

I’ve created a spreadsheet of all the fiddle books in Charlie Gore’s Scottish Music Index.  I’ve noted which libraries he says they’re in.  And now I’m going through COPAC – the totally brilliant online union catalogue listing everything in British university and national libraries (and those in Dublin).  You’d think this was straightforward enough, wouldn’t you?  Look up a few tunebook titles, and off you go.  Think again, dear reader.

  • Names that Charlie has used as index entry-points, are not necessarily authors.  If they’re publishers or have some not-quite authorial status, they may not be indexed as authors in COPAC.  Searching for such a name in the “author” box yields a big, fat nothing.  Hmm.
  • Similarly, different cataloguers input more or less of a title, many of which include various combinations of the words Collection, Selection, Popular, Favourite, Favorite (yes, you have to search for the right spelling there), Strathspey and Reel, or their plurals.
  • Lastly, if a number is input as a numeral, then searching for the word (eg, 30 or thirty) won’t retrieve anything, and vice versa.

Now, I did a silly thing this morning – I looked at the end of my spreadsheet and discovered I had to search for 285+ different fiddle books.  If I could spend 90 seconds on each one, it would be done in just over a day.  Given the complexities listed above, even someone with my experience of cataloguing is going to require vastly longer than that.  Already, I’ve decided to  check locations, but not attempt to list every shelfmark.

At the end of today, I’m not yet halfway.  I need liquid sustenance – if only to give my eyes a break from the laptop while I fetch the sustenance!  Courage – I’ll get there yet.

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