Sunday, April 18, 2010

Digital SGS?

I called a meeting of people interested in SGS's digital future on Wednesday evening. It was a pleasant surprise when a dozen people showed up. They represented a wide range of SGS experience--from 40 years' membership to a newbie. 
My assumption going into this meeting was that we'd discuss and prioritize what SGS publications and papers should be digitally scanned and indexed to make them more available. Much to my surprise, the people attending shifted the discussion to our library and the fact that we don't have a complete, comprehensive, searchable, online catalog. At least for those in attendance, it was quite clear that getting an accurate catalog of our holdings is much more important than scanning and digitizing. So...that's our first priority.
A side topic of this discussion was whether or not SGS should place our library holdings on WorldCat. WorldCat is a global network of library content and services that allows users to identify library holdings across the continent. It's not clear what the costs and benefits would be of joining WorldCat, but certainly it would be a lot of work. You can bet this will be a topic of discussion in the coming year.
I hope to be able to schedule a time to start the library inventory soon. The consensus at the meeting was that we should use our existing Procite database as a starting point, since it's already in a digital format. We know it's not complete, but at least it's a starting point. So, first step is to export that database into a format we can import into a spreadsheet or database program. Then we'll develop an inventory form and schedule one or more work parties. If you'd like to participate, please let me know [sgspresident@gmail.com]. If you've got ideas to share, please click on the Comments link below.

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