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From the Cataloger’s Desk: How Did You Score? and Rare Book School, Part I

June 5, 2019

Before we dive into a new topic, I’m sure you can’t wait to grade yourself on the following Indiana history questions from last month’s blog post:

1. What towns were the territorial capitals of Indiana? Vincennes (1st); Corydon (2nd)
2. Who was elected Indiana’s first state governor? Jonathan Jennings (In case there’s any confusion, William Henry Harrison was the first territorial governor.)
3. How many counties are there in Indiana? 92
4. The first white explorers in the Northwest Territory found the country south of the Great Lakes inhabited by what tribe of Indians? Potawatomi
5. Who was the first governor of Indiana to be born within the state? Oliver P. Morton
6. When and where was the first college in Indiana founded? Vincennes, 1806
7. What was the first road constructed north and south across the state? East and west? Michigan Road; National Road
8. Which county is the largest in area? Allen County
9. What is the official Indiana state flower? Peony (Fun fact: At the time the school books I blogged about were published, it was zinnia.)

I’d love to know how you scored. Hopefully, much better than I did!

Moving right along, I’m taking a slightly different approach to this month’s blog post. Instead of highlighting a newly cataloged printed item, I would like to tell you about an exciting journey I’m about to take. In a couple of weeks, I’m off to Rare Book School at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Rare Book School provides librarians, academics, booksellers, collectors, conservators and bibliophiles of all backgrounds the opportunity to learn and grow professionally through various course offerings and programs.

Last year, I was awarded the Rare Book School Directors’ Scholarship, and earlier this year, I was accepted to the Rare Book Cataloging course. This is an intensive, one-week summer session that focuses on the principles of Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Books). It’s aimed at professional catalogers, like me, who work with old, rare and valuable printed materials in special collections libraries. Students are taught by experts in the field – in my case, the senior cataloger at the Folger Shakespeare Library. In addition to what we learn in the classroom, there are opportunities to attend outside lectures and programs throughout the week. Since multiple courses are offered at the same time, it should also be an excellent opportunity to meet other people from diverse institutions far and wide.

My goal is to learn as much as possible, then put that knowledge to good use when I return. I want to ensure that our catalog records meet the highest standards possible. If I can enhance them by incorporating some of the principles taught at Rare Book School, then this experience will have been well worth it. And in the end, better catalog records should make your experience as a patron/researcher smoother, easier and much more positive overall.

Be on the lookout for next month’s blog post, where I’ll share details of my trip, as well as some photos of my experiences!

Lindsay Borman is the cataloger of Printed Collections at the Indiana Historical Society. Her claim to fame: She can name all of the U.S. presidents ... in order!

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