By March 2022, 95% of the Library’s collections will be visible on Catalyst. This is up from 75% at the end of 2017, and sees the conclusion of the Library's retrospective cataloguing project, which started in the late 1990s. At that time, it was estimated that 25% of titles were effectively ‘hidden’ as they were acquired prior to 1950 and had not yet been added to Catalyst. The only way to find these titles was by searching the Guard Books, or serendipitously searching the Library shelves. The project to catalogue these items has been ongoing ever since. 

In 2018-2019 partial information about 120,000 titles was made available on Catalyst. These records were imported from an external database and whilst the quality was good, it was not as good as the standard of cataloguing normally produced by the Library Bibliographic Services team. They were made available in their unedited state so that they could be found on Catalyst, with a ‘health warning’ about the quality of the record. 

This left approximately 15,000 titles for which there were no records, other than those found in the Guard Books. During the 2020 lockdowns, Library staff listed these titles and their publishing information onto Excel spreadsheets, which were then uploaded onto the Library Management System to create brief records. They remained suppressed (I.e. invisible) in Catalyst until 2021 when a team of Project Cataloguers, funded by the Tom Stoppard Innovation Fund (TSIF) started looking for the physical items on the shelves. They then matched the items with the brief records and made them available via Catalyst. This process was completed by the end of March 2022, therefore bringing to a close a project which has been going for over 20 years. 

There remains 5% of the Library collections which are not yet available via Catalyst, and work will continue during 2022 and 2023 to make these discoverable. This includes making the records of some of the rarer library items that are held in our library closed access stores more readily available, which is currently ongoing – again supported by the TSIF. Additionally, the majority of around 45,000 individual pamphlets which are bound into 2171 volumes, still need to be catalogued. 

April 2022