As a cataloging librarian, one of the questions I’m often asked about my job is “do you have to read a lot of the book (thesis, script, video…) when you catalog it?” The answer is usually “no” because most published materials have helpful indexes, tables of contents, blurbs, or external reviews to help sort out the subject matter. (Most librarians will tell you that a very long “to read someday” list is an occupational hazard, because we don’t have time to read all the cool things we see every day.) Cataloging unpublished manuscripts is a little different, requiring more skimming and historical detective work (of the type I discussed in a blog post from last year). Last week I cataloged an unpublished manuscript that was entirely hand-written. Deciphering that much handwriting was a first for me, and fascinating!
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