Your Humble Servant

TalkBenjamin Franklin's LT Catalog

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Your Humble Servant

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Edited: Jan 21, 2008, 4:34am

I'll start right off by saying I'm not a librarian. Many of the notes in "The Library of Benjamin Franklin" are Greek to me. I'm a Ben Franklin fan and a book lover; that combination sparked my interest in putting Franklin's catalog on LT. Of course, I started with Franklin's own works. With the very first entry, I realized I was in over my head. By the fourth (and last) entry I'd completed, I felt woefully inadequate for the task at hand!

I'm sending a message to the publisher of "The Library of Benjamin Franklin" in an attempt to obtain permission to use as much of the bibliographic information as possible. I'm hopeful that they'll be on board, since they've made the book available on Google Books.

In truth, I'm not sure how much of the information in the book we can legally copy into LT; if someone else knows the legality of the issue, please do comment.

While I set up the Franklin catalog and this group, I truly am your humble servant in this endeavor, and look to act as fellow cataloger and facilitator of the project. Hopefully, individuals more knowledgeable than I concerning legalities and the finer points of book cataloging will find their way here.

Looking forward to working with my fellow bibliophiles and Franklin fans!

Jan 22, 2008, 5:03pm

I would really like to help with this project, but not having done any work on any of the other libraries, I need some guidance on exactly what I would need to do. Can you help me out?

Jan 22, 2008, 8:17pm

As soon as I hear back from the publisher, I will know how much info we will be able to use out of the "official" catalog of Franklin's books.

The work will consist of entering the info from "The Library of Benjamin Franklin" (available on Google Books) into LT, just as you would enter your own books (via lookup in LOC, Yale, and other academically-oriented libraries, not, and tagging. We'll work out a tagging scheme asap.

In the next week (two at the most), I hope we'll be able to begin in earnest.

Jan 22, 2008, 11:50pm

Great! I am looking forward to helping out.

May 2, 2008, 6:52pm

Your humble but not-so-attentive servant apologizes for her prolonged absence from the group!

I'm getting a hard copy of the book on interlibrary loan again, so I can give some serious time to the project.

Anyone have ideas for how we could get more folks involved??

May 2, 2008, 10:06pm

>5 pdxwoman: Anyone have ideas for how we could get more folks involved??

I have some ideas. First, I'd recommend splitting up adding the books and entering the annotations. The annotations are time consuming to enter, but they're also essentially data entry, which means that you don't have to be comfortable searching bib records or (heaven forbid!) doing manual entries.

So. One person finds the book in the LoC or wherever (or enters it manually), adds the tags, and adds the record number in the comment field. Another person looks for books which only have the record number in the comment field, and adds the shelf marks and the rest of the annotation to the comments section. This will be problematic if the annotation people catch up to the bib record people, but it will also allow anyone who's comfortable just transcribing the info to participate.

As for getting more people involved, I think you need to establish a steady pace of work (however slow!) and then just talk about the project in a bunch of different forums. Go to the "I See Dead People" group and add an update every time you finish another 5% or 10% of the library. Find people who have Ben Franklin "favorited" as an author or who own a lot of his books or who've given some of his books a good review and let them know about the project. You don't even have to ask them to volunteer -- just say that you think they'd be interested in the information. If you get enough people interested, some of those people will volunteer.