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Asian Art Library: Comparative Perspectives Min Xu Associate Museum Librarian, Metropolitan Museum of Art Yue Shu Chinese Librarian, Smithsonian Institution.

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Presentation on theme: "Asian Art Library: Comparative Perspectives Min Xu Associate Museum Librarian, Metropolitan Museum of Art Yue Shu Chinese Librarian, Smithsonian Institution."— Presentation transcript:

1 Asian Art Library: Comparative Perspectives Min Xu Associate Museum Librarian, Metropolitan Museum of Art Yue Shu Chinese Librarian, Smithsonian Institution Committee of Chinese Materials Council on East Asian Libraries Annual Meeting March 25, 2010, Philadelphia, PA

2 Thomas J. Watson Library Metropolitan Museum of Art Freer/Sackler Library Smithsonian Institution

3 Solutions: Find cost-effective ways to acquire and process materials Make efficient use of the limited staff resources Challenges: - Staff reduction - Cuts in funding

4 We Will Cover Contemporary Catalogs Project (CCP) Shelf-Ready Project Volunteer Program Watson Library (Met) Freer Library Depository program In-house cataloging Volunteer Program

5 The Thomas J. Watson Library is the central research library of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

6 Watson Library Asian section (CJK) Staff: 1 full time and 1 part time Responsibilities: Acquisition Cataloging Reference Finance Gift processing Instruction Other library activities

7 Contemporary Catalogs Project (CCP) Established in 2003 by chief librarian Ken Soehner Initiative: contact galleries to receive quality exhibition catalogs as donations to the Library

8 Contemporary Catalogs Project : Expanded and formed the CCP Team Staff with different language skills Expand globally Received about 800 catalogs in 2009 On mailing lists of galleries

9 CCP : Asian section Contacted 85 galleries in –Beijing –Shanghai –Hong Kong –Taipei Received about 350 catalogs in 2009

10 CCP - A Success Free gifts Expanded collection Saved budget Continue to grow –Japanese galleries –Korean galleries

11 Shelf-Ready Project Why shelf-ready? More cataloging work -Regular purchasing -CCP and other gifts -Auction catalogs Staff shortage Cost-effective Started shelf-ready service in 2008 Now covers approx. 1/3 of Chinese materials

12 Shelf-Ready Project Workflow: Select books online Vendor provides brief MARC, upload to system Generate orders & send to vendor Vendor provides full MARC when books are shipped Receive - match with record - shelve

13 Shelf-Ready Project Benefits: Saved staff time No backlog Cost effective Concerns: Initial problem solving More correspondence Cataloging quality

14 Volunteers Program Asian section volunteers / 3 hours per week

15 Volunteers: What They Do Preorder searching Processing orders Receiving books CCP project Some copy cataloging Help in original cataloging

16 Where to Find Volunteers Museum volunteer program Library school (advertize on library school list) Recommendation by colleagues and current volunteers Candidates: Retirees Library school students Housewives

17 Volunteer Program Some problems: High turnover rate Training and supervising take time Scheduling & dependability Challenges of learning new technology

18 Volunteer Program How to solve the problems: Screening - you have the right to choose Minimum one year requirement Tasks that require more training assigned only to long-term volunteers Utilize individual strengths

19 For the Library Gain free service Save staff time Create better work environment Bring new ideas and technology Volunteer Program: Mutual benefits For the Volunteer Gain experience & skills Networking opportunities Professional references Free admission at many museums and museum store discount

20 Volunteer Program: How to keep good volunteers Good relationship is crucial Respect Recognition Flexibility Caring

21 Strong and Collaborative Team Volunteers perform many routine tasks Staff have more time for other projects More library instruction and outreach Better service to users CJK Team CJK Team

22 Freer Gallery of Art Library

23

24 Introduction of the Freer Gallery of Art Library Founded in 1923, one of the best Asian art libraries in the world; Over 80,000 volumes; 4 full-time librarians; Slowed down by budgetary cuts; Needs innovative ways to deliver quality service and improve.

25 Japanese Art Catalog Project (JAC Project) –NCC and Japan Association for Cultural Exchange since 1995; –The only US depository library for catalogs of exhibitions of Japanese art, including a small percentage of Chinese and Asian art; –Annual averaging 360 titles. Japanese Art Catalog Project (JAC Project) –NCC and Japan Association for Cultural Exchange since 1995; –The only US depository library for catalogs of exhibitions of Japanese art, including a small percentage of Chinese and Asian art; –Annual averaging 360 titles.

26

27 Benefits: –Free; –Available via ILL to all; –Prestige; –Comprehensive.

28 With no need for outsourcing our cataloging practice, we are still doing the old fashioned in-house cataloging by our own staff performing: –Original –Copy cataloging –Authority work

29 Pros –No extra training; –No extra reviewing; –In house expertise with subject headings; –Better quality control.

30 Cons –Heavy workload on solo cataloger; –Slow pace creates backlog.

31 Volunteer Program Source: –Retired American Chinese (all walks of life, but all have a passion for Chinese art); –Expatriates wives ; –Library school or college interns; –America born Chinese high school students. Source: –Retired American Chinese (all walks of life, but all have a passion for Chinese art); –Expatriates wives ; –Library school or college interns; –America born Chinese high school students.

32 Volunteer Program

33 Work: –Pre-order searching; –Input Chinese characters into order records; –Labeling; –Annual renewal checking; –Indexing using the homegrown database and experiment; –Preliminary searching in OCLC. Work: –Pre-order searching; –Input Chinese characters into order records; –Labeling; –Annual renewal checking; –Indexing using the homegrown database and experiment; –Preliminary searching in OCLC.

34 Volunteer Program Advantages: –Free, passionate with art and art related work; –Native speakers, minimum language training; –Devoted to work, even with their advanced age, and long commute, they seldom miss their work.

35 Comparisons: Gift/Exchange Contemporary Catalogs Project (Met) Intensive soliciting efforts, free Expansion of the collection Home grown project, part of a parent library team effort Depository Programs (Freer) Non-soliciting, free Expansion of the collection Organized by two organizations and financially supported by a third party

36 Outsourcing vs. In-House Cataloging Met Shelf-Ready Project Freer in-house practice Pros –No fundamental change in librarians daily work –No record reviewing, not worry about books getting lost, in house subject expertise Pros –Reduce cataloging workload for staff –Leave staff more time to do other projects –Cost effective –No backlog

37 Met Shelf-Ready Project Freer in-house practice Outsourcing vs. In-House Cataloging Cons –Time spent on quality control –Frequent initial correspondence Cons –Heavy workload for solo cataloger –Slow pace creates backlog

38 Comparisons: Volunteer Program Met Freer Volunteer help all year around More library school students Screening Perform more tasks More volunteer help in summer More retirees More high school interns

39 Conclusion To overcome the current financial difficulty, wed like to recommend the following strategies: Maximize global partnerships – Increase acquisition of free materials. Explore alternative practices for cataloging –Weigh pros and cons with respect to the specific situation of each library. Develop volunteer programs to help with routine library operation –Screening and good relationships are the keys to the success of the volunteer programs.

40 Thank you!


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