The UCLA Library has received a generous $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to catalog more than 55,000 rare books and make them more accessible to users. "It will promote learning, research and the creation of new knowledge by greatly improving online access to information about our rare and unique books, which will make them more visible and useful to scholars both at UCLA and around the world," said University Librarian Gary E. Strong.
(Media-Newswire.com) - The UCLA Library has received a generous $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to catalog more than 55,000 rare books and make them more accessible to users. "It will promote learning, research and the creation of new knowledge by greatly improving online access to information about our rare and unique books, which will make them more visible and useful to scholars both at UCLA and around the world," said University Librarian Gary E. Strong. "We are deeply grateful to the Mellon Foundation for this generous grant."
The project will involve two concurrent efforts focused on rare books in the Charles E. Young Research Library Department of Special Collections, one of the leading collections of its kind in the country.
One effort will create online catalog records for some 25,000 items in a variety of languages and subjects that currently have no online record. Many of them were acquired before UCLA holdings went online in 1977.
The other effort will address a cataloging backlog involving more than 30,000 items acquired since 1977. This will enhance the existing online records to include more complete bibliographic information.
The catalog records will be loaded into the UCLA Library Catalog ( catalog.library.ucla.edu ) and also into the national database OCLC/WorldCat. This will make them discoverable by Internet users worldwide.
The project funded by the current Mellon grant is part of a larger effort the UCLA Library is making to address the widespread problem of "hidden collections." Research libraries across the country have extensive backlogs of rare books, manuscripts and archives, and it is a major challenge to find staff and funding necessary to catalog and process these materials.
The Library previously created the Center for Primary Research and Training in 2004 and the Center for Primary Research and Training Plus in 2007, which was also funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation. Through these programs UCLA graduate students receive training in archival methods to organize and describe unprocessed archival collections in their areas of interest. This makes the collections more accessible to all users and gives students experience with primary source materials. It also provides opportunities to identify possible topics for student theses or dissertations.
About the UCLA Library: Ranked among the top 10 research libraries in the U.S., the UCLA Library system is a campuswide network of libraries serving programs of study and research in many fields. Its collections encompass more than eight million volumes as well as archives, audiovisual materials, corporate reports, government publications, microforms, technical reports and other scholarly resources. Nearly 80,000 serial titles are received regularly. The UCLA Library also provides access to a growing collection of digital resources, including reference works, electronic journals and other full-text titles and images.
The Charles E. Young Research Library Department of Special Collections administers the UCLA Library's rare and unique materials in the humanities, social sciences and visual arts. Among its 333,000 rare books are the Ahmanson-Murphy Aldine Collection, Michael Sadleir Collection of 19th-Century British Fiction, Children's Book Collection, Elmer Belt Library of Vinciana and Nitka Collection of Fantastic Fiction. The department also has extensive holdings of historical and contemporary Californiana, modern fine press printing, fine bindings and artists' books.
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