The RPSL is embarking on a program of partnerships with other philatelic institutions to share data, and the APRL is one of its first partners. Eventually the partnership will lead to an exchange of bibliographic data, and we have already taken some exciting steps, including access to the RPSL catalog for APRL patrons.
The RPSL has signed a statement of intent to join the Philatelic Union Catalog. Once initial testing is complete, we will load the RPSL library catalog data into the union catalog where it will be searchable. The union catalog has been international for several months now, since the addition of the Harry Sutherland Philatelic Library at the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation, but the RPSL will be the first library outside North America in the union catalog. While this does not mean that RPSL library books will necessarily be available to researchers here, we believe that the addition of many titles not currently represented in the union catalog will benefit the philatelic research community.
We are also going to send the RPSL data from the union catalog to load into their database, so that RPSL library users can search the holdings of the union catalog member libraries. This two-way exchange of data will help researchers all over the world learn more about philatelic literature.
The RPSL has provided APRL library patrons with member access to its catalog. The RPSL online catalog includes much more than library holdings – for example, auction catalogs, journal indexes, and the entire run of the London Philatelist. Patrons using one of the public computers in the APRL can now enjoy the equivalent of member access to the catalog. (Sorry, this service is not available remotely.)
Frank Walton from the RPSL joined the Philatelic Librarians Roundtable by teleconference last week, and we had a lively discussion, including steps to take to further increase international cooperation.