As has been written about in previous library blogs as well as in the Philatelic Literature Review and the American Philatelist, one of the most important and vital resources we have here at the APRL are our volunteers. Our volunteers regularly perform a number of useful and necessary tasks. Among the tasks that assist in the day-to-day operations of the APRL are the mending and repair of used materials in the collection, the processing of incoming donations for inclusion in the collection or for resale, the shelving of journals and auction catalogs that come to the library via subscriptions or donations as well as any number of other tasks as they arise in the library.
One of the less heralded but critical tasks in providing greater access to all of the materials in the APRL collection via the online catalog, especially our journals, is one that is primarily performed remotely by a dedicated group of volunteers, the task of indexing journal articles. As many of you know who have searched the online catalog extensively, one of the Record Type options that a patron can choose when narrowing their search is the Record Type “Article.” When selecting “Article” as the Record Type (and selecting “All Libraries and Indexes” in the pull down menu at the bottom of the Search page) the database will then search journal articles that have been indexed into the online catalog, the vast majority of which have been compiled by our volunteer library indexers.
Some of the journals that have been indexed by these dedicated volunteers over the years are American Revenuer, American Stamp Dealer and Collector, BNA Topics, Bulletin of the Polonus Society, Captain Coqk, Confederate Philatelist, Geosix, Linn’s Stamp News, Penny Post, Posthorn, Precancel Forum, Rossica to name a few. As time has gone on we have lost a few of our volunteer indexers (specifically those for Linn’s Stamp News and American Stamp Dealer and Collector) and would like to invite those that have these and other journals in their own personal collections to help us index the articles in these journals for us.
Our volunteer indexers work remotely at their own pace and can be trained by the APRL staff, specifically our Technical Services Coordinator Betsy Gamble, on how to properly record and document articles for indexing from these journals that will then be entered into the online catalog. The indexing of articles greatly expands the scope of the online catalog and opens up a research doorway to the over 3,000 journal titles in the APRL collection.
If you would like to know more and are interested in becoming a volunteer article indexer for the APRL while helping us to increase the accessibility of the library and its resources, you can contact the library at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.