We are very happy to have added our library catalogue records to Copac. Copac is what librarians call a ‘union catalogue’, which is a type of mega-catalogue unifying holdings information for a number of different libraries. This means that instead of searching a host of library catalogues separately, you can do one search in Copac, and it will tell you which research libraries have the book you need.
Copac covers most of the major research libraries in the UK and Ireland, serving as a ‘one stop shop’ for around 90 academic, national and specialist research libraries. It is great for small libraries like ours to be on Copac, as people who might not think to search our catalogue can still find our records via Copac. And it is useful not just for finding where books are, but also for checking bibliographic information where something may be in doubt (such as title or author, or for anonymous or pseudonymous works).
|A selection of classic works from the RAS Library and their re-issues in the Cambridge Library Collection Perspectives from the Royal Asiatic Society series|
Many books in our collection are rare or even unique in libraries in the British Isles. Just as it does today, the RAS played an important role as a nexus for international scholarly communication in the nineteenth century. One reflection of this was that scholars from all over Europe and Asia sent works in a huge variety of languages for review in our journal, or to be added to our library. Many such works otherwise did not find their way into British libraries. We hope that becoming part of Copac helps more people to discover the riches of our collection.
However, just because something is not listed on Copac, or even on our own library catalogue, does not mean we do not have it. We still have some way to go before all our books are catalogued. We have catalogued virtually all of our pre-1800 books, and most of our books printed after the 1930s. But most of our books date from the intervening period, and it is those books that we are working through now. So far, we are up to shelfmark number 40 in our standard-size book sequence. The shelfmarks go up to 187, and we expect it will be a few years until all our standard-format books are catalogued. After that, we will still have our ‘oversize’ (extra-large) books to catalogue, as well as thousands of pamphlets! So there remains some way to go. But we are happy to be making good progress and glad that as we go on, everything we catalogue will be added to Copac as well as our own catalogue.
|This afternoon’s books waiting to be catalogued!|
If you have any queries about books in our collection, please contact the Librarian via firstname.lastname@example.org.