Sunday, October 23, 2011

Things Come in Pieces

We just got in some human anatomy models that some of the students requested. Now we have to figure out how to catalog them and organize them so that people can check them out.

I'm more concerned about the second problem than the first.

For the first part, well, if I can't find the precise models we have in OCLC, no matter--someone will have cataloged something similar, and I'll copy it. There's no plagiarism in cataloging! Just adopting (and adapting) the good practices of others.

But these things come apart into all kinds of small pieces, and so thinking of checking them out is like imagining checking out jigsaw puzzles.

What do you do if they come back with pieces missing? You can't really have someone behind the desk checking every one, but if one person loses a crucial lobe of the brain, that model is going to be less useful to the next person. It's a resource that you can imagine becoming rapidly less valuable to everyone as it's checked out repeatedly.

We once refused someone's request to order a pack of flash cards because we thought that cards would just get lost, so you see we have trust issues. These students are lucky we ordered these models at all. They'll be even luckier if we actually let them use the models, and don't just put them on a shelf for decoration.

I guess this second part isn't really my problem, though. We have a circulation department that can worry about circulation. So lucky me, the harder of the two questions isn't one I have to answer! I love it when that happens.

Just give me the body parts and I'll get them in the catalog somehow.

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