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THE new year opens auspiciously, after an old year in which considerable progress has been made, although it has not been epoch-making in any sense. The public documents bill," after many years," at last passed Congress, and almost simultaneously came the first fruits of the agitation regarding public documents in Mr. Ames' valuable "Index of government publications, 1889-93." The conclusion of the Crerar case increased the opportunities of Chicago to become the library capital, and it will doubtless give impetus to bequests for libraries, which, though numerous during 1894, were not of great note. The new building of the Boston Public Library was completed, and the quarters of the Massachusetts State Library made ready in the new portion of the State House, so that both of these important libraries are in process of removal. The Adirondack conference proved a pleasant and gratifying success, and the work of the several library associations and clubs shows steady growth in interest and usefulness. The State Library of New York has developed usefully its scheme of travelling libraries, and largely through its radiating influence library legislation has taken a new start in more than one state. The year marked one great loss in the death of Dr. Poole, who, 20 years ago, shared with Prof. Winsor and Mr. Cutter the honor of being one of the foremost three of American librarians. There have been other losses by death of valued co-workers, but it is pleasant to recall that in the life of the Association, now of nearly 20 years, there have been so few withdrawals by the hand of death.
perienced man like Dr. Ames placed at the head of the new bureau, the libraries will have more than they could have dared to hope. We have held back this number of the JOURNAL to include the distinctive features of the new law, and we advise librarians to go through them carefully, with reference to the needs and opportunities of their respective libraries. Mr. Ames' new index, for which he has invited the friendly criticism of the library profession, gives a foretaste of the usefulness of government documents under a proper system of indexing. It has been pleasant to note how cordially librarians have come to the support of Mr. Ames by commending him from all parts of the country to the public printer, Mr. Benedict, as the proper appointee to the new office.
A step backward has unfortunately been taken in New Hampshire, where Mr. A. R. Kimball has been removed from the State Library, to make way for a successor, who is appointed probably for political reasons. In the present state of public opinion as to public service, and in the present development of the library profession, this removal is doubly a disgrace to New Hampshire. Mr. Kimball has been foremost among state librarians in his work of arranging state documents, cataloging them adequately, and thus making them serviceable to the people of his state, and we have every reason to believe that in other respects he has been a capable and efficient servant of the public. Miss Ahern, of Indiana, is also, we learn, a victim of the spoils system, the political changes of the last election having resulted in an onslaught of 65 applicants for her position, which the
THE public documents bill, known in Wash-state administration was not stalwart enough to ington as the printing bill, did not reach the President till the beginning of the year, and it became law by his signature on January 12. It marks a great step forward in the publication, arrangement, and distribution of public documents, although it does not fully meet the desires of librarians at all points. If, however, the government printing office, with which the new bureau is to be associated, can be put under civil service regulations, and a capable and ex
withstand. It is ridiculous, and worse, that the business of a state library, which demands above all things executive capacity and professional experience, should be made a football for politicians, and we trust that the day is not far off when the governor of any American state who permits himself to be made the pliant tool of politicians seeking such an office, will feel ashamed to look his fellow-citizens in the face.
Two things were very noteworthy at the recent librarians' gathering in this city. First, the immense new hope for all things good that has been born in New Yorkers, whether in city or state, of the late triumph of righteousness in municipal affairs. Second, the prevalence and strength in library directors, librarians and teachers, of that view and sense of their work which is commonly called the "missionary spirit," a name better than the more philosophical one "altruism," because it more fully suggests the self-sacrificing devotion with which these workers are laboring for the moral as well as intellectual good of the people. We may all "Thank God, and take courage."
THE Newberry Library has begun the new year with an experiment which should prove of general interest to librarians, and especially to catalogers. With the advent of Mr. Cheney as librarian the Rudolph indexer has been adopted as the general, if not the only, means of cataloging and making public the contents of the library. The trustees have not stopped at half measures, but are entirely reorganizing the cataloging department on this basis. The library possesses three card catalogs: one for the staff, author only, complete to date; a second for the public, full dictionary, comprising about 70,000 volumes; and a third, also public, intended to be distributed among the departments, a typewritten duplicate of the second, nearly completed. Of these it is proposed to abandon the two public ones, after utilizing them as far as possible for the indexer, which will be in the future the only public catalog. By this substitution it is expected that the staff of 10 catalogers can be reduced to two or three, with no diminution in the quantity or quality of the work done.
SINCE the introduction of the indexer, some three years since, into the San Francisco Public Library, only three catalogers besides the head of the department have been employed; but the accessions to that library have averaged only about 6000 a year, of which probably 70 per cent. were fiction. The Newberry Library, on the other hand, contains in its catalog titles in Greek, Hebrew, Gothic, and other alphabets either entirely different or having some letters different from the keyboard of the commercial typewriter, and many of these titles demand from the cataloger much research and fulness of description. Under these circumstances the success of the new experiment seems fairly question
able; it will certainly be watched with interest by all who desire to reduce the expense of libraries. If the Newberry, under the management of Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rudolph, succeeds in cataloging from 12,000 to 20,000 volumes of scientific and rare books a year, with three catalogers, as is now attempted, the Rudolph indexer will have proved its claim to the sanguine predictions which accompanied its advent, and which, so far, have not been fully realized. It is yet to be seen, since the Rudolph indexer is really a means of displaying the catalog and not an artificial cataloger, whether live, alert, well-informed catalogers may not be as necessary as before ; but if successive explosions in other libraries dislodge them from their particular branch of the profession, their training in that no longer necessary art will nevertheless give them good standing in other branches of the library pro
LIST OF BOOKS IN WOMAN'S BUILDING,
As I have received several inquiries, will you list of books by women, on exhibition at the kindly state in the LIBRARY JOURNAL that the Woman's Building at the World's Fair, can be procured by any library, gratis, by applying to the Board of Lady Managers of the W. C. E., 701 Masonic Temple, Chicago.
EDITH E. Clarke.
SHALL A LIBRARIAN AID PERSONAL
THE Mercantile Library of St. Louis has posted the following
"The librarian will not identify coins; nor estimate values of old books, manuscripts, curios, etc.; nor give special assistance to those engaged in genealogical research, or other matters of merely personal or pecuniary interest."
I would be glad to see a little symposium on the proper interpretation of the last phrase of his way to help Civis put money in his purse, or this rule. How far should a librarian go out of to secure to Civis Femina a membership in the Daughters of the Revolution? HORACE KEPHART.
S MERCANTILE LIBRARY,
St. Louis, Mo.
MAY I take it for granted that the interest of American librarians in librarianship is extended enough to include foreign libraries, even those where English is not spoken? If I may, I shall take the next step for granted, and presume that the interest in foreign libraries includes an interest in their librarians, some of whom I am fortunately able to introduce in this way, across the
seas, to my American colleagues. While my leave of absence was not for study, but for rest and recreation, it is not easy for a librarian to forget utterly his calling, and as soon as the first ardor of sight-seeing is over, I find my thoughts turning to libraries, and my curiosity aroused as to their methods.
It was not until I came to Florence that I found this curiosity entirely comprehensible to those of whom I asked my questions. When I had been shown most politely the incunabula, the mss., the ancient bindings, and had received the freedom of the reading and reference rooms, with permission to draw books during my stay, there was apt to be a pause which seemed to say, What more can we do? And the difficulty of making known my rather unusual wants, in one or another foreign tongue, seemed almost insufferable. But at Florence, all was understood at once. The libraries there partake of the general atmosphere, which is distinctly a modern one. There were more students, and there were more readers, than in any libraries I had before seen. At the Biblioteca Nazionale there were periodicals to be read as well as studied, our own popular magazines being among them, and at the Marucelliana, a Hammond typewriter, the LIBRARY JOURNAL, and Signora Sacconi-Ricci's invention of a temporary binder, all bespoke the modern spirit.
At the latter library I was made at once to feel at home, and within a half hour after my entrance was discussing shelving problems with Cavaliere Bruschi, the librarian, who had had a number of shelves made of the dimensions recommended by Mr. William F. Poole, and was anxious to know if they looked like the American
Signor Bruschi has translated the cataloging rules of Professor Karl Dziatzko into Italian, as many of you doubtless know, in addition to other scholarly work.
At 11, her usual hour (think of it, eighthour librarians!), Signora Sacconi-Ricci, the assistant librarian, arrived, having come in from Fiesole, where she and her family were still summering. Signora Ricci is a charming woman as well as a scholarly one, and contrives to drive well abreast her house and library concerns. Her 18-months-old boy she pronounces her chef-d'œuvre, and I regretted very much that owing to his being in the country I could see only his photograph. Her book on Swiss, Austrian, and German libraries was written partly from notes taken when on her wedding journey in those countries, several years ago. Her invention of a binder for shelf-list sheets has been described in our library periodicals, and is a very convenient device.
After an hour or two spent in asking and answering questions, and in glancing over the September number of the LIBRARY JOURNAL, which had just arrived, I took my leave, promising myself the pleasure of another visit. There was very little need to inquire into the regulations of the library, since these are the same for all government libraries in Italy.
Twice afterward I found myself in the sunny
reading-room, where I found always a cordial welcome.
One afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting at the home of Signor and Signora Ricci several friends of theirs, of whom two were ladies occupied at the Biblioteca Nazionale, one the author of several books that have been translated into French and German, one a graduate of the University of Florence (for women are admitted to the Italian universities on equal terms with men), etc. The librarian of the Maṛucelliana was also of the company. Much interest was manifested in the work of librarians in the United States, and particularly of women librarians. Before separating, the young ladies from the Biblioteca Nazionale, Signorine Castaldo and Castellano, kindly offered to accompany me through that great library the following evening, an offer which I was glad to accept.
There are about 80 rooms in the library, which occupies three palaces, and although we did not go through all of them, I saw enough to impress me with the extent of the collection, which is said to consist of more than 600,000 volumes. Signorina Castaldo has charge of the periodicals, and is beginning to classify them by the Dewey system, she tells me.
The statistics of the government libraries of Italy are doubtless in many of our American libraries, as a complete report was made last year to the Minister of Public Instruction, to be printed and sent to the Columbian exposition; so I shall not attempt to go into a description here of their work or methods. The object of this letter was chiefly to make known the thoroughly modern interest in library affairs in Florence, and to vivify to some extent the names of Florentine librarians whom we have known hitherto by reputation only.
MARY W. PLUMMER.
TECHNICAL COLLECTIONS IN PUBLIC LIBRARIES.*
By Clement W. Andrews, Librarian Mass. Institute of Technology.
IF what I have to say on this subject shall prove to be of any value, it will be due largely to the fact that I have been given not one, but a number of texts on which to speak, indicating the questions and points on which advice or information may be useful. On the other hand, it may be that I shall in a measure be justly accused of carrying coals to Newcastle, for I can consider the question only in an academic fashion, never having known the actual workings of a public library.
In the first place, I hope that I may be allowed to give a broad scope to the subject, and include in my treatment "scientific" as well as "technical" collections, or, in the Dewey dialect, "include all the 500s as well as the 600s, and a good part of the 700s." Indeed it would be hard to separate them. To pass over such obvious connections as exist between pure and applied chemistry, pure and applied electricity, and many others, the library which extended its holdings in engineering without reference to those in mathematics, or in mining without reference to geology, or in sanitary engineering without reference to biology, would certainly fail of symmetrical development and the highest usefulness.
It is well before deciding to start on such an undertaking to see what is before one. You may not all realize some of the difficulties in the way.
I. The first, and perhaps the most appalling, is the large number of books to be acquired before a satisfactory result is obtained. In fact, neither the Institute of Technology library, with 21,000 volumes on science and the arts, nor the Boston Public Library, with 42,000 (exclusive of medical books), is anything but a partial and very unevenly developed collection. The Scientific Library of the U. S. Patent Office, with 50,000 volumes, may be a better representative, though this I cannot say positively. Columbia College and Cornell University have fine collections on these subjects, but also unevenly developed.
Moreover, the number of volumes which must be added each year, in order to keep the collection up to date, is large and is increasing. If the Institute, adding 2400 volumes a year, does not get all that it would like in the fields which
* Read before the Massachusetts Library Club, at Boston, Dec. 14, 1894,
it tries to cover, it is certain that the other libraries mentioned cannot be doing so, since their additions in these lines are decidedly smaller. There are several reasons why these large numbers are necessary :
1. Because of the more minute subdivision which is going on. For instance, books on chemical technology are now rarely published, not even in the larger divisions of the subject, such as dyeing, while in their place comes a crowd of works on bleaching, mordanting, wool dyeing, artificial dyes, nay, even on the individual dyes.
2. Because of the many and long sets of periodicals, which to the investigator often measure the value of the library. I doubt if the possibilities in this line are generally known. When the current catalog of German periodicals alone gives 179 on the natural sciences, 337 on the various branches of technology, and 73 on engineering, it is evident that the oppor. tunities for judicious selection are large, and the necessity pressing. It would be wrong, however, to leave you with the impression that scientific and technical men are much greater sinners in this matter than others, for the same catalog shows nearly 400 religious journals, and a total of more than 2900. We meet here, however, the same tendency to specialization as in the treatises. A curious and striking example of this is that while a Zeitschrift für Chemie was published in the 60's, no journal of that title is now published, while we have in its place: Zeitschrift für analytische Chemie, Zeitschrift für angewandte Chemie, Zeitschrift für unorganische Chemie, Zeitschrift für physikalische Chemie, Zeitschrift für physiologische Chemie.
3. The immense number of dissertations and other pamphlets published. Some, perhaps most, of their contents are published in one or another periodical, yet we have often found their fulness of detail of great value in repeating the work, or undertaking work on similar lines. The extent to which librarians can go in this direction is well shown by an offer recently made to the Institute of a collection of 20,000 dissertations on chemistry and allied subjects, and also by the fact that Fock's list of German dissertations for 1893-94, confessedly incomplete, still numbers 750 in the sciences and
4. The large number of maps, photographs,
and plans required in an architectural or engi- that subject. On the other hand, it would seem neering library.
doubtful if the largest public library would be justified in undertaking to thoroughly cover all branches, unless especially endowed for that purpose.
If a library is to do anything in the line suggested, it is evident that the first, and indeed the great question, is what to buy and what not to buy.
5. The frequent editions of standard works often amounting to new books. In one case, that of Beilstein's "Handbuch der Organischen Chemie," a new edition has been begun as soon as the former was finished, so that every library pretending to completeness in chemistry has been receiving it nearly continuously for 14 years. Another curious case is Ganot's "Physics." The Physical library of the Institute has the sixth edition, and all editions from the ninth to the 13th. One would say that we were fairly well off so far as that book is concerned, yet we had a call one day for either the seventh or eighth, I forget which, and neither the sixth or ninth would satisfy.
II. A second difficulty lies in the relatively greater expensiveness of the books as compared with those in general literature. This is, of course, well known to librarians. A comparison of the figures for the A. L. A. library with my own shows a close agreement on an excess of about 50%; that is, it will take $150 to buy the same number of scientific and technical books as $100 will buy in general literature.
III. A third difficulty is that some of the most valuable works are not "in the trade." This, however, is not peculiar to technical works, nor perhaps as common as in some other lines. IV. A very large proportion of the valuable works are in other languages than English. It would be interesting to show how this proportion varies with the subject, German predominating in the sciences, French in architecture, etc., but the data are not at hand. By the college or university librarian this fact is hardly taken into account in the purchases, but to a public librarian or to the average trustee it must seem of importance.
With a full consideration of these difficulties, it is for each librarian or his board to decide whether the conditions of the library warrant the attempt to make such collections, and to what extent.
Speaking generally, it would seem that a public library of fair size could well undertake to give the students in its constituency the means of finding out what has been done and is being done in all the most important lines of human activity, and, further, that a library serving a community largely interested in a single branch of industry-as, for instance, Lowell is interested in the textile industries- should, if possible, attempt to make a full collection on
If the object is to offer a fair and satisfactory record of progress in each line of work, and not the collection of the complete literature, I venture to suggest that especial attention should be given to the selection of at least one good comprehensive periodical for each subject, choosing that which gives the most complete review of the subject in preference to one giving only original papers. In this connection it is well to bear in mind the annual reports which are now published on so many subjects, which, while not often literature themselves, often give a more complete and less biassed account of it than the treatises. Another line of collections of value as compared with the cost, is among the societies' publications. They are not expensive, and give usually very good opportunities for judging the rate of acceptance of new methods, devices, and theories among practical men. On the other hand, trade journals—except the local ones— may be passed by.
If, however, the object of the library is to make a great collection, the question of selection remains fully as difficult of solution. It is easy enough to say, "Buy all there is on the subjct," but it would be almost impossible to do it, and, if it were done, a great deal of money would be wasted. The object to be sought is to buy all of value that can be obtained.
As to the method of selection, that used at the Institute, which is in many respects that of college and university libraries in general, may furnish some hints to public libraries. Its chief points are as follows:
First, the selection from the current trade lists and other sources, of all the titles of new books and periodicals at all likely to be of value to the Institute.
Second, the reference to the professors of all the titles in their respective lines, and the purchase of all approved by them, as well as all others asked for by them, up to the limit of their appropriations, which are fixed by the corporation of the Institute.
Third, the submission to them of all books sent out by our agents on approval," This