Card Catalogers, early in the process.

Card Catalogers, early in the process.

Catalog of Collections Converting to Digital

Conversion has begun at the Moravian Music Foundation, but we are not talking about a religious conversion — rather a conversion from catalog records on paper, to completely digital online records in a new web-based searchable catalog.

Barbara Strauss and David Blum, catalogers for this project, started working on two tracks — working on the Research Library and working on the manuscript collections from the vaults.

As David works his way through the Research Library collection, he is integrating the books from the Moravian Music Foundation with the books from the Moravian Archive, Southern Province, into one collection, ordered by Library of Congress call numbers.  Each volume, however, retains a mark for the Archives or the Foundation.  David has found some real gems, which Nola Knouse will explore at one of the lunch lectures in the next year.

Barbara is working with staff from Backstage Library Works in Provo, Utah, as they convert the catalog records for the manuscripts.  This is a high-tech, high-touch job.  Catalog cards (or the book catalogs) are scanned; software recognizes the letters and makes them into words; other software converts them into a coded catalog record; catalogers in Provo enhance the basic records to create a consistent record with all the Moravian and musical points of identity; records are checked for quality assurance; finally the records are added to the largest database of books in the world — WorldCat.org.  From WorldCat, the Foundation will create the new web catalog.

What will all this conversion work do?  There is not one answer to that question.  As this project progresses, we will discover many benefits to this conversion work.  Let me start with one. On the Foundation’s webpage, Research at the Moravian Music Foundation,  Nola discusses a broad array of research topics and approaches. All of this is based on the assets found in the Winston-Salem and Bethlehem vaults.  This conversion work will facilitate research on these topics and topics we haven’t dreamed of yet.