NYC Records & Information Services

Municipal Library Notes - November
Archives Transcription Project


Library Cataloging Projects

by Christine Bruzzese, Director, Municipal Library

A library’s catalog is the place to find all of its materials and their holdings. The researcher can delve into topics of interest and locate material, whether print or digital. They may find some surprises!

This spring through autumn, working remotely, the Municipal Library staff have been updating and revising our catalog which is hosted by Koha in order to improve accessibility and make it a better research tool. Our work has included:

  • Adding subject headings to records without them.
  • Adding publication dates to records.
  • Adding the inventory of publications kept at our offsite warehouses. This will enable staff to request those items from the offsite location without having to search spreadsheets or guess where they might be.
  • Clearing up broken links to online reports.
  • Deleting duplicate records.

Although much has been accomplished, we still have more to do. However, we have made a considerable effort and it will benefit the Library’s patrons. The subject headings have all been added! Click here to check out the catalog.

Transcription Project

by Sylvia Kollar, Director, Municipal Archives

The Covid pandemic has certainly reordered our typical days at the Municipal Archives.  In early March we prioritized planning for potential projects that we could do remotely from home.  Quick thinking and scanning on the part of our Head of Collection Management, Alexandra Hilton, have made many of our legacy collection descriptions see a new day!  The Transcription work has been one of the most popular work from home projects. The first type of transcription project involves legacy collection inventories originally written by hand or typed, that had never made it off the paper and into an electronic, searchable format. These inventories are unique because of their high level of detail, with each item being described individually. (Inventorying collections at the item-level is incredibly time-consuming and much less common now, especially in a large government archives with a small staff, like ours.) It’s also the reason they had never been copied previously – the smallest inventory that has been transcribed is still over 1,000 pages long. Collections with such inventories include the early mayors records, 1826-1897; Brooklyn grade crossing photographs from the early 20th century; and photographs from condemnation proceedings in Brooklyn and Queens between 1928 and the late 1960s.
The second type of transcription project focuses on our digitized historical records. Many of our recently digitized collections, such as the Bodies in Transit and New York County jury census volumes, are exceptionally useful tools for genealogical research. However, they lack an index. Knowing how much a name index would enhance access to these volumes, they were added to the transcription queue.
All these transcribed inventories and indices will be publicly available upon their completion and QA review.

Image reads Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday 2020 takes place on December 1. It is a day where everyone is encouraged to help others, do good and share and be generous. This could include donations to organizations or causes, helping a friend or neighbor in need, starting a food or clothing drive, offering a few kind words to let someone know they are appreciated and much more.

Consider helping the Municipal Library at the New York City Department of Records and Information Services. Our Koch Fund was established by Mayor Edward Koch to help the Library purchase the books for its collection as a repository of New York City history.

The Library is the official depository for all New York City agency publications. Our materials date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Unfortunately, many of these historic items are badly in need of conservation work to repair broken bindings, torn pages and covers falling off. Consider adopting a book or books and giving something to help conserve these historic treasures. Not just on Giving Tuesday but at any time.

Logo of womensactivism and Nuyorican Cafe
Stories of Women Who Move Us
Friday, December 4, 2020 at 8PM EST

WomensActivism.NYC and The Nuyorican Poets Cafe present “Stories of Women Who Move Us” Open Mic Night hosted by Caridad de la Luz (aka La Bruja). 

Celebrate the women’s suffrage centennial by joining a diverse range of voices who will share stories/poems about women who move and inspire them, women whose stories they want the world to know, and women who deserve to be recognized for their contributions to their communities.

This virtual event, hosted on a zoom, is free and open to the public. RSVP HERE.

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