Fun Facts from the Catalog

Sammy heard about the book, Spelling for Life: Uncovering the Simplicity and Science of Spelling and wanted to look at it.  He checked the catalog, and saw this…2 I told him the book was not yet on our shelves, and he asked “How do you know?”  I said, “Because the status says ‘In Prep’.”

What is this “In Prep” status?  Has the book been confiscated by survivalists?  Is it at Prep School?  Can I tell him, by the preponderance of the evidence, when it will arrive?  It might seem preposterous, but I cannot.

“In Prep” indicates the book is being prepared at our Technical & Electronic Services Department. This takes more than a little doing.  All books earmarked for our campuses in the five boroughs, Long Island, Los Angeles, Miami Beach and Israel pass through our processing center, located at the Broadway campus.  Massive quantities of books are unpacked there, checked against invoices for discrepancies, sorted by library site, and inscribed with their location code.  The technical services librarians next create cataloging records for these materials. These records include call numbers  and the other pertinent information (author, title, place of publication, publisher, and year) to help us identify and locate the materials, as well as other facts (alternate titles and authors, series names, subject headings, and physical description) to assist us in determining whether we are interested in the items.  The records are uploaded to our specialized library software, but can be searched by everyone in our online public access catalog.

Each book is then physically processed by a technical services assistant.  It is stamped with “Touro College Library” in multiple locations, as well as the individual site location.  Pockets and labels are prepared and affixed to each book.   Additionally, paperback books, the purchase of choice for the sake of economy, are laminated with plastic sheeting to increase their durability.  Shown below are images of a Midtown book, and some paper and ink embellishments it received at the Technical and Electronic Services Department.

Finally, the “books and more” (let’s not forget the cataloging and preparation of DVDs, CD-ROM, microfilm, audio, and serials) are boxed- up to be shipped to their final destinations.  The arrival of the materials is dependent on the amount being processed and, when not being mailed, the availability of a van driver to transport the goods locally.

So in the meantime, what can Sammy do about Spelling for Life?  I noticed this record:7

This is great news!  Sammy can look at the electronic copy of the book while the hard-copy is being processed.  A mere click on the link available in the online catalog will take him to the database that contains the book (provided he has a log-in and password for off campus access).

If this particular title is not imperative, similar books can be found by clicking on the subject heading link at the bottom of the catalog record.  In this case “English language—Orthography and spelling” will give titles of similar books in our collection.  I suggested that Sammy try this, to which he replied,

“English language?  You’ve got to be kidding me.  I thought this book was a biography of Tori Spelling. Nevermind.”


Contributed by: Carol Schapiro, Librarian, Midtown Library

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