Cataloging Projects for Fun and Service

I am a member of several non-library organizations. (Shocking, I know, that I have a life outside of work!) And I do service in a number of those orgs. This past weekend, I went to a convention for one of them, and I ended up being the literature liaison between the convention and my home meeting. Which meant, basically, that I picked out literature, picked it up, and got the CDs of the speakers and workshops. (I know I’m digressing an awful lot here, but I was excited that there was a podcast from the weekend, and a friend suggested that we let people download the content instead of having to buy physical CDs! Progress!)

On Monday night, I brought the CDs to our meeting, but there was no one there to take them, so I took them home with me. We don’t sell the CDs, but we do loan them out to meeting attendees, and we have to inventory them before we can let people take them. And I got excited, because this means I might be able to inventory them myself! Which would be fun. I already ripped them to my computer, and it was fun to create a standard naming convention for them. Who knows what I could come up with for the inventory sheet? And could I retroactively inventory the CDs we own?

This is probably a moot point because the lit person will undoubtedly be back next week. But it does point to the quite obvious conclusion that even if I never get a job as a cataloger again, everything is in danger of being cataloged by me. (Except for living beings. I draw a line.)

Here are some other ideas for projects, which may or may not be of service to others or self:

  • collections, i.e., the My Little Ponies on my shelf, marbles, record albums (natch), etc.
  • They still exist, people!

    They still exist, people!

  • gardens — what and where — which would also, presumably, involve a map (also fun!) Possibility for innovative, new cataloging techniques!
  • photographs and slides — there is a desperate need for this, in my experience, particularly when scanning old photos. My Da got a slide scanner for Christmas and now faces the task of labeling a mess of documentation. (This one might also call for emotional help, in addition to cataloging.)
  • a random grab-bag of items — for this I am picturing when you are cleaning the house and you’ve put nearly everything away, but then you’ve got a bunch of stuff that you don’t know what to do with. Catalog them and then try to figure out where you’d classify them, i.e., what other items are they most like, where would you most likely look for them. (I have done a lot of organizing work for individuals, and I always have a basket of this stuff. I like to ask the person where they look when they are trying to find the thing and then put it there. If they are like, I didn’t know I had that, I put it in a place that seems sensical. Or I make them toss it! I am a task-master!)

Of course, if you belong to any kind of organization or club or whathaveyou (do you always picture, like, a treehouse when you hear “club?” We meet in a treehouse, but I assume not everyone does), you can always offer to create a database for archives or literature. It seriously makes the business of meetings a lot smoother.


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