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Echoes. Launch of the online collections catalog on August 1st. Published on 07/29/2022

Archdiocesan archives

Launch of the online collections catalog on August 1


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The process of evaluating software options, setting one up for our use, training our staff, and manually entering the initial collections took over a year.







Thomas
lester

The Archives Department is delighted to announce that a catalog of the collections will be available on its website from Monday August 1st!
What is a collection catalog? Just as one might search their local library’s website by author, keyword, or title, our collections will also be searchable that way. The difference is that in addition to books, a search will also return relevant manuscripts, historical photographs, and other archival materials.
The process of evaluating software options, setting one up for our use, training our staff, and manually entering the initial collections took over a year. In many cases, archives and libraries may already have a catalog of collections and transfer the records to new software, but since we did not have these before, the title, creator(s), date (range), narrative description, related topics, and other details had to be meticulously manually entered for each item by one of our three staff members.
Due to the time and effort required to enter each collection, the most frequently used collections are currently included: Bishops’ Papers, Manuscript Collection, Reference Books, School Records, Sacramental Records, and First Hundreds of nearly 5,000 historic photographs. Adding new records and updating existing records will be part of our daily workflow in the future.

The catalog can be viewed by visiting our website, bostoncatholic.org/archives, where a link will be added to the home page.
Catalog search instructions are included on the home page above the search tool. Additionally, users will see a menu at the top of the screen, where they can click “Collections” to display a list of collection titles, arranged alphabetically. Similarly, users can select “Topic” to display an alphabetical list of topics, then select one to view related instances. “Names” will provide a list of individuals and organizations (parishes, schools, religious orders, etc.), and selecting one will allow users to view details such as when a parish opened or a school, and possibly navigate to a collection list. Finally, “Record Types” will allow users to specifically search for motion pictures, objects, photographs, reference books, etc.
The catalog is primarily intended as a place to research our collections and view descriptions, including inventories, after which one can request to view them in our library or inquire about photocopying or scanning. The Catalog is not intended to be a place where materials can be viewed online, although in some cases collections will be linked to online collections elsewhere, and over time we may also provide digital images of selected items.
As mentioned, our staff are new to this process and will continually work to develop the catalog, adding new collections and expanding descriptions of existing collections. Users are encouraged to return frequently as they will be able to research more of our collections and, in the meantime, are welcome to contact us at [email protected] to inquire about our full collections. We will also be happy to receive constructive feedback in this way so that we can work to improve the user experience.
Finally, we would like to thank the Archdiocesan Information Technology Department for their assistance in evaluating software and hosting options, and Atlas Systems for hosting the catalog and training our staff. . It was a team effort and we appreciate all your help!

– Thomas Lester is the Archivist of the Archdiocese of Boston.

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