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Has anyone done any work with rare book collections and 'next gen' discovery systems. I'm interested in seeing examples and particularly in what data has been used from MARC records, and how (if this differs from more generic collections). If anyone has mappings or configurations used with SolrMARC driven systems (e.g. VuFind or Blacklight) that would also be very useful and interesting.

Essentially I'm interested in what facets might be most useful to support, how to create these from MARC data, and what information should be displayed

asked Mar 02 '12 at 13:19

ostephens's gravatar image


We don't have a separate catalog for our rare books, they are folded into our general catalog. Our "new" OPAC is built on Solr. It's still in beta, but it is up and running.


We tweaked our format facet to separate out manuscripts, which doesn't technically exist in MARC as a separate format in this sense, as we have a substantial manuscript collection here at U of Penn. We also created new index labels for many of the rare materials fields, even if we didn't break the fields into facets. To search just for materials in our rare book collection, you can search that specific Library, which is faceted, and by the Specific location facet for sub-collections.

Other collections that exist in the DLA discovery layer are our Fine Arts image collection: http://dla.library.upenn.edu/dla/fisher/index.html

If you want further info about any of it, let me know. We have our mappings documented.


answered Mar 02 '12 at 15:40

slmcdanold's gravatar image


Thanks - could you share how the 'manuscript' format information was divined from the data? Definitely interested in the mappings you've used. If you can share Solr indexing config and related scripts that would be great.

(Mar 05 '12 at 07:40) ostephens

We used the holdings data for the location of the object.

I don't have access to the indexing config or scripts beyond the table we put together for the staff doing the actual coding. If there's something specific you need, I can ask our programmers.

(Mar 29 '12 at 20:02) slmcdanold

Our Rare Books are catalogued in our Voyager database in MARC. They get a separate record from our regular records (even if same book) because of all of the extra and local notes that are added. When we were setting up Primo we wanted to be able to reduce the amount of details thrown at a user, so we indexed all of the notes (MARC 5XX) but we chose not to display them all. Our Rare Books people were ok with this as long as we provided a link in the record back to our classic Voyager catalogue for those people who really needed to read those notes.

We have the Rare Books locations available in our Collection facet so that users can narrow to Rare Books by location.

We also had to do some fiddling with the call number display for the Guelph archives. In the MARC holdings records they had a $m for the collection and a $z stating what something was boxed with. The default Primo normalization rules just grabbed the call number information, so we had to tell it to look for these fields and to add this information to the availability statement. e.g. "Available at University of Guelph Library Guelph McLaughlin Archives--Helen Abell Collection (XA1 MS A040124--Boxed with XA1 MS A040119)"

If you are mapping the 561 field for display (ownerhip/custodial history) you may need the next gen system to pay attention to indicator 1 which states whether the information is private. One of our institutions displays this information, the other codes as private.

Sometimes our rare books cataloguers add things like $e owner to the 700 field. This could through off your "author" facet if you don't strip it out. Conversely, perhaps you can make a facet out of a subfield like this!

The other thing we had to make sure we were displaying was links to archival finding aids.

If you want to poke around, our site is http://www.lib.uwaterloo.ca


answered Mar 07 '12 at 12:58

ahitchens's gravatar image


I don't have SolrMARC configurations to share but like the UPenn example, we are indexing a lot of non-MARC content for special collections. Our metadata was in MODS and we wrote Python scripts to map it to the Vufind Solr index. We found that offered a lot of flexibility for mapping to existing facets. We also added a 'collection' facet to group like objects.

The Vufind record driver paradigm also allowed us to change how various record sets display, which was straightforward to implement.



answered Mar 06 '12 at 11:17

Ted's gravatar image


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Asked: Mar 02 '12 at 13:19

Seen: 5,341 times

Last updated: Mar 29 '12 at 20:02

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