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Cataloging Pamphlets, Articles, Newsletters and Other Non-traditional Resources


Providing access to small information resources such as pamphlets has been an issue in libraries for many years. Catalogs, both online and offline, have been limited to more "weighty" things such as books and periodicals. Pamphlets, local newsletters, newspaper clippings and other small items have been placed in vertical file collections or special shelves behind the reference desk. Providing patron access has been limited to subject heading file folders in the vertical file collection, information sheets/bibliographies, or general subject heading cards in the card cataloging directing patrons to vertical file folders. Cataloging these materials has been considered too time consuming, too costly and too difficult.


The State Library of Kansas has been cataloging pamphlets, newsletters, single sheet bulletins and even a few post cards for years. Most all of these titles have been Kansas state government publications. Initially we cataloged pamphlets because we had to! State law required that the State Library acquire and make available state government publications, big and small, to the people of Kansas. But through the years we've come to the realization that the size of an item is not always the issue when it comes to information resources.

A few years ago we tracked which Kansas state document titles were the biggest lenders on interlibrary loan from our library. Within the top ten were seven pamphlets or monographic pamphlet series. Among these was a pamphlet issued by Emporia State University on date rape, information circulars issued by KSU's Cooperative Extension Service on everything from raising ostriches to dealing with the terrible twos in children, and a sheet issued by the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services on shaken baby syndrome. Another popular ILL lender were the articles that we individually catalog (i.e. analytically cataloged) from the Kansas State Historical Society's journal, Kansas History.

Pamphlets, articles, newspaper clippings, local newsletters and similar material often tend to be more timely than books. They are easily published at local print shops or on personal computers and show up long before books do on pertinent topics. They usually come free of charge (and sometimes in bulk!). They can be good resources for local information, describing community social service programs, events in local history and current events (such as festivals and ethnic celebrations) that people might be interested in knowing about years from now. They are often more specific in scope than books. For example a booklet on date rape might have as much information in it as a chapter on the same topic in a book on violent crimes. But the booklet, recently published, might contain more current crime statistics and have a more up-to-date bibliography in the back.


The big problem is how to provide access to these smaller items in a way that is helpful to library patrons and easy on library staff and the library's budget. Eleven years ago the State Library joined an online library consortium and we saw a way to provide better access in a quick, easy manner. We began entering short original records for non-Kansas document pamphlets in our catalog with minimal MARC Format data. We avoided using OCLC and kept things as simple as possible.


The following are examples of records from the ATLAS catalog, showing different ways to enter simple online records in a local online catalog:

SAMPLE RECORD NO. 1 is an individual record cataloged for one pamphlet. This is a fairly simple record and was put up in a short amount of time.

SAMPLE RECORD NO. 2 is what we call a Collective Pamphlet Record. This record was input by the Kansas State Historical Society. A collection of pamphlets about the same subject or issued by the same organization are put in a file folder. A "generic" title is given to the folder and the folder is cataloged with added titles inserted for each pamphlet.

SAMPLE RECORD NO. 3 is another example of a Collective Pamphlet Record. This record was input by the State Library. The various pamphlets are added to a contents note field instead of adding each one individually.

|     Last modified: Jan 31, 2012