Type of Library: Special
Librarian: Carol White
Address: 553 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96813
Problem(s) To Be Solved:
Since our holdings could only be searched by card catalog, access was limited to either local residents or people who could afford to fly here. We badly needed to automate.
- Retrospective conversion from shelflist cards
- Authorities processing (included)
The Mission Houses Museum is an historical museum located in downtown Honolulu. It is unique in the history of Hawaii as the site of the two oldest buildings in the Islands. The Mission Houses were established by Congregational missionaries from New England who first came to the Islands in 1820 to teach Christianity to the Hawaiians, which they did by developing a written Hawaiian language and then translating the Bible into Hawaiian. The library is an adjunct of the Museum and contains 252 linear feet of original manuscript material written by the missionaries. In addition, we have many old and rare books that were either owned by the original missionaries or were printed by them on printing presses that were set up here at the Museum and at another mission on Maui.
When I came to work here, our researchers could search our collection using only catalog cards. This meant that in order to search our bibliographic records, people had to physically come to the library and search through the card catalog. This was extremely impractical for most of our researchers, since we are located on an island in the middle of the Pacific.
My first task was to select a library automation system that would serve our needs and still fall within our budget. I selected LibraryWorld because it was easy to use, provided all the functionality that we needed, and was web-based. Since we have a very small staff, it was preferable to keep everything on the vendor’s server and simply pay a modest annual subscription for housing, upgrades, and security.
Since our budget was small, we started by importing as many of our records as we could from other libraries and adding our local information. This was very easy using LibraryWorld’s Import function. However, since we have a lot of unique items, there came a point when we had to find someone to do retrospective conversion on the rest.
For the conversion, another librarian suggested that I check out MARCIVE. They were very helpful and knowledgeable from the start and mailed me some informative literature, along with a tentative quote, which was within our budget.
There were about 1600 unique records that we needed to convert. I first photocopied all of the shelflist cards in case they got lost in the mail. Then I packed the actual cards in heavy cardboard index card boxes and FedExed them to MARCIVE. I know that this job must have been a challenge for MARCIVE, because our shelflist cards were replete with spelling errors and because a good number of the records were for Hawaiian language titles. These problems notwithstanding, our records came back needing remarkably little correction. They were sent to us on disk, and LibraryWorld was able to import them directly from disk in about two minutes.
Our researchers can now access our catalog from anywhere on the planet through our website.
Our researchers are thrilled! They have remarked to me that the catalog is an invaluable aid in planning their research time here, as they can get some idea of our holdings before making their travel arrangements. In some cases, they simply request photocopies to be mailed to them from our holdings, saving them a trip altogether. Staff, especially the Curator of the Museum, uses the catalog to plan exhibits and to research materials for public programs. Reaction has been nothing but positive.
What I like so much about both LibraryWorld and MARCIVE is that they have affordable solutions for any library, no matter what their size, budget, or collection type, and both have excellent customer service response times and knowledgeable service reps.