The Augustan Society, Inc., maintains and operates a Library on the subjects of Chivalry, Genealogy, Heraldry, History, and Royalty & Nobility. Other topics covered include maps, numismatics, philatelics, and material used for staff support such as style manuals.
The work of the Library is conducted by a loosely organized group called the Library Committee, though it does not function as a conventional committee with meetings, minutes, etc. The activities include:
- Shelving and physical maintenance
- Accessions, covering both purchases and donations
- Classification, defining how the materials are to be organized
- Cataloging, entering specific items into the catalog
- Patron support, opening and staffing the Library when a patron makes an appointment to visit the collection
- Mail Loans to members only (presently suspended by Board policy)
- Inter-Library Loans
- Repair and rebinding, including the conversion of digital materials to new media
- Deaccessions; weeding obsolete, duplicate, or unsuitable material from the collection
- Note: Disposition of withdrawn items is handled by the Sales Manager along with back issues and the like.
The physical location of the Library is at ExtraSpace Storage, 13125 S John Young Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32837, United States. The stacks with cataloged books are in Unit 986. Uncataloged material is in Unit 961. Some materials in process are at Headquarters.
Due to the large amount of uncatalogued material, accessions—particularly purchases—must reasonably be constrained:
- Purchase policy: post-2006 until cataloging is complete
- Donations will be accepted or rejected by Library Staff.
- Library Staff are expected to accept nearly all, with unsuitable material disposed of through the Book Sales program. Honest assessments of suitability will be given on request.
- Reimbursement for shipping costs will be considered (from the accessions budget) on a case-by-case basis depending on the desirability of the collection. Such reimbursement will not be made until after the books are inspected and found worthy and serviceable.
- No assessment of the financial value of any donation will be made.
- No promise to retain any donation can be made; all retention decisions are subject to periodic review by the Library Committee.
- Expected donations:
- Robert Cleve, former Chairman of the Society, has willed his collection on Roman History to the Society. As he is no longer a member, this may be some challenge to receive.
- Marta Metcalf, FAS, may offer her genealogical collection as a long-term loan as long as the Library is open to the public, the loan converting to a gift if the Library is still in operation at her death. This will likely be delayed until all other genealogical material has been cataloged.
The materials to be cataloged are being approached in the following sequence:
- Books for which cataloging data can be obtained from public sources (such as Library of Congress)
- Bound periodicals for which cataloging data can be obtained from public sources
- Other periodicals for which cataloging data can be obtained from public sources*
- Books which require original cataloging
- Bound periodicals which require original cataloging
- Other periodicals which require original cataloging*
- Maps and charts (pending the relocation of the map cabinets to a more accessible location)
- Photographs (pending their being processed by the Photograph Collection Study Group)
* These categories will be delayed until funds are available for shelf boxes.
The public web page on this topic is here.
The Classification System is a unique creation designed to meet the specific needs of our unusual collection.
Some books are difficult to assign to a given classification. The primary consideration will be to place similar books in the same classification, with the focus on how our members might be expected to use them, with traditional classifications or those used by other libraries being subordinate to perceived member use.
Due to cataloging being done by a genealogist at this time, there is an innate bias toward classifying as "genealogical" any work that has a substantial fraction of genealogical data, even it the author intended it primarily as a historical work. (Historians who object are invited to volunteer.)
Another innate bias is toward treating history as biography. A work on the reign of Henry III would be listed under Royal Biography rather than History.
Most classifications are then sorted by author. Cutter numbers (following the model of the Library of Congress) are used for this purpose. Where an author has multiple titles, the titles are used as a third group, also using Cutter numbers. When multiple editions are held, dates are used.
Sub-Classification by families or houses
Classifications GFN and RH are sorted by the name of the family or noble house using Cutter numbers. Third order sorts are by author, as above.
Sub-Classification by dates
Classification RB (Biography, individuals and couples) is sorted by date of birth of the subject. Care must be taken to precede dates with “BC” as needed, despite this confounding the automated sorting procedures. Third order sorts are by author, as above.
Spine labels will not be created until the collection has been cataloged, as the cataloging process may drive changes in the classification system and especially Cutter numbers. The data to be printed on the labels, and the use of them on rare or valuable volumes, is yet to be determined.
Technology may suggest that we want to supplement the printed information on the labels with a barcode, either in black & white or using UV ink. This will depend on available and affordable technology at time time of label creation.
Books and periodicals are shelved in the order of classification. This results in some things being out of alphabetical order (e.g.: Switzerland’s code is CH, which puts it far from where an alphabetical sort would file it). Dates BC are shelved before dates AD, all in chronological order.
Oversize items are placed on the top shelf as near as practical to their classification.
Damaged items may be placed on the bottom shelf as near as practical to their classification, but it may prove prudent to remove these to storage boxes to minimize further damage.
Funding for shelving and other storage equipment is provided through the "Buy-A-Box" Fund.
Rebinding and Repair
Standards need to be set for rebinding, and these should probably match those set for the bindings of Society publications. Current thinking is black ¾ covers, with a goldenrod spine, author/title printed in black. This needs to be run past our binder to ensure practicality.
Selection of items for rebinding or repair will come from:
- Patron calls for damaged items
- Suggestions from Department Heads
- Suggestions from Committee Chairmen
- Library staff selection of items with the highest ratio of damage to repair cost
In all cases, the cost of a replacement item will be compared to the repair cost, and the less expensive alternative chosen.
The pressure to weed the collection will come from three sources: Academic cleansing, shelving space, and revenue from sales. Only the last of these is likely to be a strong motivator in the immediate future.
- Categorical nominations — There are some categories which warrant consideration as a whole. These might include Anthropology and VHS videotapes, as a start.
- Individual nominations — Books will suggest themselves of their own accord, either for being off-topic or unworthy of scholarly consideration.
- Decision process — At present, Library Staff are acting as a Deaccession Committee, but such a committee may be commissioned later. The membership at large may serve on this committee by objecting to the sale of items advertised by the Used Book Sales flyers.
- Items cited in articles published should be retained, despite the above considerations. Those of exceptionally low academic credibility should have a disclaimer card shelved with the item.