Hear from Dawn White in the IET Library about a project nearing completion to tidy up the Institution’s large pamphlet collection.
When I joined the Institution over 30 years ago the Pamphlet collection was stored all over the Savoy Place building, Behind the Theatre, Chicken Run (this is supposedly where Chickens were kept for experiments when the building housed the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons), Basement and more and classed in all different ways.
When we moved out of the building in 2012 for the refurbishment all these items were stored in boxes and sent off site. We soon discovered that when we had to recall items the pickers in the off-site storage facility found it very difficult to find what we requested.
As a collective we decided that it would be easier and more cost effective to bring all the Pamphlet stock back to Savoy Place. So I took up the challenge and made it part of my job (I wonder why I give myself these awkward and sometimes non rewarding jobs to do). I have to sort, weed and re-catalogue the older paper collections of pamphlets, these are usually documents 50 pages or less using our discretion of course. I am currently merging them into one sequence whereas previously they were under 3 pre 1971, post 1971 and older GX or GY collections, these collections were then split halfway through the sequence and stored in the different locations. As you can imaging looking for these items encouraged our step count but also made it difficult to find, they could have been in any 6 different areas and not always the first one you looked in, maybe due to inaccurate shelving or a vague catalogue entry from when we went from a paper card index to a computer catalogue.
Currently I have come across a large amount of lectures given by Section/Region Chairmen dated between 1940 and 1970’s some of them did not have a proper title they just said Chairmen’s address. They are quite interesting and cover various subjects from the Telephone Systems in Great Britain 1959, Lecture by T. A. P College from the North Wales Centre to Aspects of Distribution Engineering in South Wales lecture by L. G. Bowler
Hopefully my actions will make them easier for us to find and make them more accessible on the catalogue with keywords and updated information from the pamphlet itself, which will make them easier for you to find on the IET Library catalogue
After nearly 7 years I am still working on this but have managed to get it down to the last 40 boxes or so. New members of staff will not know the hard work that has gone into this project, but I do and that is the main thing. I look forward to my next challenge – already set by myself!!! Integrating reports donated by the ERA Technology, Leatherhead, into our own collection.