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meagan's avatar

What software should I use for my cataloguing?

Asked by meagan (4655points) May 25th, 2012

I work in a library that is currently transcribing old documents. The initial idea was to print everything out and file it in binders. But I’d really love to find a software to put this information on. Does anyone have any suggestions?

It’d be especially handy to search through the program to find phrases like “John Smith” out of thousands of pages.

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8 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

I’d just use excel and search the name in the file. You can get it to print out the graph too so it looks better.

meagan's avatar

@XOIIO We’re going to have thousands and thousands of records to transcribe, though. Wouldn’t making a database be a better solution? I may be wrong. But it will all just be text.

XOIIO's avatar

@meagan Ahh, most likely then. Don’t you have a book scanner to keep track of people who borrow books and whatnot, our school does even though its a tiny tiny library, something like that could then point to a document with the books contents.

I would simply scan the books pages and create a pdf document, if that isn’t enough abby ocr works wonderfully on images, documents and pictures, so i just scan the pages and have my printer make them into 1 pdf and run it through the ocr software which rips out the text and places images accordingly in the page and can export to many formats.

meagan's avatar

@XOIIO Ahhh, no. What we’re doing is taking the old papers from the 1930’s and transcribing them into documents. The older librarians want to print out every page which would be incredibly time consuming. I was wondering if I could use a database I could put the individual files on and look up later.

XOIIO's avatar

Hmm, not really sure what you could use, maybe search for a program to index files on a computer, there might be something there.

Another thing (although difficult) would be to use a batch file that would search file names and give a list of results or open files with names that matched, it would only really work with titles, it would be very annoying but I’m sure it could be done, I’ve tried simmilar stuff back when I did a lot of batch scripting, but a real program would be better.

funkdaddy's avatar

Any decent database should be able to handle thousands of records with the searching you describe, so it’s really just a matter of finding either someone who will develop the tool for you or one that fits your needs and is already made.

You didn’t mention if the documents were hand written or typed, if any sizable portion is typed you might want to look into OCR solutions if you haven’t already. I would imagine you might be scanning the documents, so for typed documents it could take care of everything at once for you. They usually include some sort of storage solution with search and a lot of other features.

If you need to find something more flexible for hand written documents, I found this Manuscript Transcription Database project at the University of Virginia. It looks like an older project that might not have been updated, but might meet your needs as it stands or have grown into something since.

If you have access to someone familiar with web technologies (PHP specifically) it looks pretty easy to set up and is custom made for the type of work you’re doing.

Here’s another along the same lines called Document Database that seems to rely on something called BibTeX that I’m not familiar with for some of it’s search and classification. Maybe that means something to you?

Good luck with your search. There are quite a few ways you could go and I would imagine the next round of people going through those documents will be happier with any of them than they would be with binders of printouts.

elbanditoroso's avatar

If you want to go to the effort, use something like this:

It is a free MARC editor that will let you build industry standard records that can then be loaded onto other sources (like an OPAC).

meagan's avatar

@funkdaddy Thanks so much for the great reply. These documents are very old and handwritten. I was thinking about just typing them out instead of going to the trouble of an OCR program. This should be easy to do—the problem is that I don’t know anything about these programs. I’m just looking for something easy that people in their 60’s could use. Our genealogist is older and won’t be able to navigate the program if its too complicated.

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