A crowd of nearly 40 early risers attended the SCIPIO Users Group meeting at the Vancouver conference. Deborah Kempe, of the Frick Art Reference Library and SCIPIO Advisory Taskforce Chair, chaired the meeting and Anne van Camp, Manager of RLG Member Initiatives, represented RLG.
D. Kempe summarized the report by the SCIPIO Advisory Taskforce given earlier at the RLG meeting held earlier in the conference, highlighting the two documents which the taskforce had just released: SCIPIO FAQs and Draft for a SCIPIO Core Record. The FAQs will be posted to the RLG website and the core record draft will be posted to SCIPIO-L for comment. The draft has also been submitted to the Cataloging Advisory Committee of ARLIS/NA for comment. By the end of the summer, the Taskforce plans to approve a new core record standard for SCIPIO and to recommend its implementation to RLG. The Taskforce would then be involved in the production of a cataloging manual to accompany the new record structure.
She also announced that SCIPIO subscription and participation is growing, with 45 current subscribers and 13 contributing institutions.
Attendees identified themselves as SCIPIO Users, as SCIPIO Contributors, or a the merely SCIPIO-Curious. Various institutions, RLG-affiliated and otherwise, were mentioned as valuable potential contributors to SCIPIO. In addition to libraries, historical societies and auction houses have rich collections which could strengthen the database. The SCIPIO Taskforce will follow up on these recommendations so that RLG may contact them with information on becoming SCIPIO contributors.
The emerging practice of auction houses to post pricelists on websites rather than mailing paper copies directly to subscribers was brought up. Many SCIPIO Users/Contributors have a procedure to tip in price lists, as they are a key component of information about the sale. At this point, libraries are loathe to give up printing out price lists from the web to tip in, as the auction houses have given no assurance that the web-based pricelists will be archived. A suggestion was made that letters requesting such an assurance to subscribers go to the major houses that now post sale results on the web. This point also brought up the topic of electronic links and D. Kempe reported that the draft of the proposed core record includes the 856 linking field.
SCIPIO contributors discussed the ongoing division of labor. Since SCIPIO's inception, the five founding members have agreed to catalog, within a month of receipt, the sale catalogs of certain designated auction houses. At present, all of the original contributors have agreed to continue with these commitments in the interest of currency and robustness of the database. As more and more contributors join without commitments to cataloging a designated house, they may wish to promptly catalog their catalogs, rather than waiting one month to see if another contributor has done it. There was general agreement that, although it remains vital for the original commitments to be honored, other contributors should feel free to enter original records for any auction houses. As the number of contributors grow, it is hoped that the overall increased level of cataloging will eventually relieve the original members of the burden of commitment. In other words, if any SCIPIO contributor receives a catalog from Druout, they know that they may wait up to one month and find the Metropolitan Museum of Art's record in SCIPIO, or they may go ahead and catalog it upon receipt, without waiting for the Met to input the record. This also means that all contributors must first search the database for an existing record before inputting an original.
Max Marmor, Head of the Art & Architecture Library of Yale University,
announced a potential project that Yale is currently investigating and
asked for responses from those at the meeting. As part of the Imaging
America project at Yale, Max is investigating, with the Archives of American
Art of the Smithsonian Institution, a project to digitize the Smithsonian's
microform edition of American auction sale catalogs dating from 1785 to
1962. If these catalogs were to be digitized, their corresponding
SCIPIO records could each hold a link to the digital document, using the
856 field. The response was very positive to such a project, as the microfilm
was never commercially distributed and few libraries have copies of all
the catalogs in it. For those interested in learning more about the
microfilm collection, there is a collection-level description in the RLIN
Chief, Collections Management & Access
The Frick Art Reference Library