Buffalo Museum of Science Research Library Online!
Congratulations to the Buffalo Museum of Science on the recent completion of a library automation project. Jean Linn, collections manager (and LSJ editorial assistant), sends this news:
The Research Library has some very exciting and long-awaited news…we now have an online catalog! You can now search our holdings from home (and pick out your next reading material).It was a long road getting to this point, and an interesting story (if you find library automation interesting). Here's some background (the short version): The BMS did at one point in the 1990s have a searchable catalog through the WNYLRC Union Catalog, but when WNYLRC moved to a decentralized system several years ago the BMS Research Library could no longer take part, not having the resources to maintain their own server and ILS. It was discovered that WNYLRC no longer had those BMS MARC records (or if they did the floppies on which they were stored are now useless), but OCLC came to the rescue. OCLC not only had record of what records the BMS catalogers had downloaded all those years ago, but also had copies of those records complete with local notes and any other changes made. This service - OCLC calls it Local Database Creation - is for just such an occasion when large amounts of data are lost or corrupted. It was, then, a (relatively!) simple and cost-effective matter to download the records again into BMS' new Sagebrush InfoCentre system. Sagebrush, recently bought by Follett, took over Winnebago in 1999 and has been selling its own Athena product side by side with Winnegabo's Spectrum system since then. InfoCentre is a sort of best-of-both response to the problem of owning two competing systems. Sagebrush is still supporting both of the old systems for now it seems, but new customers are pushed to InfoCentre.
It is a distinguished collection with a long history - one of the best small libraries in Western New York. Highlights of the collection and more information about the library itself are on the website.
Kudos to Kathy Leacock, former collections manager and a recent grad of the University at Buffalo MLS program, for recognizing the benefits to the local science community of having this catalog online. And kudos also to Jean Linn, a current UB MLS student, for seeing it through. It looks great!