I’m almost done sending reports to our insurance company regarding the items lost in the fire – it’s a great reminder to me (and my staff) that we need to be far better in our cataloging habits.
What do I mean by that? Prices are critical: too many (almost 2/3) of the items did not have prices. Some of that was from the 1998 conversion from cards to automation. But the more recent stuff? Donations that never got priced, or sloppiness on someone’s part. Multi-volume sets, like an encyclopedia, were mispriced. The entire Encyclopedia Britannica, for example, costs $1395, every volume doesn’t cost that much. Yet all too often I found a set that had the total price listed for every volume.
There’s also a problem with multi-volume sets like those from Gale. When we started purchasing those items, prices were lower yet now to repurchase the entire set we’d have to pay current prices (actually, that holds true for all items published over 10-15 years ago).
I’ve also had to explain that the DVDs we had were not all $19.99 popular items; some, like Wrestling with Manhood cost over $200 (others, like Garcia Lorca: A Murder in Granada were “only” $89.95).
So now I’m determined to make sure that our catalog will be as accurate as possible going forward. It may take more time, but in the event of another loss we’ll have back-up that can be relied on far more than what we did have. Price-wise, that is. In terms of accuracy of holdings, our inventory had just been completed and I knew how many and who and what!
(On an even better, far more positive note: a peer school asked our local list if anyone had a copy of the “Dying High” — not only did we have it, but we were able to do an ILL! We truly are rising from the ashes!)