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Gaining Intellectual Control Over Technical Reports and Grey Literature Collections

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Evolving Engineering Libraries: Services, Spaces, and Collections

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.733.1 - 22.733.13



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Paper Authors

author page

Adriana Popescu Princeton University, Engineering Library Orcid 16x16

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Gaining Intellectual Control over Technical Reports and Grey Literature CollectionsEven without financial pressures on library budgets, collections of technical reports typicallydon’t rank too high on priority lists for processing and inclusion in libraries’ holdings. Technicalreports however, always found their way on library shelves or cabinets where they would be filedfor easy physical browsing and discovery by library users. With the ongoing pressures on libraryspaces resulting in libraries being consolidated and closed, these collections have often ended upin remote storage locations waiting for more favorable circumstances when technical servicesoperations could afford to invest the time and human resources to catalog and process them.While initiatives such as the Technical Reports Archive and Image Library (TRAIL) provideviable solutions to preserve and make available these very important resources, libraries stillhave to contend with materials that do not fit the scope of TRAIL or other collaborative digitalinitiatives. This paper will describe the solution that the author employed to facilitate uniform,online, web-based access to detailed information about the library’s various collections oftechnical reports and grey literature. By working closely with colleagues from the UniversityArchives, the Engineering Library adopted the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) standard(typically used to provide standardized, digital description of archival and manuscript collections)and applied it to create machine readable finding aids for all departmental research and technicalreports collections of the School of Engineering. The Archivists’ Toolkit (AT), an open sourceapplication, has been used to create bibliographic descriptions, to establish name and subjectentries, to manage locations and to export EAD finding aids and MARCXML records fortechnical reports collections. The project has been completed in house, using existing resources;given the increased number of requests the library received for these materials since thecompletion of the project, it is considered a success. By creating descriptive bibliographies(finding aids) that incorporate metadata standards, materials that were once hidden and lost toresearchers, are now easily discovered and used.

Popescu, A. (2011, June), Gaining Intellectual Control Over Technical Reports and Grey Literature Collections Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18014

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