American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society

Librarian, Annual Report 2010

By Elizabeth Hahn

Support and Activities

The library continues to have a healthy stream of visitors working their way through the library; from local members and residents to scholars from all over the world. Reference requests still remain one of our top activities, and as in previous years, the majority come through via email (from all over the world). The Library has also had some wonderful donations, in the form of cash, book and archive.

The calendar year started off well when John Adams and Dan Hamelberg helped the library to acquire 6 important rare items at the New York International Numismatic Convention, such as the broadside you see here

John Adams also gave a very generous cash donation of $20,000, which will go towards the care and future development of the library collections, so we are very grateful for this support. We also received a generous gift of $20,000 from an anonymous donor, as well as $1,500 from the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, both of which will help fund a project that will focus on cataloging much of the rare book room backlog, and again we are extremely grateful for this financial support. I would also like to mention the Hispanic Society of America, which generously gifted to the library a large number of books that were previously on loan. Some of these items will undoubtedly be duplicates, so we hope to have another duplicate sale in the near future.

In addition to these terrific donations, the library brought in some additional funding through a successful sale of library duplicates at the Kolbe sale in January.

The lot viewing took place at the ANS premises, while the auction itself occurred at the Waldorf-Astoria in connection with the New York International Numismatic Convention. The sale realized some $50,725.

We also had some nice additions to the archives. Frank Kovacs donated the Gans archive, which consists largely of Gans’s correspondence with important numismatists and antiquarians of his time. A purchase was also made of the archive of American sculptor Chester A. Beach (1881-1956), and ANS archivist David Hill, who joined us in January of this year, has been making excellent progress in making descriptions of the ANS archive collections available online.

New Online Library Catalog: DONUM

Discussions began last year on how to improve the online library catalog and at the end of 2009, we launched a contest for the name of the new online catalog, which came to be named DONUM, a short and easy reference and clever acronym for “Database of Numismatic Materials.” And as the Latin word for ‘gift,’ it fully embodies the nature of this free resource as our gift to the numismatic community.

There are a number of reasons why we needed a new catalog, in sum, it allows for more accurate searching and browsing features, better management of foreign characters and accents, corporate account connections with Amazon, administrative benefits such as facilitating the adherence to standard and consistent library cataloging practices, and incorporating records of the archives. Details on how to maximize searches can be found online in the User’s Guide and more details about the history of the catalog can also be found online.

Record in old Library online catalog (1997 – 2009) of a work in the Cyrillic alphabet.

Record in DONUM (born April 19, 2010) of a work in the Cyrillic alphabet.

Other big projects that were initiated this spring and summer are the use of call numbers which appear in the catalog here and barcodes. We were able to acquire a prefix that is unique to the ANS library, which means that if one of our books gets misplaced or removed, it will be easier to identify the item as ours. Barcodes will also greatly help us to have a more exact understanding of our inventory of what exactly is in the collection and what might be missing.

Helping to make all of this possible have been a number of new library staff including a handful of new library interns and volunteers. David Hill, our archivist, started in January 2010, and excellent progress was made on the call number projects by our 4 summer interns: Monique Harding, Maggie Long, Catherine Patterson, and Leah Issac. This fall we took on board 2 more library graduate interns who continue where the others left off. They are Jaime Trujillo and Ralph Englander.

Archivist David Hill

Library Intern Monique Harding

Library Intern Maggie Long

Library Intern Catherine Patterson

Library Intern Jaime Trujillo

The library continues to use the exhibition space in the rare book room and this year we are bringing out some of the many unique and varied bindings that encompass items in the collections. The new exhibit is titled “Bound For Glory : Exotic Bindings in the ANS Library Collections.” Images and text from this exhibit, and past exhibits, is always available on the library website in the “now on view” section.

With special thanks to the following generous donors:

John W. Adams Dan Hamelberg Roger Siboni Anonymous donor The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

I would also thank like to end by saying that many different people have been involved at different stages of the many projects, especially conversion of the new catalog. Of the ANS staff that have been directly involved, our Assistant Librarian, Jared Camins-Esakov, spent the last year migrating our data and configuring the new system, and his hard work and devotion to the library have been instrumental in this process. Thanks are also due to our Systems Administrator, Ben Hiibner, and Research Scientist, Sebastian Heath, both of whom provided technical support, and we are grateful to our Board and Deputy Director Andrew Meadows, who supported the project and offered feedback at critical points in the migration process. There are also many individuals who donate books, articles, and catalogs, and while too many to list here, I would like to list a handful of individuals where were especially active in the last year:

Jere Bacharach

Peter Bartlett

Frank Kovacs

William Piper

Anthony Terranova

David Alexander

Michael Bates

And many more!

I would also like to thank everyone who submitted an entry for the catalog naming contest and of course, all who make use of the catalog in the future.