The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s largest independent research libraries, has announced that its Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC), a database containing some 246,400 records of books, serials, pamphlets, manuscripts, and graphics in its collection, is available for public use. The OPAC can be accessed with online computers inside or outside the Historical Society’s Philadelphia library through its web site: www.hsp.org.
“This electronic catalog vastly increases the accessibility of our priceless historical materials to researchers here in Philadelphia and around the world,” said President David Moltke-Hansen.
The OPAC has been in planning and development for four years. It combines records from three pre-existing databases–OCLC (books, pamphlets and serials), RLIN (collection-level manuscript records) and BibBase (graphics)—and one database created by electronically scanning thousands of cards in the Society’s main card catalog and genealogical card catalog and converting information on the images into digital form. The $500,000 project was undertaken with financial support from The Barra Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Library Services and Technology Act through the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Libraries.
Users of the OPAC can search for records in several ways. They can browse for “terms” including titles, authors, and subjects; search for key words, by publication date, or by identification numbers such as International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs). Researchers can also command the OPAC to display the records in various ways, ranging from a traditional card-catalog format to more complex and detailed forms. Orientations to the OPAC are available upon request to the library’s reference staff.
Founded in 1824 in Philadelphia, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is one of the oldest historical societies in the United States and holds historical materials of national importance. It is one of the largest family history libraries in the nation, has excellent printed collections on local and regional history, and offers a manuscript collection renowned for its 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century holdings. These collections are used not only by historians and genealogists, but also by set and costume designers, journalists, script and fiction writers, actors and re-enactors, as well as researchers of historical dance, recipes, music, gardens, and many others.
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215 732-6200 Ext. 246
Fax: 215 732-2680 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the website at http://www.hsp.org
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