How to read AMICUS records—Part 2

Our previous article on this topic explained how to decode an AMICUS record for books, documents and reports (monographs). Today’s article provides you with tips on decoding an AMICUS record for journals, magazines, newspapers or any type of ongoing publication (serials).

To help you better understand, the numbers on the image correspond to the fields described in the article.

Screen capture of the AMICUS full record with corresponding fields (source: AN1538070)

1. AMICUS No.: Keep track of this number! You will need it to request issues of the serial, whether you place a request for retrieval before visiting Library and Archives Canada (LAC) or once you are on site.

2. NLC (National Library Collection) Copies: Provides key information on which issues of the serial record are available in our collection. It is essential to distinguish between the LAC holdings for the serial found in NLC Copies (No. 2) and the description of the publishing history of the serial found in the Description (No. 3). The complete run of a serial is sometimes unavailable at LAC or may be available in a microform version. If a microform version exists, it will be included as a link in Relationships (No. 6).

The following punctuation marks are used to describe serial holdings:
Punctuation Mark Meaning Example
Hyphen  - An unbroken range of holdings v. 1-30 means the library has each issue of the serial from volumes 1 to 30 in its holdings.
Square brackets  [ ] Incomplete holdings [1950] means that holdings include some issues published in 1950.
Question mark  ? Uncertain holdings information v. 18-42? means that holdings may include volumes 18 to 42.
Slash  / A single physical item with two connected volumes v. 12/13 indicates that volumes 12 and 13 are contained in a single physical item.
Comma  , A gap in the holdings v. 1-3, 5 means the library has volumes 1 to 3 and 5 but not volume 4.
Semicolon  ; A publication break (not a gap) in the holdings v. 1-3; 5- indicates that after volume 3 the publisher jumped to 5 without publishing volume 4.

3. Description: Indicates when the serial began publication.

4. Frequency: Specifies how frequently the serial has been published over the years.

5. Notes: Offers additional information about the serial, such as where it has been indexed and its alternate titles.

6. Relationships: Provides links to related versions, for example, in other languages or in other formats, such as a journal available online or on microfilm. In this case, you will find a link to the online version of this journal held in our electronic collection.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

How to read AMICUS records—Part 1

Have you ever used our AMICUS library catalogue to try to find a book and were unsure about how to decode the information?

Here are tips on decoding an AMICUS record for books, reports or documents (monographs). To help you better understand, the numbers on the image correspond to the fields in the article.

Screen capture of the AMICUS full record with corresponding fields (source: AN 3041155)

1. AMICUS No.: Keep track of this number! You will need the AMICUS No., the name(s) of the author(s) and the title of the work to place a request for retrieval before visiting Library and Archives Canada (LAC) or once you are on site. Immediately below the AMICUS No., the type of record is specified; this tells you if the record is for a book, a report or a document (monograph), or a journal, a magazine, a newspaper or any type of ongoing publication (serial).

2. NLC (National Library Collection) Copies: Indicates the number of copies available at LAC. If you do not find NLC copies in the record, start your search over and make sure that you are searching the LAC catalogue only, not the entire database. As we are a closed stack library, the shelf location information is for internal purposes only and is not useful to you. Please note that preservation copies are presently unavailable.

3. Description: Tells you the number of pages and if the work contains illustrations or maps.

4: Notes: Provides additional information about the work, for example, other title information, additional information on the contents, whether it contains bibliographic references.

5. Relationships: Provides links to related versions of the work, for example, in other languages or in other formats, such as online or on microfiche.

6. Numbers and Classification: Generally of interest to other libraries only. The call numbers are suggestions for other libraries and are not LAC call numbers.

7. Subjects: Provides the standardized subject headings assigned to the work. Click on any subject heading to find additional materials on that topic.

Stay tuned for an upcoming article on how to read AMICUS records for journals, magazines, newspapers or any other type of ongoing publication (serials).

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

How to find photographs that are not yet available online – part two

Our previous article “How to find photographs that are not yet available online—part one” explained the best-case scenario for finding photographs that are not yet available online. But what happens when things don’t go that smoothly?

What if I find items that are close but not what I want?

If there are items in your search results that aren’t quite what you’re looking for, don’t despair. It’s quite possible that we have what you want, but that it hasn’t been described yet. The items that have already been described offer you a useful clue as to where those non-described items might be.

First, note the fonds, collection, or accession where each item is from and look at the field labelled “extent.” How many other photographs make up that collection? Perhaps there are more images relating to your topic.

Does the item have:

- an item number?
- a particular photographer?
- certain keywords?

Use variations of those keywords, item number and photographer’s name to do other online searches in Archives Search. If those don’t yield any results, try the finding aid related to each item, either online or on paper. See “How to find photographs that are not yet available online—part one” for tips on using the finding aid.

What if the finding aid is not online or the finding aid is only available in paper?

If you find a fonds, collection, or accession that seems relevant to your research but that doesn’t have an electronic finding aid, look to see if it has a paper one. If it does, you can visit us at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa, to have a closer look at it. If there is no reference to a paper finding aid, then you have to search through the boxes from that collection. If you cannot come to Ottawa, you can contact our reference staff for guidance, or you may wish to hire a freelance researcher.

With more than 25 million images, chances are we have your “perfect shot.” You just have to find it!

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

How to find photographs that are not yet available online – part one

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has more than 25 million photographs, one of the largest archival photographic collections in the world. To make these collections more accessible, LAC has undertaken an ongoing project to digitize them, including photographic material. Currently, some images are already digitized and described at the item-level in our Archives Search database.

Given the cost and complexity of describing and digitizing fragile archival images, photographs are described and digitized only when they are requested by users. So, if you are looking for that unique, one-of-a-kind archival photo that no one else has requested (e.g., UFO, Big Foot or Ogopogo), you better start digging!

Begin by checking what has already been described. Follow the steps outlined in our past article: “How to find photographs online” to get a sense of the type of photographs that already exist on your topic, individual, or location.

If those searches do not yield what you’re looking for, it’s time to dig deeper. This is where archival research meets detective work! Remember, from now on we’re talking about photographs that have not been digitized, so you will not be able to view the image before ordering it or visiting LAC.

Keyword Search

In Archives Search, after selecting “Photographic Material” under “TYPE OF MATERIAL” you can enter key words in the search box. Get creative with the key words; archival documents are often titled using the creator’s own language. Narrow your search by using the “ADVANCED SEARCH” features.

You may end up with image search results that aren’t exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t panic. This list is just the beginning of your journey into deeper archival research. It’s fun, trust us!

Fonds/Collections/Accessions

Have you found archival records, including photographs and textual records, all jumbled together? These groupings are called fonds or accessions or sometimes collections. This is a high-level description of an entire grouping of material, usually based on the source of the original donation.

Check out the extent field and see how many photographs are listed there. Read the descriptions carefully and see if the material described relates to the photographs you’re looking for.

They do? Great!

Now, read the description again and see if there is a finding aid.

There is? Good!

Now see if it’s electronic and attached to the description in Archives Search.

It is? Fantastic!

Open it up and see if it provides a listing of the contents of the fonds, collection, or accession.

It does? Wonderful!

Locate the box that you think contains the image you’re looking for, based on the contents of the finding aid, and order the box by following the steps outlined in our article “How to consult material that is not yet available online.”

But what happens if things don’t go this smoothly? Our next article on this topic will provide more tips from our experts on what to do. Stay tuned!

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

How to Consult Material that Is Not Yet Available Online

For Archival Material – Use Archives Search

When searching for archival material (i.e., diaries, photographs etc.), use Archives Search. You will be able to search database records, known as “archival descriptions”. Sometimes the contents of the record have not yet been digitized. When this is the case, use one of the following methods to consult the material:

  • In person at 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa: Please order any material that you may require, at least five days prior to your visit, by using our Request for Retrieval of Documents Form.
  • Via interlibrary loan*: If the material you require is available in microfilm format, you may borrow the microfilm reel(s) by interlibrary loan. Locate the alpha-numeric reference number, indicated in the archival description (e.g., C-1234) and provide this number to your local librarian.
  • Ordering reproductions: If you require an item in our collection that has not yet been digitized, follow the steps outlined in our blog post: “How to Order Digitized Reproductions and Help Build the Digital Collection” to order reproductions.

For Published Material – Use Library Search/AMICUS

When searching for published material (i.e., books, newspapers, etc.), use either our Library Search or, for more search features, use our AMICUS catalogue. The search results will often be database records (known as “bibliographic records”) and not full-text online documents. There are three ways you may consult the material:

  • In person at 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa: You may order published materials in advance of your visit. Please contact us by telephone and select option 8 in the automated menu. You may request up to five items per day.
  • Via interlibrary loan*: Most published items can be borrowed by interlibrary loan through your local library. Please provide your librarian with the item’s AMICUS number.
  • Ordering reproductions: If you require an item in our collection that has not yet been digitized, follow the steps outlined in our blog post: “How to Order Digitized Reproductions and Help Build the Digital Collection” to order reproductions. Please note that copyright protection may limit what we can reproduce.

(*) Update: End of Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Services

ILL services at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will end in December 2012. Users of LAC‘s current services should note the following dates:

  • November 13, 2012: End of loan requests from international libraries.
  • November 16, 2012: End of renewals. All items loaned after this date will be non-renewable.
  • December 11, 2012: End of loan requests, location searches, and ILL-related photocopying services.

LAC‘s ILL listserv (CANRES-L) and Canadian Library Gateway will also be archived in December 2012.

LAC will continue to facilitate interlibrary loan activities among other institutions through the ILL form in AMICUS, and through ongoing administration of Canadian Library Symbols.

Through our modernized service channels, LAC will emphasize increased digital access to high-demand content. LAC is working with Canada’s ILL user community in order to inform this approach to accessing the institution’s unique holdings.

For more information, please visit “Interlibrary Loan at Library and Archives Canada“.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!