Goodbye to Tech Services

Today was the last day of my internship in Tech Services which means this will be my last post. Since late September I have spent 120 hours learning everything I could about Tech services and how books are organized and cataloged at Anschutz Health Sciences Library two and a half hours at a time and I’ve shared some of what I’ve learned with you.  Most of my time was spent going through boxes of books donated when the Denver Medical Library (DML) closed. Any book that was donated but we already had a copy of was not added to the collection, but any books not already part of Anschutz collection I cataloged and processed. Weather it was cataloged or weeded I removed a cataloging card from every book I worked with. This picture is every cataloging card I removed.


Some of the books I cataloged during my internship are now on display in the second floor rotunda. Three of the items on display in the rotunda are pamphlets that I digitized in addition to cataloging. The Health Science Library is part of Mountain Scholar which is the home site where a collection of Universities keep their digital archives. The whole of Anschutz digital collection can be accessed here.  The three items I digitized are Colorado Some Pictures and a Few Facts which is the program for the 51st American Medical Association meeting which happened in Denver in 1898, and includes a picture of the CU Boulder campus in 1898. Division of Venereal Disease published by the Colorado State Board of Health in 1923 and contains the laws of the state on the treatment, quarantine, and required reporting practices of Colorado. And Standardization of Blood Pressure Readings which was published in 1939 by the American Heart Association and the Cardiac Association of Great Britain and Ireland. In addition to acting as a digital archives for special collections Mountain Scholar also has Thesis and Dissertations from past Anschutz students.


Display of DML Donations

I have learned a lot during my time in Tech Services, and hopefully these blog posts have taught you a bit more about how the library functions and maybe even about the resources available to you through the library.

More about Tech Services

This post will take a closer look at what happens when a book is ordered and give more of an inside look at what Tech Services does in the library. Some books are ordered because someone recommended that it be ordered, other books are ordered because we have a standing order and get the newest edition every time a book of that title is published. There are some rules about who can do what when a book is ordered to prevent fraud with government funds. The person who orders the book cannot pay for the book or catalog the book. The person who pays for the book can’t order or catalog the book, and the person who catalogs the book can’t have ordered or paid for the book.

Once a book has been delivered it needs to be parred to be added to the library. To prepare the book for circulation someone checks to see if there is an already built catalog record for the book that they can use. If there is an already created record often times it still needs updating. If no record exists then the cataloger can create a new one. Once the record is created for the item a different record called a bibliographic or bib record this record contains information about what collection the book is stored in and what the call number is, basic information to make locating the item easier. After the bib record is made an item record is created that has information about when the book was entered into the system, a record of the payment for the book and the barcode, which are all item specific the bib record could be used for multiple copies of the same book but each one would get a new item record.

After the book has been cataloged which includes putting in the barcode it is prepared to go on the shelf, a barcode sticker is added, the book is stamped with Health Science Library, and some of the collections have book plates that are also added to books that belong in those collections. Once the book is cataloged and processed it is ready to go on the shelf.

In addition to shelf space in the library Anschutz stores some of its collection off site at the Preservation and Access Service Center for Colorado Academic Libraries or PASCAL. PASCAL stores books for all of the CU libraries but is located on the Anschutz campus. Each book in PASCAL gets a barcode that indicates exactly where it is locates including section, shelf, tray, and finally position in the box. Because of this every book in PASCAL can be located using only it’s barcode. Any book stored in PASCAL can easily be requested by students, staff or faculty and will be delivered to their home library for pick up. As part of my practicum I was able to visit PASCAL and see just how it functions.


This is a picture of one of the rows of books at PASCAL and the cherry picker they use to reach the books. This is just one of the many rows they have, and each shelf is two boxes deep with books.