Ghost Busters: Eliminating non-existent STC numbers for Early English Books

Revision as of 09:54, 15 July 2019 by ErinBlake (talk | contribs) (→‎General instructions: Updated to current 541$e procedure)

This project was designed initially for participants in the University of Michigan School of Information's Alternative Spring Break program, and will be carried on until completed. Students will handle rare books dating to the 16th and early 17th century in order to update call numbers in the book and in the online catalog to the current standard, eliminating "ghost" call numbers. They will become familiar with rare book handling, the Voyager ILS cataloging module, the STC classification system, and the history of handpress era books. This project will have a significant impact on scholars' ability to use the Folger collection effectively.

Note:These instructions were modified in June 2019 to account for the change from paper call slips, and the change to where accession number is recorded. See the "History" tab for the instructions as they were at the time the 2016 University of Michigan Alternative Spring Break students worked on the project.

See List of call number changes for these and other updated numbers.


The Collation post New STC call numbers for old describes the vexing consequence to the Folger when the 1986, second edition of STC provided completely renumbered entries. Too, there is also the occasional title, edition, or issue owned by the Folger but unknown when the first edition was published, so that Folger catalogers had to devise a number that would put them in the correct sequence on the shelf. When the 2nd edition of the STC appeared, these books received official STC numbers that often did NOT correspond with the number devised by a Folger cataloger. For example, the book with call number "STC 22459.2" on the shelf has the STC (2nd ed.) number "22459a.5".

Participants in this project will reclassify (change the call number of) STC books as needed so that they correspond to their numbered entry in STC (2nd edition).

Project Outcomes

At the end of the week, participants will have handled a significant number of rare books and associated catalog records, allowing us to accurately predict the amount of time it will take to change the call numbers for all STC books with call numbers that do not match STC 2nd edition numbers. More importantly for researchers, at the end of the project the online catalog and the books themselves will display the standard STC number for each title, eliminating a huge source of confusion.

Required Skills and Abilities

Must be able to handle fragile material safely, work at a computer for an extended period of time, follow technical instructions, and work with accuracy and meticulous attention to detail.


Retrieving Books

  1. Go to the vault, accompanied by someone with vault access
  2. Pull each book; check to see if there is a photostat next to it; if so, pull photostat as well, and write "+ ph" on the call sips
  3. Leave "Shelf slip" for the book on the shelf
  4. Put remiaining slip inside the book
  5. Once you have a truck full of books, bring it upstairs

Editing the Voyager Record

General instructions

  1. Search Voyager Cat module using the "Keyword" Tab or the "Index Selection" tab
    1. Click the "Limit" button of the dialog box.
    2. Click the "Location" menu
    3. Select "Deck B-STC Vault"
    4. Check the box to "Retain search limits between searches" and click "OK"
    5. Enter search in text box with all search characters enclosed in quotation marks, e.g., "STC 20441"
    6. If more than one record shows up, set the book aside to deal with later (multiple bib records indicate that there is more than one title bound in the volume; we will deal with the "bound withs" as a batch.
  2. Open the Bib record and the associated Holdings record (Use Window > Tile to show them side-by-side)
  3. In the holdings record, change 852 1st indicator to "8" if necessary (Update: as of 2017, this should no longer be necessary: everything was changed by machine. The problem originated with accession records using the default 1st indicator "0", which is only appropriate for open stacks new accessions).
  4. Copy the STC (2nd ed.) number from the 510$c of the Bib record
  5. Paste it into a new 852$h in the Holding record (the "MFHD") and add the copy number, if necessary
  6. Change $h to $d for old call number, keeping the copy number, if present
  7. If book is shelved in the "folio" or "flat" shelving add a subfield $m and write "(folio)" or "(flat)"
  8. If necessary, create a 541 1_ $e field and move accession number from 852$z into 541$e. Remove period from the end of the accession number. Convert any accession dates from xx/xx/xx format to xx.xx.xx format. If there is no accession number, write "No case or accession number present"
  9. Find the 852 in the bib record (if there are multiple copies, make sure you get the right one)
  10. Copy and paste the MFHD 541 and 852 into the Bib record
  11. Delete the 876 from the Bib record
  12. Add binding height to the 300$c: round up to the nearest centimeter, put a space between the number and the "cm" symbol (for bindings less than 10 cm high, measure in mm)
  13. Put format in parentheses and (if necessary) change abbreviation (e.g. change from $c 12⁰. to $c 13 cm (12mo). Common format abbreviations: fol. 4to8vo 12mo 32mo (see Bibliographic format for a full list)
  14. Add a 583 with first indicator "0" to the Bib record, for statistical purposes; change number of pieces from "1" to however many flags you need to make, if more than one; update the month when needed. 583 0_ ‡a upgraded ‡c 2016-08 ‡k EJE ‡n 1 ‡o piece ‡x Ghost Busters project ‡2 local ‡5 DFo

Special cases

  • Do not change any call numbers for Shakespeare 's works (First Folio, Second Folio, and the various quartos, all shelved separately from the rest of the STCs)
  • If the STC has a corresponding microfilm, change the microfilm record as follows: "$z Microfilm of STC *new number*, formerly STC *old number*, etc. "
  • If the STC has an Awaiting Conservation flag, open the Conservation Database (through File Maker Pro) and change the call number to "STC *new number*, formerly STC *old number*"
    • If the STC appears to need conservation attention, but can safely be re-shelved, re-shelve the book as normal after taking any preservation measures that can be taken by the ghost buster without further damaging the books (e.g. secure with a quick tie or place in a acid-free sling and folder).
    • If returning it to the shelf would likely cause further damage, give the item to the Curatorial Assistant.
    • Ask the project supervisor at any time about the best course of action if unsure.
  • If multiple holdings records need to be combined into one (e.g. because what were once considered separate titles are now considered part 1 and part 2 of the same title):
    • Re-work the holding that's being kept to include any copy-specific information that only applied to the holding that's no longer needed.
    • Add information about the change, e.g. "Part 2 formerly identified as Folger *old number*."
    • Type "SUPPRESSED" at the start of the 852$h of the holding that's no longer needed
    • Check the "Suppress from OPAC" box near top left of the holding that's no longer needed
  • If multiple bib records have the same STC number in the 510, do not make any changes. Instead, put the books on the Problem Truck and notify the Senior Cataloger. It is usually because the printed STC entry does not distinguish between editions, issues, or states, but that has to be decided by examining the books and records in question.
  • If the holding has a LUNA link, notify the Metadata Specialist of the call number change (e.g. email the Bib ID) [Update: as of July 5, 2016, Ghost Buster being trained to make the change]

Physical Processing

  1. Copy and paste new call number into the flag template Word document
    • If the existing flag for the book has any special notes (e.g. tour notes, "Do not microfilm," etc.), preserve that information on the new flag.
  2. Double-check that you have the right book
  3. Open the book to the back and find the old call number
  4. Using a dull-ish extra soft ("1" or "B") pencil (to avoid poking a hole in the paper) draw a line through the old call number
  5. Write the new call number in the upper outer corner of the back of the book (check with Erin or Deborah if there isn't an obvious good spot to write it)
  6. On the old flag, cross out the old number and write in the new one
  7. Trim flag to size and insert in book

Checking changes

Once changes have been made, another team member should check that flags and call numbers match, and call number is legible:

  1. Check the back of the book for the changed call number and make sure it is correct. If there is an exhibition slip, correct the call number on that as well
  2. Keep old flag in book until re-shelving in case it needs to be used as a place holder for a book sent to the holding area for overflow.


  1. Shelve book in its new spot (if there's no room, use the flag as scrap paper: write the width of the book on it, add the note "shelved in STC holding area"; leave the flag in a dummy at the new spot; shelve the book in the holding area)
  2. Behead the old flag so you'll know it's done
  3. Use the carbon to find the original original
  4. Pull the original original
  5. Put the paired carbon and original next to each other in a dummy so that they stay in order, and so that any carbons where the originals haven't been pulled stay separate
  6. Write "Now <new call number>" on the original
  7. Stamp in the original and the carbon
  8. File the original and the carbon

Final check

Project supervisor:

  1. Export all holdings updated since the previous Ghost Busters run using the Voyager web interface (remember to ignore suppressed records and convert character set to Latin 1)
  2. Copy the resulting file from the server to Cataloging > Ghost Busters > Quality Control

Ghost buster:

  1. Select the file in MarcEdit and export 001, 004, 852$d, 852$k, 852$h, 852$m, 852$j, 852$z as tab-delimited (import "MFHD-settings.txt" as the settings; see Folger Tooltips: Making a spreadsheet from raw Hamnet data for more on exporting tab-delimited information with MarcEdit)
  2. Open the tab-delimited file in Excel
    1. Filter the 852$h column for cells that do not contain "STC":
      1. Scroll through to identify problem rows (e.g. where there's an STC number in the $d but not $h)
      2. Fix problem records in Voyager (shortcut to search by MFHD: alt - r - i - h) and Excel
    2. Filter the 852$h for cells that contain "STC" and that contain a semicolon (or pipe, or whatever in-subfield delimiter was chosen in MarcEdit)
      1. Identify records with a duplicate $h
      2. Fix records with duplicate $h in Voyager and Excel
    3. Filter the 852$h for cells that contain "STC":
      1. Look for blanks in the 852$d column (don't filter for blanks: it's helpful to see the pattern of surrounding data)
      2. Make corrections in Voyager and Excel if needed (it might just be an STC holding that happens to have been edited for some other reason)

(Changes are made in both Voyager and Excel so that the Excel spreadsheet can be used as the source for Folgerpedia's "Call number changes" list).