Case study: Cataloging historical collections

At the National Library of Education

The need: Thousands of historic volumes inaccessible to researchers

While serving as the Federal government’s primary center for educational research and information, the National Library of Education also holds an extensive historical collection. The collection includes over 20,000 textbooks and other volumes primarily from the 19th to early 20th century, many of which are irreplaceable. Until now, this valuable resource for educational history in the United States has been inaccessible to researchers as these items have not been fully inventoried or cataloged.

The solution: Historical textbook cataloging

Working with NLE colleagues, the LAC team created and began implementing a three-year plan that includes a process for assessing the condition of each book, providing appropriate treatment and rehousing of volumes in poor condition and cataloging each item. The collection will be promoted to the academic community to enhance the study of American educational history.