Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2006 Issue

Web Catalogue: Premium Subscription Pt. II

Footnotedetails

Footnote details are interactive.


In Web Catalogue, in addition to providing logical and extensive presentation for selling, it becomes possible to post for research and discussion the accumulated records as a catalogue or catalogues that are searchable on the net based on every single word of text in the descriptions. This is the interesting and useful information that search engines constantly seek. This particular example is an academic collection of the printed works of Joel Munsell of Albany and it is an interactive presentation. The contents of this catalogue continue to develop every month and, with each change, the online presentation changes. It and other dealer/collector/academic presentations will in time be linked to library, research, and association sites. Web Catalogue simplifies the process opening extended access to thousands of dealers and tens of thousands of collectors. Private collections, that have long suffered from an inability to be shared and appreciated, may now be linked to any relevant site. For institutions, accepting such links is a way to support and encourage serious collecting and forge relationships that may someday bring a portion or all of the material to them as a gift. Both institutions and collectors need these relationships and this is an effective way to create book related communities electronically. Many dealers sell books as possessions but the best collectors own them as elements of intellectual life. Universities and associations should play an important part in these elaborating intellectual possibilities. Clearly both sides have reason to want this.

Book collectors tend to be older. They were not born to the computer and using it is often a trying experience. Today the median age in America is 35 and most book collectors blew out the candles on that cake some years ago. They need clear visibility and understandable software. They also need communication and an exchange of views. We and others will provide software. We alone provide comprehensive across-the-market day-to-day overview. Libraries and institutions may provide the leadership and mentoring; dealers material and perspective.

In stepping into this opportunity collectors will need to experience the day to day flow of material relating to their chosen subject for several months as it emerges on the net in MatchMaker to understand the process and gauge the relationship between price, condition and provenance. On the net you get to see it all but nothing prepares you for what you'll find. Your experience will inevitably be unique.

Web Catalogue is intended to meet the needs of the collector to accumulate, document and share; the researcher to evaluate; and the dealer to document, describe, upload and broadcast. It potentially serves all these requirements at the same time and permits individual record selection. A member can have 1,200 books listed for sale on Abe, Alibris and Zvab, and an active collection of 800 items of which 150 are part of a linked collection that an institution is including in an online presentation. When the collector adds a new item to the collection the institutional collection becomes 151.

For those who find this approach to book collecting and book selling of interest we encourage you to sign up for Premium Subscription for a year. The basic (Octavo level) cost is $240 and includes continuing support by email and telephone. If you are an existing member, log in to upgrade or if you have a question email me directly at bmckinney@americanaexchange.com. There has never been a better time.

[Link to catalogue]

Rare Book Monthly


Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions