Rare Book Monthly
The Collaborative Project Part III Resources Available For Book Collectors
By Michael Stillman
This marks the third month of the Americana Exchange’s “The Collaborative Project,” (TCP for short) and this time we have focused on providing a “how-to” guide. The Collaborative Project is a series of articles written by four collectors on staff here at the Æ. We have focused on four varied collections, and on how each of us is going about discovering new titles appropriate for our collections, and then locating the books themselves.
Of course, unless our interests overlap, you may not be that concerned about what we are collecting. However, the tools we all need to use to build our collections are the same. We have found some great resources and time-savers that will apply to your collecting as well our own. Think of us as four fellow collectors who are happy to share anything we have learned with you. And, if you have some tips we have missed, please write our Managing Editor so we can pass them on to others.
This month we discuss both resources available to Æ subscribers and those open to anyone via the internet. We start with Julie Carleton’s thorough “Using Library Research Methods and Catalogs As A Supplement To ÆD and Book Collecting.” Julie shows us how to use internet search engines, directories, Æ services, and library websites to locate obscure material for your collection. Her description of how to discover new material using library websites opens the door to a huge resource most people know little about. Since she has a Masters Degree in Library Science, Julie is very familiar with these resources, and she generously shares her knowledge with us. While we cannot fathom why anyone would not pay the minimal cost to subscribe to the Æ Database, for those who don’t, Julie shows you how to use some very useful free tools to build your collection.
In “So This Is Day One In The World Of Book Collecting,” Bruce McKinney presents an overview of the Æ's new MatchMaker software. This amazing invention enables you to find new material in your subject area and effortlessly post a list of titles you want to the 42-million strong Abebooks website for "matches". It then searches again and again, once every day, so that you will be first to know when a book you want is listed for sale. And no one will ever know that you’re looking! After you read Bruce’s overview, take a look at Abby Tallmer’s “Further Addicted: The Continuing Adventures of an Æ's 'Wants List' Junkie.” Abby gives us some specific examples of how she has used the new MatchMaker software. If you’re an Æ subscriber, you can use this MatchMaker software free until August 1. If not…now’s the time to join!
Finally, my own contribution, “Finding Early Works About The Oregon Trail,” will give you some tips on using the "Keyword" search in the Æ Database. "Keyword" searches can provide an enormous amount of material, sometimes too much. I’ve included some tips on how to target "Keyword" searches, and then use what you’ve found to find even more new material.