Rare Book Monthly
Articles - September - 2010 Issue
Brought to You by the Letters A and B
By Bruce McKinney
Material for the AED: A million dealer records
The AED, the Americana Exchange Database, the largest collection of auction records for the books, manuscripts, maps and ephemera fields online and for that matter, ever assembled, currently includes 2.7 million full text records, and will surpass four million as we add ever more extensive files of older auctions. We will also add a million records selected from our archives of ten million dealer records. They are contained in eighteen to twenty-one thousand dealer catalogues we have acquired over the past twenty years from dealers, collectors and institutions. We are now in the process of creating a master list of the dealers whose material we hold.
The majority are random copies of dealers whose cataloguing careers were brief. For many we have the only copies. For other dealers we have extensive, even complete, runs. Deciding where to start shall to some extent be influenced by member preferences. There are various potential approaches.
 Selecting by category;
 Selecting by era;
 Selecting by completeness;
 Selecting according to the relative importance of the dealer;
 Selecting according to the narrative style and accuracy of descriptions;
 Entering representative catalogues of all dealers that their involvement and contributions will be remembered.
To date we have organized dealer catalogues alphabetically and are identifying the number of catalogues we have for each dealer. It's a big job. This month we are listing those within the letters A, F and B [to Br]. We are interested in reader and member input as to what and how to select. We will, in time, organize all letters of the alphabet.