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Paul Machlis <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 20 Jun 1994 14:52:07 -0700
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Dear forum members:

Some of you will recall a questionnaire more than two years ago about a
"Union Catalog of Clemens Writings" along the lines of my two Union
Catalogs for letters by and letters to SLC.  Although I did compile the
results of that survey, I was forced to put aside the work of the catalog
itself because of heavy demands here at UC Santa Cruz, where early
retirements and budget cuts have increased workload tremendously.

I've promised Taylor that I would give you a brief update on the three
catalogs.  First, I consider it a high priority to put both UCCL and UCLC
online in some form.  Unfortunately, I don't think that loading the
databases on a gopher system using WAIS searching would be a service to
anyone, so I am investigating ways to bundle the databases with some
relational database software, possibly something in the public domain.
Ideally, I would be able to find some library system that would be
willing to carry the two catalogs, and that would be accessible through
the internet.  If anyone has experience or ideas that would help get
these two catalogs up and available, please let me know, as I hardly
consider myself an expert in these things.

For your information, the total in the Clemens Letters database is now
10791, about 500 more than when UCCL was published in 1986.  UCLC has
18409, the same as when published.

Second, I am proceeding with the third catalog, albeit at a very slow
pace.  I've purchased software for creating records in the MARC format
(which I had previously determined to be the best way to go), and will
this summer create a test batch. More than 100 people responded to the
survey (about 400 forms were sent out) and the overall response was that
the document-specific information (letterhead, paper, ink, watermark,
etc.) and the content-specific information (subject, characters) were
indeed less essential than the more typical bibliographical/archival
information (titles, dates, places, repository, etc.)  I plan to create a
record structure with slots for all the information, but only to record
the higher-priority information at present.

At any rate, I welcome comments or suggestions about these catalogs, and
will meanwhile be plugging away at making the first two available on the
internet.  Sincerely, Paul Machlis