Relocating Translated Fiction in the Oxford Union Society
Why relocate translated fiction?
We want to make all literature published in English more visible to our
members; particularly our collection of foreign fiction translated into English. All
British and American fiction is kept in an independent collection in a separate room.
It is catalogued, and sorted alphabetically by the classmark ‘EF.’ plus the first three
letters of author’s surname. It is a popular section in which members often browse.
Co-locating all fiction in English would make it more accessible to a greater number
of members. It would also be in keeping with how English fiction, regardless of its
original language, is displayed in public libraries and bookshops.
Moreover, I chose this project to gain more experience in collections
Where are the translated fiction books?
Currently, translated fiction is kept in the Old Library and the Stack in the main
Dewey sequence. Literature in DDC is grouped by language then form and then
period. So translations are not found together but with original language texts,
criticism and/or contemporaneous works.
I used two methods to locate translated fiction:
I requested a list of all items that had ‘f’/‘j’/‘l’ at #33, and ‘eng’ at #35-7 in the
008 MARC field from Sara Burnell. This showed all items in the library
catalogued as fiction in English.
I ran pieces reports in GEAC to list all items in each modern foreign language
group from the beginning of fiction (8*3) to the end and whittled down the
Who will be affected?
This will affect all members of the Oxford Union, and those studying modern
foreign languages especially. With the support of Library Committee, I launched an
online survey to gauge members’ reactions. 105 members took part and 72% were
in favour of the move. It helped to publicise the current collections and the proposed
move. We published the results online and via Committee minutes.
We will need to publicise the change again – inhouse, in Committee and
online - when the move is complete.
How will I move the books?
After locating all translated fiction, I shall log each book on a spreadsheet. It
will record each item’s barcode, old classmark and sublocation, title, author, and its
new classmark and sublocation. I shall send this to OLIS Help and they will switch
all items to their new classmarks and sublocations.
I shall relabel and reshelve the books, and change signage accordingly.
Moving the books en masse will cause less disruption and give me a clear idea of
how many non-fiction books need to be relocated to the Old Library to
accommodate the translated fiction.
How can we measure the move’s success?
I shall record a sample group of both translated and English fiction and list
items’ barcodes, old and new classmarks, and circulation statistics pre-move in
another spreadsheet. Subsequent trainees can log the circulation statistics of those
items for that year and compare the results.
Adrienne Cooper, Oxford Union Society Library