Exploring Trade Catalogs on Universal Design and Barrier-free Living

Monday, February 20, 2017

At the 2016 Grammy Awards show, Stevie Wonder issued an earnest charge to his audience: “We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability.” To a cataloger, the thought of providing access to every single thing may present a daunting challenge. But in the Published Collections Department at Hagley, as a means to this end we are applying a new workflow that helps to accelerate item-level processing of unique resources through teamwork.

The operation begins by inspecting a publication, identifying key bibliographic information, and entering those details into an electronic spreadsheet. A librarian then transforms that data into a machine-readable catalog record through an application called MarcEdit. After assigning subject headings, descriptive local notes, and a call number, the MARC record is exported into our online public access catalog.

Telecommunications device for the deaf
Telecommunications device for the deaf

At present, this process is helping us bring to light a collection of pamphlets and trade catalogs on universal design and barrier-free living. We are pleased to report that 143 titles have been added to our public access catalog from the personal collection of Richard Hollerith, a Philadelphia native and prominent figure in industrial design.

We expect to add dozens more on assistive technologies for people with mobility, hearing, or visual impairments. Many of these pieces were gathered by Hollerith while attending the international Hannover-Messe trade fair during the 1970’s and 1980’s. One particular resource introduces the upright, motorized, occupant-operated vehicle called the Moto-Stand.  Another example presents a TDD telecommunications device for the deaf.

We invite you to explore more catalogs from the Richard Hollerith collection with this link to our online public access catalog.


Alice Haines at the Technical Services Librarian at Hagley Museum and Library.