I have begun settling in to my work at the University of St Andrews. My first task at the project is to convert item location and copy information from the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (ISTC) into a form that can be used by the Universal Short Title Catalogue (USTC). To do this, I change the shorthand form of library names found in the ISTC to a uniform code that is easily indexed and searchable.
For example, a particular book from the 15th century may have surviving copies in “Roma Vall” and “Salzburg UB.” These translate to the Biblioteca Vallicelliana in Rome and the Library of the University of Salzburg, respectively. I then change the abbreviated name to the predetermined library code for each of those institutions. The challenge comes when the library listed in the ISTC record does not have a USTC library code. Often these are small religious libraries in churches or monasteries. I must then find the full name and location of these libraries and create a new code for them. “Fiecht, Benediktiner” becomes Benediktinerabtei St. Georgenberg-Fiecht in Stans, Austria. I have been making good use of my research and foreign language skills for this assignment!