Pre site decisions log- part 1

Hello! Well, the Long Haul Zine Archive Catalog is finally up online, thanks to some help from our special Drupal friend. We wanted to post our decisions log as the first blog post because, well, we are proud that we had the foresight to have made it. We tried to keep notes on the decisions we made and why, so that anyone who gets involved in the project in the future can have a better understanding things, and all just in case any interested parties might want to know. It got pretty long, so we'll break it up into different parts. This first part will be for initial cataloging decisions! Exciting stuff!
*note: this is the decisions log, not the explanation of how things currently are, so just because it says something below doesn't mean we didn't decide otherwise at some later point. Hopefully those later decisions also got noted...

Long Haul Zine Archive Organizational Progression

- In January, 2010, Bob & Chelsea decided to realphabetize and catalog using an Open Office database (initially).
-Decided that the following fields would be included in the database (these are transcribed directly from the notebook in which we’ve been logging work done and decisions made):

-Title: Self-explanatory

-Author/ Editor/ Publisher: Use whichever is most relevant- this requires some discretion. If it is a zine by one person, use their name. If it is a newsletter of an organization, use the name of the organization. If it is a magazine/ paper/ journal with one editor or consistent Editor-in-chief, use that/ Try seeing who they ask you to send mail to, and think “whose ideas are these”. Who might a patron of the library search for in the database if they forgot the name of the publication?
Format is: last name, first name.
Examples: Williams, Hank
Williams, Hank and Watts, Matilda
Williams, Hank et al.
The Hank Williams Foundation

Subjects: Use subject names from the list (see below) as many as seem necessary to describe what the zine is about, separated by commas.

Anarchism Health
Poetry Queer
Direct Action LGBTQ
Activism Wingnuttery
Gender/ Feminism Non-Violence
Insurrection Fiction
Pan African/ Black Studies Spirituality/ Religion
Labor Sex/ Sexuality
Crime & Punishment (Anti-)globalizaton
Marxism/ Communism Travel
Media Perzine
Art Fanzine
Energy Ecology
(Anti-)War Comix
(Anti-)Capitalism Cookzine
Education Philosophy
Socialism Youth/ Children
Indigenous Struggles Green
Prison Writing Transportation
Local Politics Bicycles
Humor DIY
Grafitti/ Street Art Squatting
Wingnuttery Race/ Racism
Animal Liberation History
International Computers/Technology
Anti-Civ Drugs
Economics/ Political Economy Communal Living

Bay Area
Europe Asia
Latin America
The Northwest
* Anytime a zine is about a certain place, name that place as specifically and clearly as possible in this field.

** To ensure the best search results for people who use this catalog, please try and stick to this list in terms of spelling and phrasing and which terms you use. The more different ways of saying the same subject end up getting entered in, the less relevant zines will come up if someone searches for a subject.

Place Published: City, 2 letter state abbreviation or City, Country. If available.

Date Published: Year, Month/ Season, Day(s). Use whatever is available in the zine, sticking with how they write it.

Format: There are already agreed-upon formats, just type in one of these:

-Full Size Photocopy
-Half Size Photocopy
-Mini ( -Magazine: bound, full (ish) size, generally periodical.
- Newspaper: folded newsprint
- Pamphlet: bound non-photocopied non-periodical materials.
-Book: bound, published books (...?)
-Newsletter: folded, maybe photocopied full size print, generally non-stapled. Or, anything that self-identifies as a newsletter.
Volume: Volume #. If the publication uses a volume subnumber separate from issue #, put it after the decimal point. (E.g. Volume 4. No.3, Issue 137 → Volume entry is 4.3)

Issue: Issue #, self explanatory.

# of Pages: Self explanatory.

# of copies: We were previously keeping all copies of zines and making a note in this field of how many copies we have, but have since decided to set aside extra copies in a box called “Dups” (duplicates), in hopes that we can trade them with other infoshops or do something cool like that with them.

Location in Collection: Previously we were just putting “main collection” and reserving this for later when we might have separate exhibits or special collections, but we have since decided to reorganize by subject to aid in browsing, with general box categories (following Robert Street Centre's Anchor Zine Archive in Halifax, Nova Scotia). These will be singular subjects assigned to each zine that represent the best place to put them for browsing. Because many zines cannot be really described by just one subject heading, we have this field for noting the box subject where they are being kept in addition to the subject field where we can assign multiple subjects as necessary to more fully describe each zine. See the LONG HAUL BOX CATEGORIES document in google docs for a full list.

To use the database: the database was on Open Office stored on a thumb drive, but we decided to keep it as a google doc so that people can access it from multiple computers at once. So to access it, you’ll need to get an email invitation from someone that already has access so that you can log in with your email and password. Then, you’ll be able to access it with your email and password from whatever computer you have access to whenever you need to.

Decisions we made about alphabetizing & cataloging protocols (in January 2010)

-Articles (examples: A, The) at the beginning of a zine title go after a comma.
Ex: Abolition of Work, The. (So this would get alphabetized as “A”, not “T”).

-Articles later in the title (not the first word) are considered in alphabetizing.
Ex: “Anarchism: And...” comes before “Anarchism: Black...” alphabetically.

-If the title is an acronym, it is alphabetized by the entire words in the acronym.
Ex: ABCF is alphabetized as if it were
Anarchist Black Cross Florida

-If the first word of the title of a zine is 1 letter (ex; A Infos Bulletin, Z Magazine) it goes before “a” as the second letter.
Ex: “Z Magazine” goes before “Zap Magazine”.
In this instance, use a single quote to indicate that it’s a word.
Ex: ‘A’ Infos Bulletin
‘Z’ Magazine

-Date field is entered by year first , [comma] month(s)/ quarter, then day.
Ex: 1990, November 8
1995, April-August
2002, Spring/ Summer

-Subjects are assigned based on a list of subjects. Multiple subjects can be assigned as needed. Separate each subject listed by a comma when you enter them into the field.

Tip from Bob (February 2010): Copy & Paste! For cataloging multiple issues of a publication- if the publication and subject information doesn’t change, you can just copy & paste all of those fields and just add in the dates/ vol/ issue to suit each issue.

on 3/18/2011 I wrote in the notebook and titled it “big ideas!”:
-Shouldn’t we consider reorganizing by subject? (We since have, as you now know).
-Drupal! It looks like it’ll be our catalog software with help of Aragorn! (seek out other Drupal people with more free time?). Still need to confirm with collective.
-Basing a lot of design decisions on Robert Street Social Centre’s Anchor Zine Archive (In Halifax, Nova Scotia).
-more stuff that is no longer relevant about book fair).

*Notes on this: at about this point and time, Eliot and I (Chelsea) discussed reorganizing by subject. Our logic was that, because by our approximate calculations the archive houses about 15,000 zines, to be able to browse at all if they are all alphabetized would just be really overwhelming. If they are organized by subject in some way, however, browsing would be easier/ more enjoyable/ more inviting. We could maintain the sanctity of our catalog records to make up for the shortcomings of organizing by subject (eg keeping comprehensive subject lists in each record in addition to the box subject category). With some discussion, we decided to go ahead with it.


1. Advanced search- each field is searchable
2. Title, author/ editor/publisher, subjects, place published, date published, format, volume, issue number, location in collection
3. Browsable subjects, maybe a ‘word cloud’ (not sure what this means?), Related terms, NT, BT...
4. No log in or patron records
5. Possibility of adding tags or saving a list for patrons?
6. Simple spreadsheet layout
7. Online/ can be taken offline
8. Import google docs spreadsheets
9. Having catalog parties: Multiple catalogers at once.

On June 10, 2011 Robert Eggplant wrote a great spiel about the archive and his thoughts- I don’t have time right now to transcribe the whole thing but maybe one day I will. It’s in the notebook if you want to see it otherwise... (Note: Robert had previously been zine archive steward at the Long Haul)

7/26/2011 To Do (besides assigning categories/ cataloging)
1. Alphabetize in finished subject boxes
2. Make flyer (for the orientation, this is no longer relevant)
3. Outreach & Make friends (still relevant)
4. Categorize all the already cataloged zines: As, Bs, Cs (some of them)
5. Blog & Update the website: If you like a zine a lot, write something about it on the website
- add/ link to site: catalog
- add/ link to site: decisions made (that would be this)
- add to site- subject list
- photos/ scans- possibility?
6. Preservation- plastic? Anti-mold? boxes?
7. Scanning?
8. Grant/ $?

10/16/2011 To Do

1. Move Bs (now finished!) to archive shelves
2. Decide what to do about Cs, because actually we categorized maybe half of them already but they are mixed in with the multi-letter categorized zines that we set aside to deal with later when we decided to start working letter by letter. Should we go through those boxes and pull out the Cs now?
3. Set up empty category boxes for Cs

1/17/2012 ***UPDATES***

-I moved some records for zines starting with “D” from the “#” tab in the Zine Archive google docs spreadsheets- to clarify, there is a spreadsheet for each letter plus one at the beginning for zines with # titles- you can move between each page (spreadsheet per letter) with the tabs you see at the bottom of the page when you open the catalog. Make sure you open the right letter when you are cataloging zines.

-I met with a friend, Matt O today to discuss building an online catalog using Drupal (he works with Drupal for work). I am really excited because he said to build an online catalog similar to the Anchor Archive one would be pretty easy AND he says that the work we’ve done so far in terms of having well-organized information will make it even easier to get together. He said he will take a stab at beginning to build it on Thursday or Friday and that he’ll get back to me with any questions. If there are major decisions to be made I want to try and give everyone a chance to feedback as much as possible so please feel free to give your input. Also, if you want more info about this part of the project in general just let me know and I’d be happy to explain everything I know.

2/28/2012 Updates/ To DO

-Stella and I decided to change the “Direct Action” zine from ANR to DAC- in fact, BOTH of the Direct Action zines to DAC (there are 2 zines with this title, one from England and one from Livermore). We also worked on the box categories a bit.
Stella had an idea she passed on from Roberts Street to print paper cataloging forms and put them in a cataloging packet, in hopes of making the cataloging process easier for n00bs to dive in to. We made some copies of them and might edit a bit and they should be good to go soon!
They will contain:
-Cataloging form (with blanks for all of the fields in the spreadsheet), a copy of the new zine thesaurus, borrowed, maybe modified (still need to do this) from Roberts street, a how to use the zine thesaurus page, a copy of the box categories (need to make copies), and a consolidated how to page that Stella is working on.
This should be exciting, and hopefully we can be more efficient with cataloging this way as we continue to get more people to come work on it! To clarify, using the forms will mean someone will have to batch enter them into the computer at some point...

Matt O has been working with us on setting up a Drupal site and so far he has the skeleton down pretty solid- now he mostly just needs to load in the records we have so far (everything in the spreadsheet) and see how well it works! My job is to do the design which is going to be awesome, Sarah drew a really, really cool thing we’ll use as a header and background for the site, so basically it feels like we just need to piece it all together, and then hopefully the excitement from getting it all set up can steam-power us through the rest of cataloging!

Stella suggested that we try and log as best we can how we went about setting up the Drupal site, because this information could be a useful community resource (for other infoshops, etc). Matt O says he would be down to do this, but it might be hard to break down the details because he is a Drupal pro and a lot of it is second-nature. Still to come though, some sort of document of this kind!

Also need to figure out what all else to put on website besides catalog eg blog page, zine thesaurus for user reference, and box categories list.