Working on the Scientific American Collection as I have time and am encountering one of the more “fun” parts of the process.

All told the Scientific American Collection from 1845 through 1909 makes up about 3000 separate issues. In a nice logical fashion they are labelled with a Volume and a Number which makes it wonderfully systematic… except for one little problem.

Volume 1 Number 1 was issued in Aug 28 1854.

Volume 1 Number 2 was issued Sep 4, 1845

And so on up until Jul 2, 1859 when the copy issued that day was Volume 1 Number 1 (New Series)

I suppose someone in the scientific publishing community spent the rest of their life chuckling about future generations having to deal with overlapping numbering schemes.

So in the Scientific American Collection there are actually two different issues of Volume 1 Number 1 through
Volume 14 Number 42. One set is the Original Series and one the “New Series”. (Sort of like Star Trek the Original Series and Next Generation) (BTW Picard was a wuss)

Some collection are missing particular issues of the overlapping numbers. Some collections organize by date, some by volume and number.

Then of course the different sources use different file naming conventions so trying to find a volume missing from one collection in a different collection which uses a different naming scheme… an adventure.

Some have every single issue but the file naming males it difficult to assign the correct volume number to the file without opening and checking each file.

So it’s kind of like assembling a jigsaw puzzle from parts of 3 different puzzle versions of the same picture with no guarantee that all of the parts actually exist until you have finished the picture and can look for blank spots.

But making progress.

The Librian

Be Sociable, Share!

    Leave a Reply