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IFSH Library FAO Collection Indexed

In July 2011 IFSH Librarian David Griesemer completed indexing more than 5,700 volumes of material produced by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The indexing of the FAO Collection represents more than two years of work that started when former IFSH (NCFST) Director, Martin Cole, made the decision to integrate FAO material into the library's collection in 2009.

Currently, the IFSH Library is one of 12 libraries in the United States that receives FAO material on a regular basis. The FAO material at the IFSH Library dates back to 1945, and is expected to play an important role in the growth of IFSH's academic programs.

"In addition to the volume of materials of use to our graduate and professional development students," adds Griesemer," the FAO collection supplements the monograph collection, which FDA and IFSH staff members will find valuable as well. Also, IFSH corporate and allied members, who can use the facility when on site, will benefit from the tremendous amount of statistical data available in the FAO collection, on topics spanning pesticides to post-harvest loss rates."

The story of the FAO Collection at IFSH, however, really dates back to 1994 when IIT's Chicago-Kent School of Law shipped 90 boxes of FAO material to IFSH. At the time, the library did not have sufficient shelf space to house the material and it remained unboxed in the library's basement for the next 15 years.

"The situation with the FAO Collection began to change in 2009 with the completion of numerous material relocation projects that freed up additional shelving space," says Griesemer, who joined IFSH as librarian in 2008. Once the decision was made to retain the FAO material, he adds, it was unboxed and arranged alphabetically on the library's second floor according to monograph title and series title. Deciding how to effectively index the FAO material proved to be more problematic.

"Normally the material would have been cataloged by IIT's Galvin Library, allowing it to be displayed by the library's Online Public Access Catalog. At that time, however, the Galvin Library was in the process of cataloging the IFSH Library's entire upstairs circulating collection," Griesemer says.

To solve this problem, and to ensure that FAO material could be effectively located, Griesemer decided to copy individual FAO cataloging records from the FAO's Online Public Access Catalog, and then paste those records verbatim into an Excel Spreadsheet listing FAO material at IFSH.

This meant that FAO material at IFSH could be now be easily searched and located using the FAO's Online Public Access Catalog in conjunction with the Excel Spreadsheet's find function. According to Griesemer, the ability to locate FAO material at IFSH is significant for myriad reasons: First, approximately 1,200 volumes of the FAO Collection relate directly to the IFSH academic curriculum. This represents a 20% addition to the library's monograph collection.

Says Griesemer, "FAO material is often written in outline format by scholars, making it perfect for graduate students who wish to augment their understanding of a topic. Some serials of particular relevance include the Food and Nutrition Paper, the Microbiological Risk Assessment Series, the Legislative Study Series, and of course, the Codex Alimentarius. In addition, the collection includes various monographs related to genetics, microbiology, laboratory procedures, HACCP, and food processing."

For more information on how to search for FAO material at IFSH, please link to the IFSH Food Science and Technology Library Guide.