The American Philatelic Society has begun to digitize their library. This involves scanning books a la Google and making the library’s vast collection of books and periodicals available online. It’s a smart move and one that unfortunately was not foreseen when the society changed main offices a few years ago largely to house the library’s growing collections. (If it had been foreseen, the move would not have been made and the society’s finances would be in much better shape.) Now once a book or periodical is scanned it can be warehoused or sold off so the space the library will need will be small indeed. A reading room and open stacks with a thousand or so of the more requested books and periodicals should fit the bill. For many years, the library consumed a disproportionate share of APS resources. Very few members ever use the library or even have much of an interest in academic philately. Again, most members were willing to support the library within reason but this new solution should allow academic philatelists to have access to better resources and save the society a small fortune as well.

Digitization will solve another problem that plagues philatelic researchers-the lack of adequate indexes for the tens of thousands of periodicals in the library. Those of us who have perused the forgotten philatelic literature of the late Nineteenth Century are amazed at how often current philatelic researchers are reinventing the wheel. This is mainly because a writer today really has no way of accessing most of the periodical literature on his subject, especially that which was written over 75 years ago. Once digitization is complete, a key word sort will provide a very workable index.

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