Today I reviewed a report that I had run in our ILS to show me the contents of everything in the 590 local note field, about 3000 records. Apparently, when we first migrated to Millennium in 1991, they used the 590 for donor info and other general note information, like which of our rare books were signed by the author. Unfortunately, no one ever looked at that field again. So I made a global update to copy any field with the words “signed,” “signature,” or “inscribed” to a 562 and made that field display in the OPAC.
The folks in Special Collections use the OPAC and not a Millennium module to find stuff, so to give them examples of what else was in the 590, I browsed the list until I found one that said, “Library copy includes photograph of Confederate solider So-and-so.” It was just an example, but Special Collections is full of civil war buffs, so it aroused their interest.
We pull the book and inside is the photograph. The inscription on back reads something like, “from your rebel lover,” leading us to speculate that it was a love that crossed the Mason-Dixon line. They looked up the soldier in some reference work they pulled so quickly I don’t even know what it was, and discovered he later became a priest! It’s a civil war bodice ripper waiting to be written.
Please folks, use your 500 fields wisely.