ArchiveGrid and NUCMC: What’s the relationship?

A scenario ArchiveGrid visitors have encountered before goes like this: An institution – in this example we’ll use Maine Historical Society – has records in ArchiveGrid describing their collections. This is a WorldCat MARC record view in ArchiveGrid for a collection at MHS of photographs taken more than 100 years ago:

Yet below the ArchiveGrid contributor location map on our homepage, MHS is not listed:


This is because MHS is represented in ArchiveGrid through the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC), a 55-year-old cooperative cataloging program operated by the Library of Congress. According to a recent blog post on “Off the Record” by Society of American Archivists President Danna C. Bell about NUCMC and its advantages for small repositories, “As of 2013, catalog records have been created describing approximately 130,000 collections in about 1,800 repositories.”

When Library of Congress catalogers create NUCMC in WorldCat for their members, we in turn bring them into ArchiveGrid about every four to six weeks when we update the index. Right now WorldCat has 74,976 records with the NUCMC holding symbol attached.

NUCMC data in ArchiveGrid currently accounts for more than 50,113 records, or about 2.5 percent of the index, associated with hundreds of institutions including MHS. They’re made freely available for users to search, learn about what an institution holds, and contact the repository for help accessing materials. When a NUCMC contributor in ArchiveGrid don’t have its own listing in our contributor database, they won’t appear on our homepage as part of our discovery system.

A project to identify all of our NUCMC institutions and make contributor records for each one is a worthwhile and feasible project, and like other organizations we work with, resources and time are the challenges. In the meantime, we will set up any NUCMC member who asks us to be listed individually on the homepage.

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