The Library of Catania Astrophysical Observatory has a total holding of about 11000 volumes, 412 journal titles (71 of which are current periodical titles), 234 antique volumes and a number of audio visual materials.
The main subjects cover Astrophysics and Astronomy but a significant section of the library is also devoted to General Physics and Mathematics. Moreover, a special growing collection, dedicated to education, includes CD-ROMs and video-tapes.
The library is open to astronomers, technicians and staff of the Astrophysical Observatory and to teachers of the Department of Physics and Astronomy as well as to researches and students of various institutions and institutes, to students of the Faculty of Sciences and to all interested visitors (upon permission).
The library is open from Monday to Friday.
LOGISTICS (M. Calì, A. Mangano)
In 2004 the rearrangement of the library was completed as a result of the conclusion of the restoration work of the OAC, started in 2002 and lasted up to the end of 2003.
As regards the physical space allotted to the library, the room in front of it is only partly used as a reading and display room since some of the space has been used for offices for doctoral students and OAC collaborators.
The study room and the computer room (for accessing the internet bibliographic catalogue)have been moved into a new room. As regards furniture, outsize and historical catalogues and atlases have been moved into a new chest of drawers.
The locations have been changed and the classifications checked for a functional use of the library.
INVENTORY, ORDERS AND ACQUISITIONS (M. Calì, G. Caripoli, D. Domina)
Due to the drastic decrease in the Observatory budget for goods and services, compared to last year, funds available for the library at the beginning of 2004 amounted only to about 14.000,00 euros, which proved absolutely insufficient to maintain the serials holding already cut down in the last few years.
In December 2004 the Observatory received funds, amounting to about 31.000,00 euros, by the INAF, which were used to renew the main journal subscriptions and to contribute to the online service provided by the "Centro Biblioteche e Documentazione" of Catania University, granting access to several online journals and data banks. The mutual exchange,both national and international, between libraries has proved to be more and more essential (ESO, CNR-Bologna, ACNP, NILDE, CBD-Catania, INAF).
MONOGRAPH CATALOGUING (D. Domina, A. Mangano)
New books aquired in 2004 (about 52) have been catalogued according to descriptive and semantic rules, with the UNIBIBLIO software.
The related bibliographic control has been made when the records have been exported both locally and on the web. For safety reasons, a complete back-up of the catalogue and of the software has been performed on CD.
The semantic cataloguing has been made using the Italian Subject Index (edited in 1999), including 2750 subjects and referring to the Library of Congress Subject Index (Washington) and to the IAU Thesaurus.
The MILLENNIUM software, a web-based integrated cataloguing system, provided by the University of Catania, has been experimentally used for some limited applications.
JOURNALS CATALOGUE AND DOCUMENT DELIVERY (G. Caripoli, D. Domina, A. Mangano, L. Santagati)
In 2004, the journals list was regularly updated following the online procedure of the "Archivio Collettivo Nazionale Periodici" (ACNP). The ACNP catalogue now includes 412 journals, 71 of which are current periodical titles. The journal print catalogue is still in use.
As regards the document delivery, in 2004 the library joined NILDE (Network Inter Library Document Exchange, an interchange service between libraries belonging to ACNP, existing since 2001), both as a supplying and requesting library, following the supplying regulations although the principle adopted is the mutual free exchange; 75 articles have been requested through NILDE and 60 directly by libraries or authorized users. Besides the Observatory users, the Italian Observatories (Astronomical ACNP) and other libraries belonging to ACNP submit requests. Our requesting service on behalf of researchers and library users has increased, but it has not equalled the library supplying service .
Document delivery is a well-established and fundamental service in the library.
HISTORICAL ARCHIVE (A. Mangano)
The inventory of the OAC historical archive, edited in print in 2002, including the 1865-1954 period, is nearly complete. In the framework of the national project "Specola 2000", gathering all the Italian Observatories, the main objective is the creation of an Archive Information System (such as CUBAI and astronomical ACNP for monographs and periodicals, respectively), as a more usable resource than print materials.
To create a network archive (stage 2 of the project), an archive thesaurus common to all the observatories is to be constructed, as soon as possible, to make data uniform.
In 2004 the "Soprintendenza Archivistica di Palermo" committed the refinement of the work done to an external archivist, as well as the creation of a network archive.
Some series of the historical archive have been consulted both by external and internal users for theses, specific publications, or retrieval projects of historical materials. (such as photographic plates).
SCIENTIFIC SECRETARIAT , PREPRINTS, LIBRARY HOMEPAGE UPDATE (A. Mangano, L. Santagati)
14 full-text preprints have been made accessible through the library homepage. Some scientific papers have been linguistically reviewed.
The IAU and MPEC Circulars, both available full-text through electronic subscription, have been made accessible on the web through an automatic procedure.
Moreover, since 2004, the list of publications of the OAC and of the Astrophysics Section of the Departmment of Physics and Astronomy has been drawn up with a "work in progress" system, based on researches on astronomical bibliography or on authors' suggestions so as to have an updated list "almost" in real time.
LOAN, REFERENCE SERVICE, ELECTRONIC INFORMATION SERVICE (G. Caripoli, D. Domina, A. Mangano, L. Santagati)
The reference service for students and researchers consists in bibliographic searches in local print catalogues and in other external catalogues using internet facilities.
In the framework of a more and more intense interlibrary cooperation between the libraries of other Italian Observatories, the external information resources are accessible through the CUBAI ("Catalogo Unico Biblioteche Astronomiche Italiane"), the Astronomical ACNP ("Catalogo Collettivo dei Periodici Astronomici"), the ACNP (library code: CT033), the CBD ("Centro Biblioteche e Documentazione dell' Università di Catania", granting access to several online journals), and several foreign institutions and libraries.
RELATIONS WITH INAF
The frequent exchange of information and bibliographic material between the libraries belonging to INAF, through the ASTROBIB mailing list or working groups, has become a well-established practice since 2004.
The "Gruppo Istruttorio Biblioteche", charged by the INAF President, has requested a common three-year plan for acquisitions and the creation of the Library and Documentation Service for coordinating the libraries belonging to INAF.
PUBLIC OUTREACH AND EDUCATION (D. Domina, A. Mangano)
The POE Secretariat, an office established with the aim of enhancing the OAC activity of public outreach and education, during 2004 has been involved in public relations with schools, associations and groups of people interested in visiting Catania Observatory and M.G. Fracastoro stellar station.
During the year, 143 visits have been made (7100 persons in total).
The office has met the request for public outreach and education materials (in particular 19 copies of the OAC CD-ROM) and for information about the history of Catania Observatory or about astronomy in general. The office also cooperated on the occasion of the event of the Transit of Venus, on June 8th, 2004.
CONFERENCE ACTIVITIES (D. Domina, L. Santagati)
In 2004 the library was more actively involved in the organization of conferences (either directly promoted by the Astrophysical Observatory or as a partner of other institutions). The library assisted in the organization and development of the Workshop "MHD Couette Flows: experiments and models" held in Acitrezza, Catania, from 29 February to 2 March 2004, and in the arrangement of the "49mo Congresso Annuale della Società Astronomica Italiana" held in Catania from 2 to 7 May 2005.