Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML)

General Collections

  • The terms ReCAP and Offsite are used interchangeably.  Offsite (or off-site) is the preferred term for public display.
  • RBML formerly held collections off-site at Brewster.  All have been subsequently transferred to ReCAP.
  • Quick link to ReCAP Request Forms.  All RBML requests are placed using either Restricted Access or Non-CLIO mechanisms.
  • Only authorized staff may access the the Restricted Access mechanism; only staff may access the Non-CLIO mechanism; any active UNI is valid to place requests via CLIO (nothing held by RBML is requestable via CLIO).
  • Contact ReCAP Coordinator to authorize staff for the Restricted Access mechanism: zl2114@columbia.edu and (212) 851-5621.
  • Initial notification is sent the moment one places a request.
  • Non-Delivery Days
    ReCAP deliveries are suspended for scheduled for University Holidays.  Severe weather may delay or cancel deliveries.  All interruptions will be announced via the CUL Notes Google Group.  Click here for an archive record of all non-delivery days.
  • Supplies
    Complete supply list for standard items used for ReCAP processing, transfer and delivery.

Current Practice

  • ReCAP Courier (Bohren's Moving)
    Delivers directly to RBML 6th Floor Hallway, Butler Shipping & Receiving (S&R) and Lehman Library, Suite 324B every morning
  • Voyager Check-in
    Staff uses the Rare Book Circ Desk happening location for both charging and discharging.  Voyager Circulation module is only used for Offsite RBML collections.  All collections are non-circulating.
  • Barcode Placement
    How and where to place barcodes on RBML materials


  • Request/Scheduling
    Tara Craig requests collections and schedules visitation for patrons.  Authorized, professional staff request collections for routine collection processing (see below under Projects).  Track requests with the Daily Request Report.
  • Delivery/Voyager Check-in
    Student worker staff/Tom McCutchon back-up.  Staff check manifest and charge collections using the Rare Book Circ Desk happening location and status patron RBXHOLD001
  • Packing/Returns
    Student worker staff/Tom McCutchon back-up.  Return processing includes packing ReCAP returns safely in gray totes, sealing lid with a plastic tie and reversing the delivery label to read "RECAP."  Returns are also sent back on wooden or metal carts secured with plastic wrap.  All items are staged 6th Floor Hallway for pick up by courier.  Barcodes are scanned into a file [name] on the GA workstation.  The following day, only after the ReCAP Courier picks up the material, all barcodes are discharged using the Rare Book Circ Desk happening location.  Ignore all routing slips.
  • EDD issues 
    RBML does not authorize electronic scanning of any off-site collection


  • Routine collection processing
    Standard retrieval, processing and return of un- or underprocessed University Archives collections.  Archival staff located at both RBML and Lehman Library are responsible for ordering and oversight.  Retrieval began to rise in 2007 with increased professional staffing levels and Mellon Project interns.  New delivery location created in CUL S&R to accommodate incoming collections. 
  • Brewster transfer
    RBML has substantial collections is Clancy-Cullen's regional depository, called Brewster.  Deliveries to and from Brewster take place once a week on Fridays.  Staff contact: Robin Holab-Abelman abelman@clancy-cullen.com (phone 646-235-4208).


  • Barcode duplicator
    In the process of transferring collections from the Brewster facility to ReCAP, it was discovered that the barcode placement on many boxes was incorrect.  ReCAP staff agreed to correct placement if barcode duplicator was ordered.  Smart Scan 'n' Print ordered in April 2010 and sent to ReCAP in May 2010.
  • Book equivalents
    The majority of collections sent by RBML to ReCAP are archival material in boxes.  It has been difficult to calculate the impact of archival accessions on available shelf space.  ReCAP staff reports the following metrics for shelf-occupancy at the facility.  Record carton: 8 per shelf.  Document box (standard): 20 per shelf.  Document box (thin): 40 per shelf.
  • Space reclamation
    Unlike print collections, shelf space from de-accessioned archival collections is reclaimed for new accessions.
  • 245 Title statements
    Staff project to enhance 245 ‡a to include the full title of the collection, allowing staff to better determine contents from short title search.  Identified off-site title for Susan Hamson in March 2011 that began with only "Papers," "Records," and "Publications."
  • Lehman Library pick-ups
    Proessing space for Human Rights archivist staff moved from Lehman Suite to within Lehman Library in Fall 2011.  A new drop-off location was arranged in Suite 324B. At that time Bohrens billed based on 2 expected pick-up/drop-offs per week.  At time ReCAP Coordinator requested that max load be 8 totes, it was later increased to 12.

General Collections

RBML has transferred collections to ReCAP since 2002.  Both the University Archives and Oral History Research Office collections fall under the umbrella of RBML at ReCAP.  All collections are non-circulating and must be requested via staff.  For more information see online guide to Using Collections: Off-site Materials (includes both collections at ReCAP and Brewster). 

RBML has five CLIO locations assigned for off-site collections:

  • off,dic : CUL theses and dissertations
  • off,oral : Oral History collections
  • off,rbms : RBML archive and manuscript collections including Human Rights/Amnesty International
  • off,rbx : RBML print collections
  • off,uacl : University Archives records and manuscripts

RBML collections correspond to six different customer codes:

  • CS : used as stop code for delivery to CUL Shipping & Receiving (delivery only)
  • OH : allow delivery of Oral History collections to CUL Shipping & Receiving (off,oral)
  • RC : used only for cold storage
  • RH : delivers to Lehman Library, Suite 324B (off,rbms)
  • RS : allow delivery to RBML 6th floor hallway (off,rbx, off,dic, off,rbms)
  • UA : not currently used as a delivery location (off,uacl)

For more information see customer code website and ReCAP's customer code table.

CLIO Location Displays

  • off,dic
    Corresponds to customer code RS.  Requires staff place Restricted Access Request.  Deliverable only to RBML locations; non-circulating.
  • off,rbms
    Corresponds to customer code RS and RH.  Requires staff place Restricted Access Request.  Deliverable only to RBML locations; non-circulating.
  • off,rbx
    Corresponds to customer code RS.  Requires staff place Restricted Access Request.  Deliverable only to RBML locations; non-circulating.
  • off,oral
    All corresponding bibliographic records are suppressed in CLIO and do not display.
  • off,uacl
    Corresponds to customer code UA.  Requires staff place Restricted Access Request.  Deliverable only to RBML locations; non-circulating.

Data & Presentations

  • ReCAP and RBML, March 29, 2010.  General summary/state of affairs.
  • RBML: ReCAP Statistics, September X, 2012.  General summary and analysis of accessions and requests through the end of FY12



  • Accessions
    Lehman-owned collections that have been transfered to the ReCAP facility.
  • Requests
    Total items requested from Lehman-owned collections at ReCAP.
  • Deliveries
    Items physically delivered to the Lehman Circulation Desk.  Includes items from all ReCAP collections, not only Lehman-owned.

Primary Statistics

  Accessions Requests Deliveries
FY02 10,245 3 3
FY03 44,715 361 372
FY04 15,514 1,144 1,150
FY05 11,564 2,103 2,139
FY06 10,879 2,082 2,276
FY07 5,307 2,540 2,569
FY08 13,476 4,040 4,317
FY09 7,636 5,314 6,364
FY10 16,142 5,962 6,279
FY11 11,585 7,398 7,735
FY12 5,353 8,750 8,896
FY13 3,880 7,800 7,988
TOTAL 156,296 47,497
Request Rate = 5.06%

Compiling and analyzing data for RBML collections at ReCAP poses several problems.  CLIO locations do not always correlate one-to-one with customer codes.  For example, the ownership of many pre-1830 collections from Butler Stacks has been transfered to RBML post-accession.  Some RBML collections are not entered in Voyager. 




Staffing Details


Daily Request Report

The Daily Request Report provides dynamically updated reports of requests and shipments.  It allows RBML staff to confirm requests at the end of the day and ReCAP shipments in the morning.  It is the first place RBML should check for a missing item; if the barcode is listed under "shipments" it should be found at the selected delivery location.  RBML staff use stop codes: CS, RH, RS and OH for delivery.

Currently the Daily Request Report lists two sets of data for requests and shipments.  Inside each folder are subsets organized by customer code.  Folders are populated by the customer code chosen for delivery location.

If a requested barcode is not listed under "shipments," it is possible that the request may have failed.  Most request failures from RBML collections at ReCAP are Backchannel/Non-CLIO failures.  ReCAP Coordinator receives failure notices daily from ReCAP and follows up directly with requesting staff member.

For more information on how to access and use the Daily Request Report click here.

Delivery/Voyager Check-in

In October 2009 RBML staff transitioned to Voyager Circulation Module as a tracking method for incoming and outgoing ReCAP collections.  Previously an in-house Access database was used for oversight and to generate hold-slips.  All RBML collections are non-circulating.  ExLibris Voyager allows any item with an active barcode to be charged to a status patron regardless of circulation status.

Three status patrons have been established for RBML: RBXHOLD001, RBXHOLD002 and RBXHOLD003.  Each is used to denotre a specific location.  RBXHOLD001 corresponds to the hold shelves on RBML 6th Floor.  RBXHOLD002 and RBXHOLD003 are currently unused, intended for internal staff-for-staff requests.  All three have the same status display in CLIO.

  • RBXHOLD001
    CLIO status displays "Received from Offsite.  Ask at Service Desk."


RBML collections are returned to ReCAP via both the 6th floor hallway and Shipping & Receiving.  The ReCAP courier picks them up during the course of his regular deliveries.  For more information please see the ReCAP Courier Drop-off Points website.

  • Packing ReCAP Material for Return
    General instructions for staff assigned to pack and prepare collections for return to ReCAP.  See second document here.
  • If barcodes are not discharged by RBML staff, they will be resolved in course of the weekly reconciliation report.
  • Wooden and metal carts
    • Yellow crown carts are actively used by BSP to route new acquisitions to ReCAP and for regular deliveries to CUL.  RBML staff is responsible for alerting ReCAP Coordinator if there is a surplus of carts or totes.
    • Alert ReCAP Coordinator if carts fall into disrepair.


The Columbia Center for Oral History has transferred collections to ReCAP since 2004.  All collections are non-circulating and must be requested via staff.  

Oral History has one CLIO location assigned for off-site collections:

  • off,oral : Oral History collections

Oral History collections correspond to a single customer code:

  • OH : allows delivery of Oral History collections to CUL Shipping & Receiving (off,oral)

For more information see customer code website and ReCAP's customer code table.


  • Record Keeping
    Oral History's collections at ReCAP are recorded in two different places: Excel documents listing box contents and minimal Voyager records.  Five BIBL#s are used as placeholders: 7002142 (AUDIO), 7003312 (TESTS), 7034127 (CASSETTE), and 7034129 (VIDEO).
  • Orphan Project
    In 2013, 291 orphan barcodes were present among the department's 1,646 barcodes at ReCAP.


ReCAP User Inquiry Alias: recap@library.columbia.edu

Supervisor, ReCAP Access Services: Jennifer Loubriel

Phone: (212) 854-3542

E-mail: jll2223@columbia.edu