ITS Software Development and Distribution: Digital Bookplates

The library's digital bookplating program creates digital bookplates, manages the assignment of endowed and cash funds to materials acquired, places a link to a digital bookplate in catalog records, and displays the most recently acquired titles (and a link to a catalog search for all associated titles) on a dynamic web page devoted to each fund. Digital bookplates showcase donor generosity, encourage giving, and provide ongoing stewardship.


Technical Details
The digital bookplate site is a MySQL/PHP application which imports and displays data from our Innovative Interfaces catalog. The database includes information about the donor, the bookplate, fund restrictions, reporting information and income. A web interface allows staff to enter and edit data, upload bookplate images, and produce reports.

We associate books with endowed funds and their bookplates AFTER they are cataloged, making use of exported records and macros to add the bookplate fields. Item records have three new fields:

  1. field group "y" MARC 856: creates the link to the appropriate bookplate page
  2. field group "f" (fund): this field is indexed as a number search, and allows linking from the appropriate bookplate page
  3. field group "a" (accession information): a human-readable note that identifies the endowment and fiscal year
For endowed funds, titles and record numbers are imported once a year to the MySQL database and we display the five most recently cataloged titles associated with the fund on the donor's bookplate page. A query of this table creates the rss feed of sample entries on the bookplate home page.

This project has been extended to cash gifts and gifts in kind. The intention is to replace all paper bookplating. As is the case for endowed funds, up to five titles associated with the bookplate apppear on the bookplate page, but rather than enter title and record number for these titles in the MySQL database, we now screen scrape from a catalog search on the bookplate from a URL of this pattern -

Code and License
We have made the MySql table structure and PHP code available to Wright State University, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Yale Law, Colby, Michigan State, Cal State Sacramento, and Northeastern. We have responded to informal inquiries from University of Pennsylvania, MIT, and Stanford. See information on database and file structure. Contact Jean Rainwater for further information.

Workflow Documentation

Project Links

Reports and Presentations

  • Presentation at the Innovative Users Group meeting in April 2008.
  • The digital bookplate team received a Brown University Excellence Award for Innovation in 2007.