The Creation of The Pauling Catalogue: Introduction

[Ed. Note: This is the first installment of a nine-part series detailing the creation of The Pauling Catalogue]

A monument to one of the twentieth-century’s true giants, The Pauling Catalogue – over twenty years in the making – was fashioned with a duel purpose in mind: to disseminate scholarly information and to create an attractive, browseable product that provides unparalleled insight into the fascinating lives of Linus and Ava Helen Pauling.

Linus Pauling donated his papers to Oregon State University Libraries in 1986. Five years later, a preliminary catalogue of holdings was produced in recognition of Pauling’s ninetieth birthday. This publication, approximately 300 pages in length, provided a survey of the first twenty-percent of the collection – roughly 100,000 items.

Fifteen years later, the full inventory of the Pauling collection was, at last, made available in the six-volume revised and expanded edition of The Pauling Catalogue. This publication spans more than 1,700 pages and features over 1,200 illustrations, many in full color. Each set weighs twenty pounds apiece and the final shipment of 984 sets that arrived at the Valley Library in November 2006 comprised more than ten tons of total weight.

The Pauling Catalogue arrives at the Valley Library. Photo courtesy of Eric Arnold.

The Pauling Catalogue arrives at the Valley Library. Photo courtesy of Eric Arnold.

Well over one-hundred individuals contributed in some way to the creation of The Pauling Catalogue. The books were designed by OSU alumni Eric Arnold and Ryan Wick. Copyright research was conducted by Erika Castaño of the University Archives. Proofreading assistance was provided by the Special Collections student staff. Chris Petersen, Faculty Research Assistant in Special Collections, and Cliff Mead, Head of Special Collections, are the publication editors, and majority funding for the project was provided by the Rieckmann Family Foundation.

The Pauling Catalogue

The Pauling Catalogue

In the coming weeks, we’ll share the details of how we created this benchmark publication — a process that utilized many of the same tools that we rely upon to develop our websites.  The next two installments, however, will focus upon just what, exactly, lies between the covers of the six-volume set.

The Pauling Catalogue is available for purchase at http://paulingcatalogue.org

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