One of the books I refer to most often throughout my week is Richard H. Taylor's The Churches of Christ of the Congregational Way in New England. Around the library it's referred to as "Rick's book" or, if we're being particular, "Rick's New England book", since he's now written a book for each region of the US. They detail all Congregational (United Church of Christ) churches' genealogy: origin date, name changes, mergers, denominational changes and, if it closed, when. If that wasn't enough, he's also done the same for the German Evangelical churches. All his books also provide detailed histories of the denominations and the regions. The staff here relies on them to help answer reference questions and fill in details while processing church collections. Having this exhaustive, encyclopedic information makes us look like wizards and rock stars when we can answer what is otherwise not collated data. It represents decades of painstaking work. I can't imagine being able to do my job well without these resources. We use and refer to the New England volume so much that we asked permission from Rick to have it digitized and added to the Internet Archive, which he generously granted.
Not that long ago, however, there were no published books and no guarantee that Rick would get to complete his works and get them published. When it was all still in progress, our former librarian, Hal Worthley, safe-guarded the drafts by storing the handwritten lists, then later the typed lists. We also stored a portion of the raw data that Rick gathered from the individual churches: surveys and supplemental historical essays. With the author's oversight, we did remove the incomplete lists from the manuscript collection now that we have the published, authoritative work. We did keep the surveys, which tell more than what could be said in a strictly regimented list.
Originally, Rick's essays on a wide range of historical topics were cataloged and stored in our non-circulating collection as they were donated. However with the latest addition, we realized both staff and researchers would benefit from storing them as a group. The drafts, as well as Rick's sermons from 1999-2006, are all sorted out and available for patrons to use.