More on manuals plus rescue

Jason Scott jason at
Thu Aug 20 16:22:47 CDT 2015

On Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 5:09 PM, William Donzelli <wdonzelli at>

> When someone, Jason in this case, is presented with a huge rescue
> effort and a severe time constraint, the first thing to do is sit down
> and think things in a practical manner. There is a lot to think about,
> but one of the big things is to prioritize the rescue with worst case
> scenarios. Often the worse case scenarios seem like they will happen,
> but in fact do not. Time constraints often loosen up. In the Manuals
> Plus case, Jason needs to move some 25,000 manuals (out of maybe
> 400,000?) in two days. As far as the whole operation is concerned,
> those two days are it, and whatever has not been processed and saved
> is doomed. The best thing to do then is....

I agree. If I had the chance to do this again, and the publicity of this
has been worldwide so I probably will, then I would be going in with a ton
more knowledge and backstory, and would be changing up a lot of what we did.

I knew that the HP stuff was not QUITE as important, in some scales, as the
smaller, rarer stuff, but I also knew, from doing volunteer armies, that
it's good for people to get decent practice, so I put the first 10 people
on HP duty. When people showed real talent with the sorting (fast,
accurate), I moved them over to Simpson, US Government, Hughes, and other
smaller but important piles. Also, I was able to do something with the army
which isn't always possible - I kept sending people after the "done"
shelves when they had nothing to do, just to make sure they didn't see
missed uniques or master copies. (Master copies, in this case, had a

We definitely didn't have enough time and while I am a charmer, the owner
was done and done with this stuff, and I knew he didn't need to hear Yet
Another Expert In How He Should Do Things bother him in his own office. I
considered what we got to be pretty comprehensively the unique items that
were in there, with maybe a few revisions here and there lost, especially
in HP, where the revisions were ridiculously subtle.

I was definitely out of my depth, up to and including understanding the
breadth of the task and the best practices. As an old hand, YOU know that
the hard dates and the techniques were fluid, but I had to take everything
at its face and word, and so I took it as "two days, starting Monday". Not
the best guy for the job, but the present guy for the job. I'd DEFINITELY
go a whole other way and hit up a LOT of e-mails (including you) if I'm
facing this again.

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