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Special collections for beginners: A case study of special collections at Waterford Institute of Technology Library Service

Neil Darbey (Waterford Institute of Technology Library Service, Waterford, Ireland)
Helen Hayden (Waterford Institute of Technology Library Service, Waterford, Ireland)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 16 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

This article sets out to describe the challenges and opportunities created by the presentation of a number of special collections to the library service of Waterford Institute of Technology. It aims to focus on the work done with the collections to date and plans for the future.

Design/methodology/approach

This case study reports on the collections presented to WIT Library Service and the approach taken to their conservation and display. It also discusses the ongoing issues involved in special collections management in a modern academic library setting.

Findings

The paper concludes that there is a delicate balancing act involved in accepting and managing special collections in contemporary academic libraries. Key factors to consider are expense, staff time and skills, and potential benefits to the library and its users.

Research limitations/implications

The project is still in development. The study provides a view on one medium‐sized academic library's experience of handling special collections.

Practical implications

This account is likely to be useful for organisations in a similar position, faced with similar challenges of comparable scale.

Originality/value

The paper offers practical insights for libraries in similar positions.

Keywords

Citation

Darbey, N. and Hayden, H. (2008), "Special collections for beginners: A case study of special collections at Waterford Institute of Technology Library Service", New Library World, Vol. 109 No. 5/6, pp. 258-272. https://doi.org/10.1108/03074800810873605

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited