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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2005

Peter Michel

Aims to present issues related to digitization in the context of the historical role and purpose of academic special collections.

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3906

Abstract

Purpose

Aims to present issues related to digitization in the context of the historical role and purpose of academic special collections.

Design/methodology/approach

Presents a comparison of current issues related to digitization to historical issues related to the management of traditional print special collections.

Findings

The current issues are not new. Technology has not dramatically altered the role of special collections in academic libraries.

Research limitations/implications

Based on personal observation and experience and an awareness of issues, but essentially a personal viewpoint.

Practical implications

May provide non‐special collections librarians with a better understanding of, or different perspective on, the popular notion of “digitizing special collections” and of special collections historically and generally.

Originality/value

This is the viewpoint of an experienced head of special collections, a trained academic historian, and someone who has been involved in a number of digital projects.

Details

Library Hi Tech, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0737-8831

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Article
Publication date: 16 May 2008

Neil Darbey and Helen Hayden

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…

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1482

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.

Details

New Library World, vol. 109 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Book part
Publication date: 8 January 2021

Colleen W. Barrett, Whitney A. Buccicone and Joseph J. Shankweiler

Cataloging has long been considered a fundamental component of special collections work. Beyond the ability to constantly adapt to new technologies and content standards…

Abstract

Cataloging has long been considered a fundamental component of special collections work. Beyond the ability to constantly adapt to new technologies and content standards, special collections catalogers also deal with special collections specific issues, from fragile or poorly preserved materials to the need to learn item-specific terminology, like binding descriptions, to larger security concerns. By existing within the two worlds of both special collections and technical services librarianship, there is not always a clear answer to where and whom a position should report. The institutional role and best reporting structure of the special collections cataloger has yet to be well-defined, categorized, or understood.

This chapter seeks to better understand and quantify some of the challenges current special collections catalogers face through conducting and analyzing the authors' recent survey of special collections catalogers primarily working in American cultural heritage institutions. While these findings are neither simple nor straightforward, it is possible to suggest some preliminary solutions. Overarching trends and challenges included communication between departments, security of valuable materials versus workspace locations, and priority setting.

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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2018

Angela Fritz

This chapter discusses how digital project management has fundamentally changed the nature of collection service models in university archives and special collections.

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter discusses how digital project management has fundamentally changed the nature of collection service models in university archives and special collections.

Methodology/approach

Through a conceptual overview of case studies, this chapter examines the establishment of “digital content hubs,” with a special focus on the ways in which a variety of library units share the work of surfacing distinctive collections through cross-functional team-building.

Findings

To successfully build “digital content hubs,” academic libraries have embraced a new alignment to incorporate special collections and archives staff, services, and collections more holistically into larger library collecting initiatives and organizational structures. This chapter posits that, through the stewardship of digital projects, archivists and librarians have had to sharpen and expand requisite managerial and technical skills to support “distinctive collection teams” who work cross-functionality with outward-facing approaches to integrated collection building. In addition to embracing assessment tools and diversified funding strategies, archives and special collections have also adopted new collaboration models reliant on centralized but flexible project management structures that emphasize cross-training, complementary subject and technological specializations, and a team-based focus in order to ensure interoperability, sustainability, and broad accessibility of digital collections.

Originality/value

This chapter offers readers a new way of conceptualizing “distinctive collection teams,” proposes some strategies for marshaling resources from across library units, and suggests ways in which librarians and archivists can collaborate on content selection, copyright clearance, metadata creation, and web design and information technology development.

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1998

Timothy Hobbs

Throughout his 20 years as university librarian and keeper of the Hunterian Books and Manuscripts, Henry Heaney has shown an abiding interest in the rich and varied…

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466

Abstract

Throughout his 20 years as university librarian and keeper of the Hunterian Books and Manuscripts, Henry Heaney has shown an abiding interest in the rich and varied collections contained in Glasgow University Library’s Department of Special Collections. The article traces the unprecedented growth in the collections themselves, and in readers’ use of them, which have taken place during Heaney’s librarianship. Tribute is paid both to the sustained efforts made by Special Collections staff in promoting the scholarly community’s awareness and use of the collections, and to Henry Heaney’s active encouragement. The impact of the Funding Councils’ Non‐Formula Funding,and of digitisation, is considered, and the conclusion is drawn that at his retirement, Henry Heaney is leaving the Department of Special Collections well placed, both in its new location and in its collections and services, to meet the opportunities and challenges of the digital age.

Details

Library Review, vol. 47 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2011

Melanie Griffin and Barbara Lewis

This paper seeks to explore the utility of Springshare's LibGuides platform for special collections repositories and to evaluate the collection guides built by Special &…

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2197

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to explore the utility of Springshare's LibGuides platform for special collections repositories and to evaluate the collection guides built by Special & Digital Collections at the University of South Florida in LibGuides.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper explores how academic libraries have used LibGuides previously and provides a case study that suggests new ways for special collections repositories to make the most of the product.

Findings

The simplicity and easy‐to‐update functionality of LibGuides works well for USF's Special & Digital Collections collection guides. The flexible API allowed SDC to embed digital content, enable user comments, advertise events, and measure the impact of various services.

Practical implications

LibGuides provides an intuitive, simple, and cost‐effective method to create dynamic and frequently updated guides to special collections.

Originality/value

This is the first paper to explore the use of LibGuides in a special collections repository.

Details

Collection Building, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0160-4953

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Book part
Publication date: 15 December 2016

Mary Barbosa-Jerez, Kasia Gonnerman, Benjamin Gottfried and Jason Paul

The purpose of this case study is to demonstrate how a liberal arts college library has reimagined its spaces in response to the changes in higher education, particularly…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this case study is to demonstrate how a liberal arts college library has reimagined its spaces in response to the changes in higher education, particularly integration of educational technology into research, teaching, and learning; changes in students’ information-seeking behaviors; and an increasingly important role of local special collections as a means to preserve and reinforce unique institutional identity.

Methodology/approach

This case study is built on the first-hand experience, as all contributors directly participated in each phase of the process, from formulating ideas to completion of the current stage.

Findings

Meaningful and high-impact space adjustments do not necessarily entail extensive budgetary investments. They do entail, however, developing comprehensive goals and directions and a level of collaboration among library departments and relevant academic units in order to deliver cohesive services, programming, and a creative, nimble response to the constantly changing needs of the patron.

Practical implications

We believe that these high-impact, cost-conscious improvements provide a useful model for other small academic libraries preparing to reconfigure or renovate their spaces. We offer a model for creating a dynamic, service-centered space on a limited budget.

Originality/value

The overwhelming majority of the literature related to library spaces focuses on large universities, and the treatment of space topics in small undergraduate colleges, and liberal arts colleges in particular, is strikingly negligent. This case study of a small liberal arts college will help fill the void by adding to the rare voices commenting on library spaces in liberal arts colleges.

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2008

Meredith E. Torre

Special collections departments are predominately portrayed or perceived as a place for researchers rather than as a means for enhancing the learning experience for the…

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1212

Abstract

Purpose

Special collections departments are predominately portrayed or perceived as a place for researchers rather than as a means for enhancing the learning experience for the undergraduate student. The very nature of rare books and manuscripts means that arguments to discourage their heavy use prevail. The purpose of this paper is to address this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reviews these perceptions, considers why such perceptions continue to thrive, and provides examples in which the image of special collections departments can be refashioned into a more inclusive environment for the undergraduate student.

Findings

There are extraordinary barriers that face the average undergraduate experience with rare books at most academic institutions. Librarians of special collections departments and other primary resource collections can play a fundamental role in making these collections accessible to the undergraduate student.

Originality/value

This paper reexamines the notion that special collections should have limited use due to conservation concerns and demonstrates that using fragile materials may serve as a good opportunity to reflect on the collection's conservational health.

Details

Library Review, vol. 57 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1983

PAUL KAEGBEIN and MICHAEL KNOCHE

At the end of World War II the destruction of German libraries and the political division of the former Reich led in the Federal Republic (BRD) to a planned development of…

Abstract

At the end of World War II the destruction of German libraries and the political division of the former Reich led in the Federal Republic (BRD) to a planned development of research collections and of collection‐based bibliographic tools highly relevant to the present‐day Anglo‐American debate on so‐called holdings and access policies. Unhappily, the authors argue, current financial constraints in the Bundesrepublik after weakening the thrust of acquisitions work now pose a threat to the access tools themselves.

Details

Library Review, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2002

Faye Phillips

Thousands of special collections departments and libraries throughout the world are currently involved in digital library projects that focus on their holdings. The…

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1445

Abstract

Thousands of special collections departments and libraries throughout the world are currently involved in digital library projects that focus on their holdings. The purposes of these projects are varied: some are to provide broader access to the unique materials within the special collections; others showcase the outstanding images and rare treasures held by libraries; while many provide only intriguing highlights; and a number of digital library projects are extensive enough to include all these purposes. Special collections digital projects can be stand‐alone or cooperative. Such ventures provide case studies in innovation and examples of how others can create digital projects. At the LSU libraries’ special collections department, cooperation and innovation in all digital library projects are emphasized even though the work concentrates on reformatting unique and rare materials. This article is a case study of the special collections department’s work in the digital realm at the LSU Libraries since 1990.

Details

OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-075X

Keywords

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