Getting smarter about archives and special collections

Other OCLC Research colleagues and I have been mentioning in recent months that we’re working toward launching a survey of special collections and archives in academic and research libraries. It seemed about time to follow up on ARL’s catalytic survey from way back in 1998. At long last (seems that way to those of us designing it), blast-off is in sight! It’ll be arriving mid-week in the e-mail box of the director of every library that belongs to the RLG Partnership in the U.S. or Canada, ARL, CARL (Canada), IRLA, and the Oberlin Group. Those of you running a special collections department or archives in one of those zones may want to be sure that it makes it to your desk soon thereafter (responses due by 18 December).

The questions cover the gamut from the routine (how much stuff do you have, how accessible is it, how many reading room visitors, etc.) to the timely (are you using the latest archival management tools and Web 2.0 social networking technologies, have you made progress on born-digital, do you have any staff or money left in this budget climate, etc.). Get ready to tell us all about your institutional selves. The project is described in detail here. Questions? Let me know.

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About Jackie Dooley

Jackie Dooley leads OCLC Research projects to inform and improve archives and special collections practice. Activities have included in-depth surveys of special collections libraries in the U.S./Canada and the U.K./Ireland; leading the Demystifying Born Digital work agenda; a detailed analysis of the 3 million MARC records in ArchiveGrid; and studying the needs of archival repositories for specialized tools and services. Her professional research interests have centered on the development of standards for cataloging and archival description. She is a past president of the Society of American Archivists and a Fellow of the Society.