The 2015 OCLC Research Collective Collections Tournament Champion is …
Our final round of competition tried to “keep it real” – realia, that is. Realia are “three-dimensional objects from real-life”, which can mean anything from valuable historical artifacts to … well, not-so-valuable yet interesting objects from all corners of everyday life: games, teaching/learning aids, models, musical instruments, memorabilia … and occasionally some just plain strange stuff! Check out this New York Times article for a sample of the fascinating and unexpected realia some libraries hold in their collections.
Our tournament Finals pitted Conference USA against Atlantic 10 to see who has the most realia in their collective collection.* In the end, it was no contest … Atlantic 10 won easily, with 1,578 distinct objects compared to 980 objects for Conference USA. Congratulations to Atlantic 10, your Collective Collections Tournament Champion!
So what kinds of realia do our Finals participants harbor in their respective collective collections? Our runner-up Conference USA offers a number of unusual items, such as a specimen of a stamp used under the Stamp Act of 1765 (Florida Atlantic University); a motorized solar system and planetarium model (University of Southern Mississippi); and a 1937 Luftwaffe-issue jam jar (University of North Texas). Our Tournament Champion Atlantic 10 features such oddities as a set of giant inflatable nocturnal creatures (University of Rhode Island); a plaster cast of the head of political activist Mario Savio; and a bowl made from a vinyl record of Bob Dylan’s “Greatest Hits” album (both at La Salle University). Keep your eyes peeled next time you’re in the library; you never know what will be on the shelves!
Bracket competition participants: Nobody picked the winning conference!!! We will have a random drawing among all entrants to determine who wins the big prize! The winner will be announced on April 8. Stay tuned!
*Number of items cataloged as “realia” in each conference’s collective collection. Data is current as of January 2015.
Brian Lavoie is a Research Scientist in OCLC Research. He has worked on projects in many areas, such as digital preservation, cooperative print management, and data-mining of bibliographic resources. He was a co-founder of the working group that developed the PREMIS Data Dictionary for preservation metadata, and served as co-chair of a US National Science Foundation blue-ribbon task force on economically sustainable digital preservation. Brian’s academic background is in economics; he has a Ph.D. in agricultural economics. Brian’s current research interests include stewardship of the evolving scholarly record, analysis of collective collections, and the system-wide organization of library resources.