ERIC Number: EJ893006
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Frame of Reference: Special Collections
Goetsch, Lori A.
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v42 n4 p49 Jul-Aug 2010
Rare, distinctive, unique--academic libraries are exploring new ways to describe and define what they've traditionally called special collections: incunabula, manuscripts, rare books, cultural artifacts and more. These valuable, historically important, and often one-of-a-kind artifacts can be a treasure trove for scholars and students. Technology has provided an unprecedented opportunity to make these collections discoverable through online search engines, Web pages, and, in many cases, digital surrogates. Building and stewarding collections of rare and unique materials are still very important activities for librarians, but they are now adding to those duties promoting awareness of special collections and collaborating with faculty on their use. This article discusses the contribution of special collections to scholarship and to the core teaching and learning mission of a university. Scholars can take advantage of technology to view and manipulate the digital surrogate in ways that would not be possible with the physical specimens. By bringing classes to the library's special collections department or using digitized materials, faculty can create an active, hands-on environment in which to teach research methods and promote intellectual inquiry. In addition, in graduate education and research, special collections are rich sources of dissertation topics, particularly in the social sciences and humanities.
Descriptors: Academic Libraries, Library Services, Library Automation, Library Materials, Electronic Libraries, Use Studies, Information Utilization, Archives
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A