Public Service Trends in Special Collections project

Problem statement: Online information about archives, manuscripts and rare books has increased since the advent of the web in 1995. During these changes in access, measurements of changes in research with rare and unique materials have not been documented. Many institutions do not keep public services statistics for primary resources, and other institutions may keep statistics but do not track collection use over time.

Impact: Libraries and archives need information about the impact of cataloging and digitization in order to prioritize staffing and projects. Evidence of the effects of online information will influence decisions about allocation of resources among RLG Program partners and the wider community.

Project: New ways to deliver special collections, like EAD and scanning, have affected scholarly research in both quantitative and qualitative ways. Trends in special collections can be compared to general trends in research libraries. This project will evaluate and report on collection use in special collections in The RLG Partnership.


Related work

  • Supporting New Modes of Scholarship
  • Managing the Collective Collection
  • Renovating Descriptive and Organizing Practices
  • Measurements and Behaviors

For more information

Jennifer Schaffner
Program Officer

We are a worldwide library cooperative, owned, governed and sustained by members since 1967. Our public purpose is a statement of commitment to each other—that we will work together to improve access to the information held in libraries around the globe, and find ways to reduce costs for libraries through collaboration.