Findings from survey of special collections and archives in the UK and Ireland summarized in new video
Special collections and archives play a key role in the future of research libraries. Significant challenges face institutions that wish to capitalize on that value, however, if they are to fully leverage and make available the rich content in special collections in order to support research, teaching, and community engagement. To help address these concerns, OCLC Research and RLUK collaborated to survey the special collections practices of RLUK members and OCLC Research Library Partnership institutions in the United Kingdom and Ireland. OCLC Research Program Officers Jackie Dooley and Merrilee Proffitt provide an overview of the survey in this video.
Complete findings from the survey and the resulting recommendations are published in the report, Survey of Special Collections and Archives in the United Kingdom and Ireland that is freely available from the OCLC Research website. The evidence-based assessment of the state of special collections in the UK and Ireland detailed in the report provides institutional leaders, curators, special collections staff, and archivists both evidence and inspiration to plan for much needed and deserved transformation of special collections. It also provides a backdrop for continued discussion, both within special collections and the larger library enterprise, for the role of special collections in an evolved information economy. In addition, it provides both evidence and a basis for action as part of the RLUK's Unique and Distinctive Collections workstrand and OCLC Research's Mobilizing Unique Materials theme.
Survey of Special Collections and Archives in the United Kingdom and Ireland builds on the foundation established by Taking Our Pulse: The OCLC Research Survey of Special Collections and Archives [pdf], a report published in 2010 that provides a rigorous, evidence-based appraisal of the state of special collections in the US and Canada. Together, the survey findings published in both reports establish a baseline for comparison of practices in the US and Canada between those in the UK and Ireland, and help to pave the way for building on mutual strengths and planning for joint activities where warranted.
For more information:
Survey of Special Collections and Archives in the UK and Ireland
- Video (7:28) [link]
- Report overview page [link]
- Full Report (.pdf: 1.8M/259 pp.) [link]
- Summary and Recommendations (.pdf: 69K/12 pp.) [link]
OCLC Research activity: Survey of Special Collections and Archives in the UK and Ireland [link]
OCLC Research theme: Mobilizing Unique Materials [link]
Related activity: Survey of Special Collections and Archives in the US and Canada [link]
RLUK workstrand: Unique and Distinctive Collections [link]