Research Collections and Support

Support for collections has diversified as digital scholarship and learning become more common. The scope has expanded from consumption of externally provided materials to support for creation and curation of institutional materials, including digitized special collections, research data, and researcher profiles. We are encouraging the development of new ways of working which help libraries meet this challenge. We have deep expertise in special collections and archives, and connect OCLC to that community.

Current Activities

Preservation Health Check

OCLC Research and the Open Planets Foundation (OPF) are conducting a Preservation Health Check pilot to analyze the quality of preservation metadata created and in use by operational repository and deposit systems and evaluate the potential of such metadata for assessing digital preservation risks.

Changes in Scholarly Communication

This goal of this project is to help libraries find new ways to support their institutions' research mission.

Rough and Ready: Typescript Finding Aid Conversion

OCLC Research will undertake a small scale experiment to explore the effectiveness of tools and techniques for bringing offline archival descriptions to the open Web.


ArchiveGrid is a growing collection of over two million archival material descriptions that provides a foundation for OCLC Research collaboration and interactions with the archival community, and also serves as the basis for our experimentation and testing in text mining, data analysis, and discovery system applications and interfaces.

Survey of Special Collections and Archives in the UK and Ireland

OCLC Research and Research Libraries UK (RLUK) will survey library special collections holdings and practices of RLUK members & OCLC Research Library Partnership institutions in the UK and Ireland.

Demystifying Born Digital

This project focuses on enhancing the effective management of born-digital materials as they intersect with special collections and archives practices in research libraries.

Survey of Special Collections and Archives in the US and Canada

A detailed survey of more than 300 special collections and archives in academic and research libraries throughout the United States and Canada identified norms across the community as well as defined needs for community action and further research.

Support for Research Workflows

A collaborative project of OCLC Research and the UK's Research Information Network (RIN) to examine the use and provision of information-related tools and services to researchers throughout the lifecycle of the research process.

Sharing Special Collections

Streamlining procedures for successful delivery of rare and unique materials to users will maximize use of increasingly limited staff and financial resources.

Role of Libraries in Data Curation

An investigation into ways that libraries can support researchers' data needs and institutional needs for dataset curation.

PREMIS Maintenance Activity and Editorial Committee

OCLC Research participates in both the PREMIS Maintenance Activity and Editorial Committee. The Maintenance Activity is responsible for planning, organizing, and coordinating work and activities related to the PREMIS Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata. The PREMIS Editorial Committee has specific responsibility for managing the Data Dictionary, including supporting its use and coordinating future updates and revisions.

Past Activities

Synthesize Research on Users Studies

This project surveyed a variety of published and unpublished user studies, and synthesized common findings.

Some of the activities listed here have prototypes or demonstrations you can explore and play with. You can find a list of just those hands-on activities in ResearchWorks.

A few of these activities have generated software that you can download and build upon. Go to our software page for a list of only those activities.

The OCLC Research Library Partnership has sponsored the activities with this mark.