Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Special Collections at the Center

In “Special Collections Surge to the Fore,” an editorial in the latest issue of portal: Libraries and the Academy, Sarah Pritchard asks:

As libraries increasingly subscribe and have access to the same packages of easily replicated digital content and as publishers’ portfolios merge and converge, what will be the features that differentiate libraries and that help us assess the quality of information services available at a given institution?

The answer: “the provision of unique primary sources.”

Pritchard points out that the increasing importance of unique local collections is not restricted to research libraries:

Numerous smaller academic libraries, historical societies, museums, corporations, state agencies, and other places boast of materials of essential value to research and national heritage.

To see the central place that special collections will have in the University of Aberdeen’s new library, see this post.