Report

Taking our pulse: the OCLC research survey of special collections and archives

13 Oct 2010
Description

Special collections and archives are increasingly seen as element s of distinction that serve to differentiate a n academic or research library from its peers. In recognition of this, the Association of Research Libraries conducted a survey in 1998 (reported in Panitch 2001) that was transformative and led directly to many high - profile initiatives to "expose hidden collections." As this OCLC Research report reveals, however, much rare and unique material remains undiscoverable, and monetary resource s are shrinking at the same time that user demand is growing.

The balance sheet is both encouraging and sobering:

• The s ize of ARL collections has grown dramatically, up to 300% for some formats

• Use of all types of material has increased across the board • Ha lf of archival collections have no online presence

• While many backlogs have decreased, almost as many continue to grow • User demand for digitized collections remains insatiable

• Management of born - digital archival materials is still in its infancy

• Staffing is generally stable , but has grown for digital services

• 75% of general library budgets have been reduced

• The current tough economy renders “business as usual” impossible.

The top three “most challenging issues” in managing special collections were space, born-digital materials, and digitization.

 

Collection note: In 2013 at UK version of this survey was conducted by OCLC and Research Libraries UK.

Survey of special collections and archives in the United Kingdom and Ireland

Publication Details
Published year only: 
2010
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