About this site

I created this site as an online extension of The Special Collections Handbook,  published by Facet Publishing in December 2011.  The book was well received by librarians, archivists and students worldwide, and as a result Facet commissioned me to write a Second Edition, published in December 2016.

The Handbook is a practical guide to help librarians and others new to caring for special collections, by which I mean all the exciting stuff in a library that needs extra care but that also appeals to wider audiences.  Rare books, maps, archives, photographs, objects, and increasingly, digital media.  Managing such collections requires a huge range of skills and knowledge.  The book covers them all:

  • Keeping collections safe: collections care, emergency planning, security
  • Managing collections: acquisitions, metadata (including managing hidden collections), digitisation, digital libraries
  • Collections for people: user services, teaching, outreach, marketing, exhibitions
  • Resources for collections: staffing and skills, space and buildings, advocacy, performance measurement and impact; fundraising.

The Second Edition includes many new or heavily revised sections, for example much much more on managing digital resources, staff, buildings and building projects, and impact.

Many of the examples, case studies and documentation in the book are freely available online.  Mindful of the dreaded link rot, which will make the links in the book obsolete before the text ceases to be relevant, I set up this site to maintain links as they migrate to new addresses.  I’ll also add interesting new stories and information to help users keep up to date with the latest developments in the fast-changing world of Special Collections.  I hope this will make the experience of using the book more valuable.  This site is also the home for all my new blog posts on special collections and archives.

Needless to say, all views very much my own!

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