"An archive without a catalogue is like a room without a door": inaccessible, unusable, and the cause of much frustration. Still we and our users struggle with uncatalogued archives, our hidden collections. Why don't archive services catalogue these collections? Cataloguing archives takes time, expertise, and space. The scale of hidden collections in the UK is … Continue reading Revealed! How to catalogue your hidden archives
The embedded archivist I am delighted to report that we at the University of Bradford now have our own embedded archivist. Not familiar with this term? An embedded archivist works within the structure that is creating the records and is therefore ideally placed to encourage and foster an archiving culture. As archive services move into … Continue reading Boxes among the bones: embedding an archivist in Arch Sci
News of a wonderful find at the University of Reading Special Collections. While cataloguing a collection of fragments, Special Collections librarian Erika Delbecque spotted something exciting ... a leaf from the Sarum Ordinal printed by William Caxton in 1476 or 1477 - the only copy of this part of the book known to survive! The … Continue reading “I suspected it was special as soon as I saw it …”: Reading’s Caxton leaf
Meet the Trilemma I was thinking about the oft-cited software designer's "trilemma": fast, cheap, good. The trilemma for the designer's customer is that it is only possible for a project to be: fast and cheap - can't be good good and cheap - can't be fast good and fast - can't be cheap The qualities contradict each other: … Continue reading Beware the Trilemma!
Cataloguers rejoice! DCRM(B) and DCRM(S) are now freely available online. Here: Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Books) http://rbms.info/dcrm/dcrmb/index.html Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Serials) http://rbms.info/dcrm/dcrms/index.html Print copies of these standards have been tricky to get hold of in recent years. This welcome initiative from the Library of Congress will save money, time and effort for … Continue reading Cataloguing Made Simpler: key rare book standards freely available online
Back in September (20th to be exact) I went along to a workshop on archives accreditation. Though I've been following the growth of the new standard pretty closely, I still found the event really helpful. If you're thinking of applying, do try to get to one of these sessions! What did I like about this … Continue reading Bingo for Buttons: the archive accreditation workshop
Oops! I realise I haven't mentioned the Code of Practice for Cultural Collections Management (PAS 197: 2009). The Code is relevant to libraries, archives and museums, and offers a strategic framework for senior managers on collection management, development, information (i.e. cataloguing/metadata) and care. PAS 197 underlies the new archives accreditation standard, which is why I … Continue reading Code of Practice for Cultural Collections Management
We collect Special Collections for people to use, whether in our Reading Room or online wherever they may be in the world.
The key to getting more people using our archives is a) cataloguing those archives and b) getting the catalogues online. This means anyone anywhere can find these archives just by searching for keywords (names, places, subjects!). They don’t necessarily have to know that we exist or that an archive is what they need.
Like many other archives services, Special Collections has inherited archive catalogues which exist only on paper or which use old guidelines. In 2013, the Quick Wins Programme will quickly digitise and otherwise update these useful documents in order to make more information about important archives available online. In particular those all important keywords!
Keep up with the progress of the Programme on its website.
This post from the Special Collections librarian at the Jerwood Library, Trinity Laban, is inspiring. It tells a story of hidden, neglected special collections which were a burden and a concern for library staff. The writer shows how making the collections visible and making the case for their support changed everything. It's particularly interesting that … Continue reading Making the Case is Key for Music
Are you struggling with increasing numbers of users, demand for digital, crumbling collections, unsuitable storage space, intellectual property conundrums, born-digital collections, lack of skills, pressure of public sector cuts and recession ...? You are not alone! Two essential new reports reveal the challenges faced by UK special collections and archives and give us the evidence … Continue reading Too Many Collections, So Little Time?