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
Delighted to reveal A Cabinet of Gems! It's our new Tumblr account. I'm using it to share appealing out-of-copyright images from Special Collections at Bradford, like this lovely 1920s girl on a photo wallet from the Jacquetta Hawkes Archive. Why (yet) another blog? I've realised for a while that I needed something to fill the … Continue reading A Tumblr full of Gems
How do we find out what users (and non-users) think of our services? We need to know this in order to ensure our services meet their needs and to argue our case for resources to improve them. Pretty obvious stuff, but it can be hard to get that feedback, to manage it, and to make … Continue reading Dear Special Collections, your service is …
"Preservation without use is an empty victory. It ought to be our primary purpose at all times to minimize barriers to use ..." "[It is] crucial to reach out and demystify special collections, to convey the message: 'Please touch. This is here for you. You are special enough for special collections'." So says John Overholt … Continue reading Five Theses on the Future of Special Collections
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?
"My vision then of a future manuscript catalogue would be of something that links together a wide range of resources ... anchored by the record of the physical manuscript itself ..." This vision is outlined by Andrew Prescott, Professor of Digital Humanities at Kings College London, in The Function, Structure and Future of Catalogues, now … Continue reading Manuscripts Online! And in the Public Domain …
Maps often occupy a paradoxical position in special collections. On the one hand, they are star items. People love maps, responding with delight to their personal ("there's my house!"), historic or visual interest. However, maps are often underexploited. They can be difficult to store, catalogue and make available in helpful ways. In particular, enquirers tend … Continue reading Make the Most of Your Maps
A new report, Exhibiting the Written Word, makes the excellent point that "there has been little reflection on the challenges of displaying the written word and how such displays differ from the display of art and museum artefacts". The report outlines the challenges e.g. book formats were not (usually) created to be shown in glass … Continue reading Exhibiting the Written Word