Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Because Ideas Matter - Finding Special Collections on the web

Some years ago MPOW made the painful but necessary decision to remove the bibliographies that were are all grouped together in the Reference Collection and to re-catalogue each one so that each bibliography could be found with the subject it was about. This meant that bibliographies on Shakespeare could be found with the other Shakespeare books which would make it more likely to be stumbled upon and more likely to save the user a trip to another set of stacks in the library.

I bring this up because this project came to mind when I was doing some follow up research on a book by and about Jane Jacobs. The book contains material from the Jane Jacobs Papers that are located, not in New York City or Toronto as one would first presume, but in Boston College. Now those papers are from her life from 1916 to 1995. Jane Jacobs passed away in 2006. Where are the papers from her last decade? That's not a rhetorical question - I haven't found out where they are yet.

If the future of academic libraries means currating our unique collections, we have to start doing a better job of letting the world know what we have to offer. This means recognizing that most people search for a subject - not for a bibliography or a directory of library special collections. But how can we achieve that? How can we nestle information about the unique and rich collections in our libraries right beside the subjects that they are about in the online world?

There is a way. Thank you Wikipedia.

Now you go to it! Add your library's collections to The Free Encyclopedia right now!

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