Special and archival collections in university libraries are valuable assets to their parent organizations, serving as primary sources for scholarship activity, attracting researchers and funding, engaging communities, enhancing reputations, and enriching student learning. However, special collections occupy space, require specialist staff and equipment and may not necessarily be well used or valued by their parent institutions.
Initiatives and Resources
CARL aims to support the development, maintenance and management of special collections that meet the resource needs of researchers, students and other library stakeholders.
- CARL completed a survey of Special Collections at CARL Libraries (September 2012) to gain a better understanding of the nature and operations of special collections in Canadian research libraries – now, and in the future.
- A presentation (May 2013) was made at the Canadian Library Association Conference in Winnipeg, MB.
- Survey of Special Collections and Archives in the US and Canada is a detailed survey of 275 academic and research libraries throughout the United States and Canada completed by OCLC to study special collections and archives.
- Association of Research Libraries (ARL) also works to addresses issues faced by ARL libraries in the digitization of special collections, particularly in the area of copyright and making collections openly accessible. Reports, toolkits and other resources are available on its website.
- Directory of Special Collections of Research Value in Canadian Libraries (archived webpage) was maintained by Library and Archives Canada to assist researchers, scholars, and librarians in locating the specialized resources necessary to support research.