The following paper will be presented on Sunday (tomorrow) at the World Library and Information Congress, 78th IFLA General Conference and Assembly in Helsinki.
The Scholar/Librarian Goes Digital: New Times Require New Skills and Aptitudes
Gillian M. McCombs
Dean and Director of Central University Libraries
Southern Methodist University
IFLA General Conference 2012 Web Site
The digital age may well be considered a golden age for Special Collections. Treasures that have long been locked in vaults and available only to researchers onsite are now accessible at the click of a mouse from anywhere in the world. However, for every stunning rare book, photograph or art work that is available electronically, thousands more are still inaccessible. Some libraries have been slow to realize the potential for digital access and have not built the infrastructure needed to put these collections out into the public eye. This paper addresses questions such as: are we hiring the right people for Special Collections; are we retooling current curators so that they are technically adept; are we providing our Special Collections Libraries with necessary resources such as marketing and graphics design staff to develop websites for digital exhibits; have they developed a strategic plan that outlines their long-term goals for incorporating technology; what are the consortial opportunities that will help our Special Collections Libraries; are we working closely enough with library schools and rare book programs to ensure that graduates have the skills, aptitude and attitude that we need?