May 28, 2022

New Report: “Evidencing the Impact and Value of Special Collections”

The report linked below was recently published by RLUK. 



Christina Kamposiori and Sue Crossley



From the Publication Announcement

The unique and distinctive collections held by research libraries have long been recognised as cultural assets to their institutions with strong research and educational potential. Yet, over the past decades, aspects of a fast changing society, such as the digital revolution, and the challenging economic climate have greatly shaped the practices and values of academic and cultural heritage institutions. Many institutions, including research libraries, have been called to respond to the call for openness in scholarship and culture as well as prove their worth and positive impact on society.
Some of the main issues raised in the report are:
RLUK research libraries are increasingly taking advantage of technology and fundraising opportunities to develop a variety of activities that raise the profile of their institutions and collections; these have transformed the image of special collection departments, from ‘closed’ spaces to hubs of creativity and innovation.
Terminology used by universities to describe impact (closer to the REF criteria) does not always serve the strategic goals of the library and, thus, relevant activities may fail to reveal the full potential of special collections and archives as well as undermine the expertise and contribution of staff.
RLUK members reported difficulties in tracking and capturing the impact of collections when used by external projects, measuring long term impact of library resources and services or effectively evaluating the use of their digital resources.
The skill-set of collection professionals has expanded; apart from collection management, their responsibilities now include teaching, research and public engagement activities.
The report makes a number of recommendations, including suggestions on how these may be implemented on both an institutional and consortial level.

Direct to Full Text Report
40 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.