A new report from CLIR analyzes the impact of the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives program. The Foundations of Discovery, by Joy M. Banks, presents the results of a comprehensive analysis of final reports from all 128 projects funded through the program.
Running from 2008–2014, the program granted more than $27.4 million to academic, cultural heritage, and other collecting institutions to catalog “hidden” collections of high scholarly value. The program brought more than 4,000 collections to light in more than 160 institutions in the United States and Canada.
The report draws four main conclusions about the program:
- The investment made in cataloging materials across the United States and Canada made a significant impact on the culture of collecting institutions and the attitudes held about the importance of historic collections and the people that work with them.
- Recipient institutions represented a diversity of types and sizes of gallery, library, archives and museum (GLAM) organizations, which allowed for an impressive breadth and depth of item types made accessible through the program.
- Long-term sustainability of online catalogs is challenging for many of these institutions. Library support organizations like CLIR must determine what, if any, resources or advice they can offer to constituents facing difficult financial decisions affecting the availability of collection descriptions over time.
- In an increasingly digital research environment, there is a pressing need for search and discovery systems that bring together descriptions of both physical and digital artifacts so that researchers can learn about them alongside one another.
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35 pages; PDF.
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