An open access chapter from the new edition of Alison Cullingford’s Special Collections Handbook is now available to view and download from the Facet Publishing website.
The chapter discusses threats that can destroy collections or items within them very quickly: the timescale for effective action is much shorter, so prevention, planning and rapid response are essential. The chapter covers:
- Causes and impact of emergencies in Special Collections, with particular emphasis on fire and water damage.
- How to prevent and prepare for emergencies via the emergency plan.
- Issues in responding to and recovering from emergencies.
- Planning for service continuity.
- Security issues and how to manage them
- Insurance issues.
Fully updated since the first edition, the Handbook covers all aspects of special collections work: preservation, developing collections, understanding objects, emergency planning, security, legal and ethical concerns, cataloguing, digitization, marketing, outreach, teaching, impact, advocacy and fundraising.
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Facet Publishing have announced the release of the second edition of The Special Collections Handbook
This new edition from Alison Cullingford, Special Collections Librarian at the University of Bradford, is a practical day-to-day companion covering all aspects of special collections work.
Working with special collections can vary dramatically from preserving a single rare book to managing and digitizing vast mixed-media archives, yet the role of the information professional is always critical in tapping into the potential of these collections, protecting their legacy and bringing them to the attention of the wider public. This book offers up-to-date guidance which pulls together insights from best practice across the heritage sector to build innovative, co-operative and questioning mind-sets that will help them to cope in turbulent times.
Alison said “despite the challenges, the five years since the first edition have seen new reports, new collaborations , new publications and new standards; great progress has been made on digital curation, on tackling hidden collections, on doing what we do – better.”
Highlights of the new edition include coverage of new standards and concepts including unique and distinctive collections (UDCs); discussion of the major changes to laws affecting special collections; exploration of new trends in research including the rise of digital humanities, open access, the impact agenda and the REF; and consideration of impact and indicators, digitization and new skills frameworks from CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Group and ACRL Rare Books and Manuscripts Section.
Alison Cullingford is Special Collections Librarian at the University of Bradford, where she is responsible for over 100 collections of modern archives and rare books. The
service was the first English university to achieve Archive Accreditation. She also managed the Unique and Distinctive Collections project for Research Libraries UK. An active member of the CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Group and many other sector groups, Alison also regularly presents at conferences, blogs and tweets on the importance of the special collections librarian.
More information: http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=301263
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Facet Publishing have announced the release of the 3rd edition of the Directory of Rare Book and Special Collections in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
The Directory is the only publication to bring together rare book and special collections from all kinds of libraries across the UK and Ireland and is an essential research tool for researchers and librarians throughout the world.
Fully updated since the second edition was published in 1997, this comprehensive and up-to-date guide encompasses collections held in national libraries, academic libraries, public libraries, subscription libraries, clergy libraries, libraries for other professions, school libraries, companies, London clubs, museums and archives, and libraries in stately homes.
Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian at the University of Oxford said, “The new edition is a long-awaited reference work which will help researchers identify the UK and Republic of Ireland’s great collections of research materials. It provides detailed and authoritative information and is a must for all serious researchers.”
Edited by Karen Attar, Curator of Rare Books and University Art at Senate House Library, The Directory:
- contains a national, cross-sectoral overview of rare book and special collections
- offers full contact details, and descriptions of rare book and named special collections including quantities and particular subject and language strengths
- provides a quick and easy summary of individual libraries’ holdings
- directs researchers to the libraries most relevant for them
- assists libraries to evaluate their special collections according to a ‘unique and distinctive’ model
- enables libraries to make informed decisions about acquisition and collaboration
- helps booksellers and donors to target offers.
David Prosser, Executive Director of Research Libraries UK said, “Together, institutions in the UK and Ireland hold unrivalled special collections. From our great National Libraries, through university collections to the smaller collections of specialist societies, cathedrals, historic homes, and museums we have a centuries-old tradition of collecting, preserving and giving access. Scholars from around the world and across disciplinary differences rely on the treasures held by libraries listed in the Directory to pursue their research and help us make sense of the world in which we live.”
This blog post originally appeared on the CILIP website.
All of us who put on exhibitions know there is never enough time. Even when dates look good, there are always changes and unforeseen problems. In the run up to the opening, it really does seem to prove Parkinson’s Law – no matter how much time you have, it always seems to go up to the wire.
And then there are the things we forget – did we check the copyright on that item; what were the special conditions of that loan; does a particular lender require immunity from seizure; what light levels do we need?
Here are my top 10 tips for organising a successful exhibition:
1. Good planning and organisation
This is the most important! Make sure you have enough time and people with the right knowledge and experience to carry out the project.
Organizing exhibitions is a process; objects don’t appear on display by magic and every exhibition is the result of planning and organisation. Consider your success factors from the outset and make sure the team keeps referring to them.
Make sure you have enough time for last minute changes or unforeseen problems. Couriers have been known to take their object home if they find the gallery is still being built or the display case is not ready.
Make a list of everything you have to do. It could include design, contracts, loans, transport, customs, licensing, insurance or indemnity, couriers, copyright, display cases, web page, education programmes and marketing.
2. Adequate budget
Money is not the most important thing but you must match your exhibition to your budget. Know exactly what the budget is and stick to it. You can always expand if more money comes in.
Set up good systems for logging objects, loans, dates, etc., and keep track of everything. Sign and date agreements. Keep records.
4. Team work
Every exhibition calls for teamwork. Have one team leader and regular team meetings.
5. Good communication & negotiation
Make sure everyone in the team knows what is happening and when. Talk to each other and have frequent communication with lenders and contractors. Most difficulties can be solved by negotiation.
6. Keep to the schedule
All exhibitions are time-bound, under pressure and with fixed deadlines. Have someone in charge of the schedule who makes sure everything is on time and who can take action if things start to slide.
Make sure the schedule is written down and available for everyone. It should set out all the key stages and milestones of the project with dates and the named responsible person. Activities can be plotted on the chart to make sure programme is on time.
7. Clear areas of responsibility
Make sure everyone’s role is clear so that there are not “too many cooks…” Who is responsible for making decisions and who has the last word?
8. Emergency response
Know what to do if things go wrong. Have the team do a risk assessment at the outset and draw up a response plan. Make sure everyone knows the plan.
9. Good maintenance
Make sure the exhibition looks as good on the last day as at the opening. Peeling labels, dirty marks or broken interactives give a poor message and also reduce visitor enjoyment.
And when the exhibition closes, make sure all the hard work leaves something behind. A website, catalogue, workshop, app or partnerships can all continue to provide benefits long after the items have gone home.
The success of an exhibition doesn’t depend on size, money or visitor figures. Any exhibition can be a success with careful planning and good organisation.
About the author
Freda Matassa is author of Organizing Exhibitions: A handbook for museums, libraries and archives. Whether you organize exhibitions every day or are thinking of doing your first one, help is at hand in Organizing Exhibitions. The book is a simple step-by-step process with all the stages of putting on an exhibition from initial idea to closure and legacy. It’s designed for any size or type of display and makes sure that no key element is left out.
This excellent new blog charts Karen Attar’s progress in compiling the new edition of A Directory of Rare Book and Special Collections in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, check it out!
2014: a new year and a huge new national project for special collections. Several years ago the committee of the CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Group, producer of the major reference tool A Directory of Rare Book and Special Collections in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, realised that the Directory, last published in 1997, was losing its currency. That is no reflection on the book’s basic worth, but a recognition of a rapidly changing environment, in which collections are acquired, dispersed and transferred; institutions to which special collections belong recreate their identity; and new libraries spring into being. Thanks to heroic advances in computerised cataloguing, we also know far more about our collections than we did fifteen years ago, with hard facts replacing estimates and impressions of collection strengths and sizes. So the time was right to produce a new edition. We conducted some…
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