Workshop – The challenge of Discovery for Special Collections in Research Libraries
Research Libraries and their special collections face a series of challenges when it comes to discovery and accessibility. Special collections cover a range of disciplines as they span across rare books, archives, art and museum collections, etc. They also face challenges being of interest to different user groups and often have a much wider audience than that of just the University. This diversity of audiences raises an exciting challenge in how to make these collections widely accessible, not just to the known audiences but also to the wider community of interest, both locally and globally.
How can we present these collections coherently so that users across all the disciplines can explore them in a meaningful way? How can we engage with academic and non-academic audiences? What tools and types of engagement are these different types of users looking for? How do we ensure they easily discover what they are looking for when they have no familiarity? In essence, what are the fundamental principles that make the discovery and use of special collections an enjoyable and simple experience for all?
We hope that this workshop will provoke thought around new ways of thinking on how to organise, present and reinvigorate special collections for a wide range of audiences.