CLIR Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives Symposium- Innovation, Collaborations, and Models

I attended “Looking back and facing forward: Learning from Collaborations with our peers and constituents” for session one. Eric Pumroy of Bryn Mawr shared his experiences participating in the PACSAL consortium finding aid database project. He emphasized the challenges that he and others continue to confront as they consider the future of is collaboration. These issues include:

Lack of IT support for Archivists Tookkit following their 2008 and 2011 grants

Policy issues with harvesting considered to be external attacks

Lack of PACSAL advisory committee and sustained funding.

David McNight from UPENN spoke next as the host institution that served as the 501C3 for these grants. He emphasized the importance of identifying a host institution that can provide IT support and and infrastructure. He concluded his remarks by asking about what the long term costs are of providing access to finding aid data? What are preservation costs? Technological committments and support? Database improvements?

The final speaker was Emily Gustainis from the Center of the History of Medicine at Harvard. She shared her user research project to determine what kinds of data researcher value most when accessing finding aids. Series proved more important that foldet titles, which many find misleading. Their results also found that experienced researcher just want access to the collections and want to determine for themselves the relevance for their research.

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