S.504: Doing more by doing less: stopping programs without regret

This session focused on terminating specific programs or services in the archive or library. Key themes included: improved efficiencies, twenty-first century library user needs and expectations, and adhering to or implementing archival best practices.

Rebecca Goldman touched on a very important issue when she asked us to consider: if special collections are expected to be doing more, how can we best work with colleagues in other departments to get work done? Cataloging is a great example. 

In our library, we haven’t had a cataloger in our department in a few years, rather that work is done by staff in the library’s cataloging department. Their work has shifted and become far more automated, and so they’ve been freed up to work on special collections projects. They have cataloged posters from the AIDS Education Posters Collection that have been digitzed and are available online. They create collection level records in MARC to showcase new collections we’ve acquired and then those records are loaded into the library catalog. They’ve also helped us to greatly reduce our backlog of monographs and printed ephemera that used to be housed and lightly described with our manuscript collections. 

Working more closely with catalogers is but one example of how we in special collections can best leverage our expertise and the expertise of our colleagues to continue to do great work that serves our users’ needs and contributes to the teaching and learning mission of our universities.

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