|Weekly News Digest
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OCLC Research Survey of Special Collections and Archives
OCLC Research has issued a new report. Taking Our Pulse: The OCLC Research Survey of Special Collections and Archives summarizes the findings from an OCLC Research survey of 275 institutions across the U.S. and Canada to determine norms across the community and to provide data to support decision-making and priority setting.
The top three “most challenging issues” in managing special collections were space (105 respondents), born-digital materials, and digitization. The rate of response was 61% (169 responses). Executed as a follow up to the 1998 Association of Research Libraries survey, some of the findings from the survey that are detailed in the report include the following:
- Far too many rare and unique materials remain “hidden”
- The size of collections is growing rapidly
- Most institutions report increased numbers of onsite users
- Staffing generally remains stable
The extent to which materials appear in online catalogs varies widely by format: 85% of printed volumes, 50% of archival materials, 42% of maps, and 25% of visual materials are accessible online. Relative to ARL’s 1998 data, 12% more printed volumes have an online record, as do 15% more archival materials and 6% more maps. This limited progress may be attributable in part to lack of sustainable, widely replicable methodologies to improve efficiencies.
On the other hand, great strides have been made with archival finding aids: 52% of ARL collection guides are now accessible online, up from 16% in 1998. Across the entire population the figure is 44%, which would increase to 74% if all extant finding aids available locally were converted. The other 26% reveals the archival processing backlogs that remain.
The 153-page report is available at http://www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/2010/2010-11.pdf.
Source: OCLC Research
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