I’m delighted to share the news that the report of the 2010 RLUK/London Library Hidden Collections survey is now available online. Helping to prepare the report for publication has been part of my work on this project. Looking at the detailed replies from librarians has given me a real sense of the scale of the problem. I hope the report will help raise awareness of the concerns and help us jointly find ways forward.
And talking of the OCLC/RLUK survey, there’s a handy article by Jackie Dooley in the latest issue of LIBER Quarterly (vol 21 no 1). It’s a useful summary of the findings of the original North American survey and introduces the UK version and this project at the end. Jackie also wonders whether LIBER libraries would be interested in using the survey …
(LIBER is the Association of European research libraries, and naturally has close links with RLUK. Another project partner!).
Time for a cuppa! A family surveyed as part of Social Survey in Stepney, 1946, by LSE students. From LSE Library flickr commons stream
I recently had a sneak preview of the data from the RLUK/OCLC survey. Can’t share just yet, as there is much yet to be done to it, but here’s some points that stand out:
- The response rate was impressive: all RLUK libraries replied and an excellent proportion of others. Thanks to all who took the trouble!
- Linking with OCLC brings the great benefit of their experience of running the North American survey, in terms of timing, questions, writing up etc. It also enables lots of direct comparisons between the results of the two surveys.
- I can see already how the survey results will help individual libraries to benchmark the resources they put into collections against country and sector norms (this will be so useful! Something we really haven’t had before). It will also be invaluable making the wider case for collections.
I’ll be offering whatever help I can in producing the results of the survey to the OCLC folk and the UK Special Collections librarians who have helped adapt the survey. We meet to discuss further on 24 November and aim to publish the results in April.
A report full of fascinating information about archives services in Scotland was published this week: The Nation’s Catalogue: Scotland online, by Caroline Williams, published by the Scottish Council on Archives. The report was produced to explore technological and funding options in furthering the Scottish Archive Network (SCAN), but is of much wider interest and well worth a read by anyone interested in archives.
The report looks at the findings of a survey on catalogues and resource discovery, including hidden collections. These are key parts of this project and this survey will offer useful evidence. I was particularly interested in the sections on changes in approach and practice since a previous survey in 2009: recent, but in this fast-moving sector the changes are striking. I also liked an attempt to bring the sheer scale of collections to life by comparing the linear distance of the archives concerned to the distance between Edinburgh and Stirling or five miles of end-to-end Eddie Stobart lorries!