50%of material in research collections is inaccessible to most researchers

Added by Sally Curry on 25 March 2008 19:22

?Many of the research resources in UK libraries are not catalogued at all or are not covered by online catalogues.?  

?Such resources are increasingly likely to be overlooked or ignored by researchers ? whatever their potential value for research?

The findings of RIN?s Uncovering Hidden Resources report (http://www.rin.ac.uk/catalogue-coverage) shouldmake disturbing reading for librarians and those trying to provide best access to information and resources for research.

This is a national problem as, despite the efforts made by UK libraries in the last few years, 50% of material in research collections is not covered by online catalogues. One of the principal recommendations of the report is that ?Work towards ensuring that all research collections are covered by online catalogues should remain a high priority for all research libraries.?

RIN is actively investigating how best to follow up the findings of this report and how to assist the library community to make the value of these collections available for research and learning.

In the current technical environment, collaboration and co-ordination will be essential to ensure efficiency and cost effectiveness in any work undertaken in this area. This must cover record creation and description of collection contents as well sharing use of the resulting records.

Our colleagues in the US seem to have been thinking along similar lines as CLIR has announced a $4.27m national program to identify and catalogue ?hidden special collections and archives?. Hidden Collections

Can we learn from the preparations already made for this programme? Can the UK piggy back on the work CLIR is proposing and could we both benefit from and contribute to the resources that will be created?

This has also been blogged about by Lorcan Dempsey.

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