Library special collections

Usually when you go to a library, everything in the collection is easily accessible and in plain view. That includes books and audiovisual materials that you may check out. It also includes computers, magazines, newspapers, reference materials, etc. that you must used in the library. But what treasures lie behind a locked door marked “special collections”? It’s mostly academic libraries that have a special collections department. If they’re very old, then some of their earliest acquisitions have become both old and rare. They’re rare because most other libraries have “weeded” those items out of their collections long ago. After all, … Continue reading

Crowdsourcing at the library: editing Wikipedia

Recent decades have seen growing power of crowdsourcing. Wikipedia, which has been around for ten years now, is based in part on this notion: the combined research efforts of many people of varying backgrounds and opinions can provide better information than a single expert can find. That has proved problematical in practice. Libraries have become part of the solution to at least one problem, as Wikipedia has recently sponsored dozens of editing marathons (editathons) in libraries nationwide (and also more in Great Britain). Originally, crowdsourcing meant that Wikipedia and other similar organizations invited a broad spectrum of the general public … Continue reading