Digitisation Without digitising books we risk losing important items forever Allows users to get a feeling for a book as a whole whilst protecting a fragile item from unnecessary handling Digitisation creates a cycle of promotion, use, funding then digitisation of additional collections Can give institutions an advantage where promotion and financial support is concerned Digital versions can be used as valuable promotional tools
Prominent Rare Book Tweeters @bodleianlibs - Bodleian Libraries: 10,488 followers @Wellcome_Library 7,530 followers @MedievalMSS - Walters Art Museum Manuscript Department: 3,981 followers @LdnMetArchives - London Metropolitan Archives: 3,354 followers @blmedieval - British Library Manucripts: 3,012 followers @BeineckeLibrary - Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library: 2,773 followers on Twitter, 3,812 onFacebook @erik_kwakkel - Erik Kwakkel, Leiden University: 2,750 followers @wynkenhimself - Sarah Werner, Folger Shakespeare Library: 2,300 followers @WillNoel - William Noel, Director of Special Collections, University of Pennsylvania: 2,000 followers @medievalpecia - Jean-Luc Deuffic: 1,500 followers; 42,392 visitors to his blog since 30th March 2012 @john_overholt - Houghton Library, Harvard University: 1,378 followers
Cat pawprints post on Twitter by @erik_kwakkel received 95 retweets and was favourited by 56 people...
...it then found its way onto Facebook where it received: 8,248 Likes 29,820 Shares 542 comments
Promotion via Social Networks Vital to engage with audience Seeing an image of an item gives it “celebrity” status, and people want to see the original for themselves “Why do people go and see the Mona Lisa?...Because they already know what she looks like...Rather than detracting from the importance of the original, the digital image can actually increase the aura of the original.” William Noel, The Daily Pennsylvania, Feb 11th 2013
Promotion via Social Networks Short videos uploaded to streaming sites to capitalise on ongoing popularity of history programmes Already successful in the field of general science People are interested in exciting finds. They love a mystery, a treasure hunt and stories If an institution can demonstrate that there is is interest in their rare books, then this provides an excellent case for funding
Collaborations New working collaborations between institutions Connect academic, public, museum and specialist libraries Sharing of knowledge and expertise
Hidden Collections RLUK published a report in 2012 looking at hidden collections within libraries Report identified 13 million uncatalogued items within institutions of 75 respondents alone. How many more might be hidden? How can researchers use collections if they do not know of their existence? Institutions potentially missing out on funding opportunities
Hidden Collections – The Problem How can institutions make items visible to users if theyhave neither the staff nor funding available for cataloguing projects?
Hidden Collections –The Future? Creation of an online national register 89% of respondents were keen on this idea List items requiring retrospective cataloguing, conversion or record enhancement A basic record at least makes collections visible
Revealing Hidden Collections Senate House Library, London: Items listed online with basic record Popularity assessed Use data to present case studies for funding Cambridge University Library: When items are listed online, they are used! MIMAS, the team behind Copac, are looking into creating such a database Institutions would be able to link their catalogues to this database Many more rare books made available to users and other libraries.
Volunteers Volunteers may be used with increasing frequency Sympathetic to collections Can provide additional skills e.g. languages Help reduce cataloguing backlog
So, what might we expect from the future? Future is bright for rare books Technology allows for further creation of high quality digitised images Social networks will be utilised for promotion of items National online database of hidden collections increases access Greater collaboration between institutions and sectors Increased awareness and use leads to increase in funding