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June 19, 2013 / playforth

Letting the cat(alogue) out of the bag

Clever Emmy by Sarah Barker on Flickr

Is a printed book on a library shelf ‘hidden’? Not if it’s properly catalogued (and properly shelved!) But it’s not as easily accessible as something on the internet, right? Or is it? As mass digitisation projects proliferate, there will inevitably be a lot of ‘digitise and dump’ behaviour going on, where full-text documents are put online but aren’t associated with any proper metadata or finding aids, and are given no publicity. So is it better to put resources into cataloguing, indexing and promoting printed material? Clearly, we need to do both for fully accessible collections.

Thanks to initial discussions at Library Camp about the RLUK Hidden Collections Report (and thanks especially to Katie Birkwood and David Clover) I’ll be speaking on this subject and the projects happening at the British Library for Development Studies at the SCOLMA annual conference on 9th July. Looking forward to it! (I haven’t yet managed to get the Sugarbabes into my presentation, but there’s still time…)

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