What is “Special” about Special Collections in the Twenty-first Century?
In a world of widely accessible licensed digital publications, rare and unique special collections have become increasingly prominent components of library holdings. They are also increasingly integrated into educational curricula and diversity initiatives. This paper will contemplate what is “special” about special collections in libraries in the twenty-first century, as well as the particular roles that special collections can or may be expected to play in state, university and other kinds of libraries and GLAM institutions.
Anne J. Gilliland is Professor and Director of the Archival Studies specialization in the Department of Information Studies, Director of the Center for Information as Evidence, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, and a faculty affiliate of the Center for Digital Humanities at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
She is also the director of the Archival Education and Research Initiative (AERI), a global collaborative effort amongst academic institutions that seeks to promote state-of-the-art in scholarship in archival studies, broadly conceived, as well as to encourage curricular and pedagogical innovation in archival and recordkeeping education locally and worldwide.
She is a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists and recipient of numerous awards in archival and information studies. She is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Centre for Global Research, RMIT University in Melbourne and has served as a NORSLIS (Nordic Research School in Library and Information Science) Professor (with Tampere University, Finland; Lund University, Sweden; and the Royal School, Denmark), and as an Honorary Professorial Research Fellow, Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute, University of Glasgow. She has taught courses as a visiting faculty member at Renmin University of China in Beijing and the University of Zadar, Croatia.
Her research and teaching relate broadly to the history, nature, human impact and technologies associated with archives, recordkeeping and memory, particularly in translocal and international contexts. Her recent work has been addressing recordkeeping and archival systems and practices in support of human rights, recovery and daily life in post-conflict and diasporic settings; the politics and nature of metadata; digital recordkeeping and archival informatics; and research methods and design in archival studies.