Pratt Institute's School of Information - E-Portfolio 2018
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Improving Access and "Unhiding" the Special Collections

Project Title: Improving Access and "Unhiding" the Special Collections

Project URL: Download paper.

Project Description: This project was completed for Professor Irene Lopatovska's LIS-651 Information Professions course in Fall 2016. The goal of the project was to explore and review an issue in the LIS field that could have an impact on your future career. By reviewing the issue, the project is also meant to provide critical analysis of the issue.

Methods: I first conducted a literature review and broad analysis of the contemporary discussions to gain a general understanding of my topic. I drew upon my own past professional work as a Rare Books Assistant to provide a personal view of the issue. I also consulted a variety of web sources such as websites and online catalogs of libraries and special collections.

My Role: I am the sole creator of this work.

Learning Outcome Achieved: Research

Rationale: This project required me to develop a thesis topic that was inspired by my interview with a professional in the field. After my interview with Meghan Constantinou of The Grolier Club, I was interested in exploring the issue of access in the special collections which is an important issue in the LIS field currently. This project fulfills the research outcome because I draw upon a wide range of sources to explain the history of the issue and argued special collections can improve access to their materials through different ways such as digitization, designing a better online library catalog, allowing access to uncataloged materials, and increasing open web visibility. I argued these methods could have a great impact on special collections by using textual scholarly sources and providing concrete examples of institutions that are already using the methods I outlined.

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Additional Learning Outcome Achieved: LIS Practice

Rationale: This project introduced me to a current issue within the LIS field and allowed me to explore a wide range of sources, from scholarly to professional sources. This project shows my deep understanding of a critical issue in the LIS field and allowed me to contribute to the field by submitting this paper to a scholarly journal (The Serials Journal - Voices of the Future column). And through this project, I realized that special collections have made concentrated efforts to dispel the negative image of inaccessibility but there is still many barriers to access because of the web, digital, and bibliographic structures employed by special collections.