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Special Collections: What Are They and How Do We Build Them?

  • Vanessa King

Extract

This article provides a very brief introduction to practical information useful for building special collections at an academic law library rather than addressing theory or the history of special collections.

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Copyright

Footnotes

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2

The author is the Assistant Law Librarian for Special Collections, Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Footnotes

References

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3 This article does not specifically discuss born-digital materials or digitization.

4 Jackie M. Dooley and Katherine Luce (2010), Taking Our Pulse: The OCLC Research Survey of Special Collections and Archives, OCLC Research, https://www.oclc.org/content/dam/research/publications/library/2010/2010-11.pdf.

5 Pre-1700 there was a general focus on legal practice versus post-1700 when the focus shifted more toward legal theory. This time period also represents the transition from manuscript to print. Law Books: History and Connoisseurship, Rare Book School course taught by Mike Widener, June 2016. See reference works by John H. Baker, Theodore F.T. Plucknett, and William S. Holdsworth.

6 See reference works by Morris L. Cohen, Lawrence M. Friedman, Grace E. Macdonald, and the Women's Legal History Biography Project, http://www.law.stanford.edu/library/womenslegalhistory/.

7 See reference works by Michael H. Hoeflich, Kenneth Pennington, and Roman Law Resources, http://www.iuscivile.com/.

8 See reference works by Theodore Besterman, the Grotius Society, and edited by Alexander Orakhelashvili.

9 See John Carter, ABC for Book Collectors (8th ed. 2004), https://www.ilab.org/articles/john-carter-abc-book-collectors, and alibris, Glossary of Book Terms, https://www.alibris.com/glossary/glossary-books#a.

10 Once you've evaluated any existing special collections your library may hold, you may want to weed out or deaccession any unwanted items. Also, after an evaluation of your library's general collection you may be able to identify rare and valuable materials that should be transferred to special collections. See Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), Guidelines on the Selection and Transfer of Materials from General Collections to Special Collections (4th ed. 2016), http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/selctransfer.

11 Lawbook Exchange, https://www.lawbookexchange.com/ and Meyer Boswell Books, http://www.meyerbos.com are two of the rare law book dealers with whom we work most often. For a list of recommended dealers see Lyonette Louis-Jacques, Antiquarian/Rare Books Vendors and Dealers: Foreign and International Law, DipLawMatic Dialogues (October 24, 2016), https://fcilsis.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/antiquarianrare-books-vendors-and-dealers-foreign-and-international-law/.

13 For example, a faculty member may know that the family of a colleague (law professor, judge, or attorney) who has died is looking for a research library to archive their relative's papers.

14 In addition, an attorney or legal scholar may leave their papers to a trusted faculty colleague in their will.

15 In an archival context, appraisal is the process of determining whether records and other materials have permanent value. Society of American Archivists, Appraisal, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology, https://www2.archivists.org/glossary/terms/a/appraisal.

© Vanessa King 2018. This is a companion to a piece published by my colleague, Jason LeMay, in issue 46.1 of the International Journal of Legal Information. It is a summary of the text of an oral presentation, the first session in a pre-conference workshop titled, Well, Isn't that Special? A How-To Workshop on Creating and Using Archives and Special Collections in a Legal Research Context. It was delivered at the International Association of Law Libraries, 36th Annual Course on International Law and Legal Information, Civil Rights, Human Rights, and Other Critical Issues in U.S. Law, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, October 22–26, 2017. The presentation was 25 minutes long and included PowerPoint slides, a handout, and physical examples of selected rare materials from Special Collections at the Hugh F. MacMillan Law Library, Emory University School of Law.

2 The author is the Assistant Law Librarian for Special Collections, Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

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