Information Access Seminar

Of Rare Books and Research Datasets, and Stewardship Transitions as an Organizing Structure

Friday, February 26, 2016
3:10 pm - 5:00 pm
107 South Hall
Jennifer Schaffner & Clifford Lynch

Of Rare Books and Research Datasets: Survival, Adoption, Sale, and Abandonment of Unique Materials
Jennifer Schaffner

Experts estimate that about 300 universities and colleges in the US alone will merge or close their doors in the next twenty years. What will become of their special collections, born-digital materials, and research datasets? This seminar will examine established procedures for re-appraisal, adoption, sale, and discard of rare books and archives. In special collections, these controversial transactions may ensure survival of socially important artifacts, when they must change hands. At the same time, we would like to discuss what elements of these practices, guidelines, business models, and legal contracts from special collections could be repurposed for transitions of digital stewardship, which are due to the burgeoning need to appraise, deaccession, preserve, and find a good home for culturally significant and unique digital materials.


Stewardship Transitions as an Organizing Structure
Clifford Lynch

The transfer of stewardship responsibilities, from creators to stewards, or from steward to steward (involving markets, collectors, and stewardship institutions) represents a crucial structure in the management of the broad cultural and scholarly record. This structure is very complex and multi-faceted, and has not been well studied in a systematic fashion. It's also clear that it's changing rapidly due to pressures and stresses that include the extensive restructuring of the landscape of stewardship institutions and the changing frameworks of ownership and stewardship surrounding digital materials. We'll revisit these issues as part of my subsequent presentation scheduled for March 4, building on Jennifer's presentation today.

Jennifer Schaffner’s most recent position was working with international alliances of librarians at OCLC Research, the “think tank” of a non-profit library cooperative and vendor. Previously, Jen was a librarian and archivist at Stanford, the New York Public Library, Princeton, the California Historical Society, and UCLA.

Last updated:

February 17, 2016