Siloed No More: Collaborations Between Digital and Special Collections




Long, Kara
McCormack, Allison M.

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Texas Digital Library


Baylor University is home to several special libraries, each with distinct missions and collecting focuses. This presentation explores a series of collaborations between a rare books cataloger and a metadata librarian in their efforts to raise the visibility of and increase access to special collections materials. We will discuss challenges to collaboration, including boundaries between cataloging and metadata management, dealing with diverse material types, and the institutional boundaries between discrete collections.To achieve our shared goals we established several “working solutions,” including the creation of MARC records and Dublin Core metadata, selective digitization, and allowing access to materials at both the collection and item levels. Rather than implementing a new software or designing a new program, these simple solutions are the direct results of reaching across institutional and departmental boundaries and finding commonalities in the work we previously did separately.

In this presentation, we will highlight four digitization and cataloging projects from four different libraries as examples of successful collaborations and collaborations in progress. The oldest project involves the Historic Waco Newspapers collection at the Texas Collection, which was difficult for patrons to access due to the confusing holdings statements in the bibliographic records. The Keston Center for Religion, Politics and Society has a similar issue regarding access to their historic photo archive. The Armstrong Browning Library had digitized their extensive collection of Browning correspondence, but patrons were unable to discover the holdings in the library catalog. Finally, Central Libraries Special Collections is home to a growing collection of artists’ books. These contemporary but unique materials also present challenges in access and visibility across campus, and the nature of the materials makes casual browsing impossible.

Working collaboratively, we were able to increase patron access to these materials and reduce duplication of effort. Integrating links, photos, and other digital objects into print material records has increased the visibility of both the print and digital collections in tandem. This presentation will interest catalogers, metadata librarians, and those who work with rare and special collections materials.


Presentation slides for the 2017 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries (TCDL).