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Title:Collection or Content? Developing a Social Science Proposition in the British Library
Author(s):England, Jude
Subject(s):Library collection development
Librarian-scholar collaboration
Interdisciplinary approach to knowledge.
Social sciences -- Research
Abstract:The British Library was founded in 1972 by an Act of Parliament which brought together eight institutions, including the British Museum Library and the National Lending Library for Science and Technology. The Library has a 250-year history of collecting, with over 150 million items from oracle bones to digital ephemera. Our traditional strength is in arts and humanities, but in 2005, the British Library decided to invest in the development of its social science proposition. A new post of Head of Social Science Collections and Research was established and filled in 2006, followed by the recruitment of staff – known as content specialists - into the new department. Activity to date has concentrated on developing relationships with the research community, alongside the identification and mapping of material across the Library (by discipline and research themes) and creating a coherent social science collection. Collaboration and the development of relationships with the wider social science research community are key priorities as we aim to play a significant role in knowledge transfer, particularly the exchange of ideas and experience between researchers, practitioners and policy makers. Engaging with the public is a longer term goal, with the intention of highlighting the role and value of research. This paper discusses the process and issues involved in developing the social science proposition and moving from a collection to content-focused approach in a major national research library. The paper concludes by outlining the aims and objectives of Social Science Collections and Research, illustrating how they work in practice, and describing some of the current activities of the team.
Issue Date:2008-08
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Publication Status:unpublished
Peer Reviewed:not peer reviewed
Sponsor:International Federation of Library Associations
University of Toronto, Library
University of Toronto, Faculty of Information
University of Illinois, Library
Title VI National Resource Center Grant (P015A060066)
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-08-07

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