Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Report from RBMS, part 1

Just returned from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where the annual preconference of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries took place last week. The meeting exceeded all my expectations for lively discussion, inspiring presentations, fun tours, and great food.

Unfortunately, I missed all of Tuesday's programming due to flight delays. No browsing the Booksellers' Showcase, sadly.

My favorite session on Wednesday was "Yes, We Scan: Innovative Approaches to User-Initiated Digitization." Speakers, including my former University of Chicago co-workers Julia Gardner and Anne Bahde, presented "innovative experiments with scanning and delivering digital copies of special collections materials at the request of users." It was fascinating to see that each presenter's department had developed a completely unique approach to "scan-on-demand" services, depending on their library's resources and patrons' needs. By the way, we here in HC&A have long experience with scan-on-demand services - always good to find out something you've been doing for ages is the cutting edge!

In terms of presentation, the most innovative session I attended was Thursday's pecha kucha on instruction and outreach with special collections materials. The presenters did an outstanding job with this format, using plenty of humor and inventive visuals.

Friday's final plenary was on emergency management and disaster recovery, drawing on the experiences of archivists involved in post-Katrina recovery. Their stories and slides were sad and shocking, but it was amazing to see how much of their collections they were able to save through preparedness, communication with outside agencies, and a ton of on-the-fly creativity.

Another RBMS update - including photos - is coming later this week!

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