Special collections, present and future

I recommend two recent meditations on the present and future roles of rare book libraries and special collections:

Both Darnton and Turner argue that today's digital information world makes rare books & manuscript collections more important, and not simply as mines for content creators.

Several of my favorite "oldies but goodies" in this vein are by Daniel Traister at the University of Pennsylvania.

Finally, two blogs worth checking out:

  • On Bibliophagist the rare book dealer Garrett Scott encourages "low-spot collecting" (see The Gee-Whiz Factor) and muses on The Modern American Library, as well as extolling the virtues of the Bug-House Poet.
  • BibliOdyssey, dedicated to "Books - Illustrations - Science - History - Visual Materia Obscura - Eclectic Bookart", is a consistently satisfying feast for the eyes and the mind, as well as an instructive exercise in data mining. The curator, Paul K. of Sydney, brings together an incredible variety of graphic material in books, manuscripts, advertising, and ephemera from around the world.

MIKE WIDENER
Rare Book Librarian

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