Special collections in universities aren’t just dusty things in basements that are kept because they are nice or old. They’re part of the story of their institution, highlighting and documenting its distinctive qualities. For instance, the University of Bradford has peace campaign archives because of the radical history of the University and the City and collections on dyeing and textile industries because we grew from the City’s need for technical education. If properly cared for and catalogued, such collections are invaluable for research, teaching, community work, art and even student recruitment.
Unique and Distinctive Collections, a new report co-authored by Alison Cullingford and published by Research Libraries UK aims to help university senior managers see the potential of their collections and encourage them to invest in making more of them.