SPEC Kit 347: Community-based Collections · 41
Archivists who create such composite collections need to be researchers and have expertise on the topic they
are collecting.
Collection management can be challenging as the provenance of the collection is mixed and sometimes “pre-curated”
prior to acquisition.
Consensus building and community outreach are more important skills for these types of collections.
Emotional intelligence, dealing with personal loss, soft people skills, extensive artifact handling
Networking within the community
Partnership, ongoing work with volunteers, building relationships/friendships with community members,
fostering investment
Spanish-speaking graduate student
The Assistant Curator hired for outreach and teaching activities was chosen specifically for his deep knowledge of the
culture and his membership in the community, not for his background or skills in the library or archival professions.
The position requires working knowledge of preservation, arrangement, and description practices for architectural
materials. Working with the community involves frequent engagement with donors who are not familiar with the
expertise of information professionals.
This has required ongoing communication with the community and the development of public events the focus on their
interests and priorities.
Using Omeka Contribution plug-in capturing current information accepting digital material from community members
When it implies new acquisition related to this community-based collection there is often political implication. You need
to know how to navigate, probably more than generally expected in a not community-based type of collection.
Work with this particular community-based, grief-based collection requires a more enhanced sensitivity to donor
relations than may perhaps be required of other collections under the care of the Syracuse University Libraries, or other
institutions, generally. Furthermore, owing to the University Archives’ and Pan Am Flight 103 Archives’ incorporation
within the Libraries unit, skills and expertise typical within the archives field are not necessarily held by all professionals
within the larger unit.
Working to acquire and maintain community collections requires special collections staff to understand and negotiate
relationships between what can be perceived as monolithic institutional power and community-focused organizations.
Respect and tact may be more necessary than what’s required during acquisition procedures with library vendors,
for instance.
22. Has the community nature of this collection had a different demand on library staff time than a
collection without a community affiliation? N=36
Yes 18 50%
No 18 50%
If yes, please briefly describe the demand on staff time. N=17
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