RLI 283 Patron-Driven Acquisitions and the Development of Research Collections 9 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC 2013 but also to Portuguese Canadians with an enduring interest in their heritage. The profile of the project has grown through conference presentations and activity on social media such as Facebook, and it has sparked emulation. Professor Sakis Gekas and graduate student Christopher Grafos of York’s Department of History approached CTASC in June 2012 to develop a similar arrangement for the Greek Canadian History Project its website came online in January 2013.8 Meanwhile, the Portuguese Canadian History Project team continues to scout out privately held material “to preserve a larger and more representative sample of records reflecting the experiences of Portuguese immigrants and their descendants in Canada,”9 but this time with CTASC’s archivists much more involved in discussions with donors once the initial contact has been made. User Driven, Mission Aligned York University Libraries’ experience with user-initiated development of special collections has been very positive in the context of its strategic objectives. Involvement with the Portuguese Canadian History Project has engaged graduate students in ways that significantly enhanced their academic experience, has brought unique elements of Canadian heritage into the public sphere that would have otherwise remained undiscoverable, has given an enduring voice to a community that was not well represented in archival repositories, and has connected the libraries with a global community of researchers. Will there be a sustained return on this investment? Given that the project maintains momentum after almost five years and that York University will host the inaugural conference of the Lusophone Studies Association in October 2013,10 it is likely that these physical and virtual collections will only increase in relevance. The timing of the project is also propitious in terms of planning on a larger scale. York University’s Academic Plan for 2010-2015 and the provost’s white paper outlining strategic directions for 2010-2020 call for enhanced research capacity through strategic collaborations with external partners at local, regional, national, and global levels to become a more engaged university while coping with reduced government funding.11 As demonstrated by the Portuguese Canadian History Project, patron-driven acquisition of special collections offers an effective mechanism to place academic libraries in the mainstream of achieving the university’s core mission of building, disseminating, and preserving knowledge through collaboration and the engagement of external communities. Endnotes 1 York University, “Mission Statement,” accessed April 25, 2013, http://www.yorku.ca/web/about_ yorku/mission.html. 2 York University Libraries, “Archives Acquisitions Policy,” last updated 2000, http://www.library. yorku.ca/cms/subjectspecialists/archives/. 3 York University Libraries, “Description of Collection and Academic Programmes Supported,” last updated 2000, http://www.library.yorku.ca/cms/subjectspecialists/specialcollections/.
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