53 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 296 2018 Radical Collaboration: An Archival View Nancy Y. McGovern, Director, Digital Preservation, MIT Libraries On the one hand, this is a great time to be an archivist working in academic libraries because there is growing interest and focus on archives and archival collections. On the other hand, this is a challenging time to be an archivist working in academic libraries because we are only at the starting point of building a better understanding of the domains and professions that contribute to the work of libraries, including archivists. As an example, different domains working in different organizational contexts have different understandings of what we mean by archival collections, manuscript collections, and special collections—this is a fundamental issue and an ideal starting point for a radical collaboration discussion. When I say: “archival collection” I mean the accumulated records of individuals and organizations that an archives is mandated or intending to keep based on a documented appraisal process “manuscript collection” I mean the accumulated papers of individuals that an archives and manuscript repository of some kind has accepted responsibility for preserving and “special collection” I refer to an accumulation of content that may be related by subject, media, form, creator, or other basis that is deemed by a collecting repository to have ongoing value. I would never include archives as a type of special collection, and for me, special collections encompass more than rare books—both of which statements I have heard any number of people share in defining these terms. In addition, there are overlapping collections traditions that may make references to different types of collections confusing. In the archives and manuscripts tradition, manuscript collections often refer to personal archives that are typically associated with people of the parent institution of the archives. These manuscript collections are acquired much like other archival collections would be, by donation
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