35 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 300 2020 presidential libraries, research materials requests, and reference requests are being met as much as digital access allows. Catalogers who may have been working with physical materials are now focused on electronic records and e-books. Staff are developing new research guides and web archives. New digital collections have been launched (seven at the Library of Congress), with the potential for providing even more opportunities for collaboration among the GLAM community. As Kurt Graham stated in our interview, “Anytime we digitize a collection or make it accessible through technology, it is an act of collaboration— collaboration with anyone who wants to use that information. That is the future—seeing digitization as an act of collaboration rather than an act of service. By sharing knowledge in the public sphere, we create a market of ideas and of information which in term facilitates all kinds of collaborations.” With a long history of GLAM collaboration, institutions such as the University of Delaware’s Library and Museums already have strong community relationships. Together they play an important role in grounding truth from rumor and providing a source of information during turmoil—such as helping small businesses deal with the economic depression. In maintaining partnership commitments, GLAM leaders also count on each other—they check in, touch base, and remind each other that “we are here—we care—we’re in this together,” as Trevor Dawes said in our interview. As stewards of human (and machine) knowledge, GLAM communities are living and documenting the pandemic and its impact on our society. Just type “documenting COVID-19” into your browser and you will get over 445,000,000 hits. These range from the Smithsonian and other museums collecting COVID-19 artifacts, to local newspapers, historical societies, and university libraries collecting oral histories. Having not read all of the hits, there may be other themes. Nevertheless, a lot of work will remain to make sense of what we learn.
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