Two of the barriers to providing access to special collections (including performing arts documentation) are time and descriptive metadata. Librarians are often short on the time and resources necessary to properly describe and make available special collections. Additionally, specialized knowledge often lies with the content creators.
I have recently had the opportunity to investigate alternatives to traditional
indexes and collaborative cataloging for special collections. Amy Ballmer (CUNY
Graduate Center) and I explored alternative methods of indexing (including
collaborative tagging with art historians) for small press and avant-garde
journals a recent article in Art Documentation. During my work at ARTstor, I’ve also had the opportunity to learn from some different use cases for collaborative cataloging across campuses. For example, Vickie O’Riordan at UC San Diego has partnered with Roger Reynolds to make his innovative intermedia work, PING available to faculty and staff on campus via Shared Shelf.
I would love to hear more about what ideas librarians might have for
collaborative cataloging practices with faculty and students and what they’re
currently doing on their campuses.