Setting the Course: The Role of Special Collections in the Library

DAVID S. ZEIDBERG

Abstract

Betty Bengtson, in her presentation at this conference, says that where general collections have become more “homogenized ...., it is in our special collections that the distinctiveness of our research libraries will be maintained” (see page 92 in this issue).


I have been concerned about using the term mainstream as a metaphor for library orientation. Bengtson’s image of whitewater canoeing gave focus to the source of my uneasiness: we are in real trouble, not only in special collections, but in real trouble as libraries in general if uncontrolled forces sweep us along and our role becomes one of reaction rather . . .

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