Loughborough University
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Access to special and local studies collections in UK public libraries

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posted on 2007-02-22, 09:57 authored by Jane Higgs
This dissertation investigates access to special and local studies collections in UK public libraries. The aim was to provide an overview of the state of, and current practices connected with, user access to such collections, since much current literature in the area is case study orientated. The issues covered relate to current user access, including the existence and availability of catalogues, and the use of original and surrogate materials in both physical and virtual forms. A review of appropriate literature was carried out to gain background knowledge of the area and to aid in the formulation of data collection questions. A web based questionnaire was used in order to attain the size and distribution of sample needed to provide the overview sought. Relevant electronic mailing lists were used for questionnaire distribution. Data analysis showed a high proportion of collections which are partially or completely uncatalogued. The importance of maintaining a balance between user access, preservation and financial concerns also came through strongly. The difficulty of gaining funding for surrogacy creation (mainly digitisation) was also a main theme in both the study results and related literature. Parallels were drawn between themes evident from this study and those identified in related studies of surrogacy creation funding in archives and local studies libraries (Ward 2004), and digitisation in the UK higher education sector (Bültmann et al. 2005).



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A Master's Dissertation, submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts degree of Loughborough University.


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  • MA

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  • Masters

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