Based on a Junior Fellowship at the Library of Congress, this project highlights the challenges embedded in the process of curating a thematic collection of primary sources. The Fellowship project involved working in the Library’s Music Division to identify baseball-related print music titles, with the Fellowship’s final project being the creation of a bibliography of baseball-related titles that exist in the Library’s collection.
Through unpacking the process of searching for (and finding, or not finding) thematic primary sources, this project addresses the significance of catalog migrations and catalog forms in determining collection findability and availability. Additionally, the project addresses the complexity of navigating multiple collection description platforms when searching for thematic materials. Of particular relevance to aspects of LIS practice that deal with popular culture forms like music, the project also addresses the significant role of copyright law and copyright policy in shaping library collections—both at the Library of Congress and library institutions more broadly.
By reflecting on the process of curating a thematic primary source collection, the project builds on relevant LIS literature on collection development and collection accessibility. The project also highlights how an understanding of institutional collecting policies and practices, as well as a detailed understanding of copyright law, can aid in navigating the collections of large-scale archives or major cultural LAM institutions. The project also advocates for LAM institutions to consider the process of building a thematic primary source collection alongside, or in tandem with, outreach and education initiatives.
baseball, music, primary sources, curation, Library of Congress, archives
Copyright © 2018 Katherine Walden
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