RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 15296407 / 2150668X
Current Publisher: American Library Association (10.5860)
Total articles ≅ 358
Current Coverage
Archived in

Latest articles in this journal

Jessie Sherwood
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 21; doi:10.5860/rbm.21.1.40

When he declared, “the physical book really has had a 500-year run” in a 2009 interview, Jeff Bezos might well be forgiven for thinking that the book began with Gutenberg. Histories of the book have tended to give the impression that it emerged with movable type and existed largely, if not exclusively, in Mainz, New York, London, Paris, Venice, and environs. The first edition to A Companion to the History of the Book, first published in 2007, was a welcome, albeit modest, corrective to this narrow focus. While the bulk of its attention was on print in Western Europe and the United States, it incorporated chapters on manuscripts, books in Asia and Latin America, and the Hebraic and Islamic traditions, broadening the scope of book history both chronologically and geographically.
Lena Newman
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 21; doi:10.5860/rbm.21.1.42

In The Securitization of Memorial Space: Rhetoric and Public Memory, Nicholas S. Paliewicz and Marouf Hasian Jr. train a darkly analytical lens on New York City’s Ground Zero in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and the debate around how to memorialize the events of that day. The authors explore how various objects at Ground Zero were infused with political meaning and deployed like weapons by myriad actors in both the smaller battle for control of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum and the larger Global War on Terror. Hasian and Paliewicz are writing from backgrounds in rhetorical and critical security studies, and at times their writing can be a little opaque to those not fluent in the vocabulary of those fields. The authors also describe their approach as “object oriented,” a methodology that should sound familiar to anyone working in special collections today (23).
Leah Tether, Laura Chuhan Campbell
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 21; doi:10.5860/rbm.21.1.26

This article summarizes and contextualizes the discussions of a workshop held at Durham University in November 2018. In this workshop, participants (including academics, students, independent scholars, special and rare books librarians, and archivists) discussed the notion of the collection (that is, the identity of collection as a whole, rather than just its constituent parts), and its potential to serve as a means of engaging both scholarly and public audiences with early book cultures. This study sets out a series of considerations and questions that might be used when tackling such special collections engagement projects, including ones involving more modern collections than the case studies examined here.
Richard Saunders
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 21; doi:10.5860/rbm.21.1.7

The journal approaches something of a milestone with this issue. The current iteration of ACRL’s professional journal of special collections librarianship practice began publication as Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarianship in 1986. When I was in library school a few years later, the only access points to content in the field was the library’s local card catalogue and the Library and Information Science Abstracts (LISA) index. For those of you competent, working professionals young enough to be my children, research was a matter of looking through print volumes—print, mind you—of annual issue after annual issue for citations appearing under index terms, then pulling the bound volumes from the shelves on another floor. The current title RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage was adopted upon acquiring and moving to a digital platform in 2000. Since that time, all ACRL journal content has been available digitally, creating a backfile of material accessible for the asking. In 2014 ALA enacted a platform migration to OJS (Open Journal System) software. RBM content also moved to the OJS platform.
Kevin M. O’Sullivan, Gia Alexander
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 21; doi:10.5860/rbm.21.1.11

Recent statistics suggest that nearly 1 in 5 undergraduate students in the United States report having a disability. Educators and special collections practitioners are thus confronted with a difficult question: What can be done to ensure that these students receive the accessible educational experience they deserve—and that is legally mandated—within our institutions? This article seeks to begin a critical discourse relating to the design of inclusive outreach in special collections for persons with disabilities. We begin by briefly outlining the emergence of the Disability Rights Movement and its relationship to institutional libraries, highlighting in particular where we see opportunities for improving outreach to populations that have special access needs. Next, we offer strategies for building a program of user-centered, accessible outreach for special collections libraries, such as locating and partnering with key stakeholders, designing flexible instruction modules, and assessing outreach activities. Finally, we conclude with reflections on the value of accessibility to the mission of special collections. Ultimately, instituting a programmatic approach, such as that which we advocate here, aligns with the professional ethics of the field and improves the quality of the special collections experience for all of our many diverse patron groups.
Laura J. French
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 21; doi:10.5860/rbm.21.1.48

The postmodern and post-truth world we live in might have reached its zenith. Written for the general public and not specifically information professionals, Laura A. Millar’s A Matter of Facts: The Value of Evidence in an Information Age grapples with the definitions of data, facts, evidence, and truth and how these parts of information are used and abused in modern society. This volume is the first in the Archival Futures series, jointly published by the Society of American Archivists (SAA) and ALA Neal-Schuman, which will demonstrate “how the preservation and stewardship of the archival record is a collective effort that underpins and supports democratic societies and institutions” (viii). Dr. Millar is an obvious choice to lead the series, given her notable career as an independent consultant and her numerous publications on creating and maintaining archives during the last 30 years. Her passion for the field and conviction in the importance of her topic are apparent throughout the text.
Greta Reisel Browning
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 21; doi:10.5860/rbm.21.1.46

For more than a decade, libraries, archives, and museums (LAM) have been discussing digital access to collections and digital asset management. Coordinating successful interfaces for users, who also may be internal to an organization, requires multiple areas of expertise: vision from administrators; content and context from archivists, librarians, and curators; and technical skills from catalogers, specialists in digital curation, and web developers. Rarely can effective systems be developed by just one of these specialties. It takes collaboration, resources, and navigation of the “languages” of each separate, but related, discipline. Practitioners in these fields know that working together for such projects can be challenging, despite similar goals of preserving and providing access to historical materials. In Libraries, Archives, and Museums Today: Insights from the Field, authors Peter Botticelli, Martha R. Mahard, and Michèle V. Cloonan present 14 case studies that document the current issues, successes, and failures related to collaboration around technology at a number of diverse cultural institutions, as well as overall challenges in the digital age.
Lauren Goss
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 21; doi:10.5860/rbm.21.1.44

The archival community continues to expand its reliance on digital tools to yield dynamic user engagement and increased access to collections. Editors Edward Benoit, III and Alexandra Eveleigh posit that the advancement of web technology during the last two decades increased the scope and impact of participatory archives. Benoit, currently a professor at the School of Library & Information Science at Louisiana State University, is the founder of the Virtual Footlocker Project, focusing on digital tools for soldiers to document their military experience. Eveleigh, Collections Information Manager at the Wellcome Collection, focuses her research on digital humanities and the impact of user participation.
Tamara E. Livingston
RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Volume 21; doi:10.5860/rbm.21.1.50

Trusting Records in the Cloud represents the results of the latest phase of InterPARES (International Research on Permanent Authentic Records in Electronic Systems), an international research project established in 1998 to investigate preserving the evidential value of records in electronic record systems. The project has generated numerous case studies from across the globe under international teams representing North and Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australasia, Africa, and NATO. InterPARES Trust (hereafter, ITrust) focuses on digital records shared and stored in the cloud, defined as infrastructures and services distributed across a network, such as the internet.
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