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UC Libraries’ Global Outreach to be Highlighted at International Conference

A conference presentation will highlight strategies to make UC’s rare, special collections available on a global scale to support teaching and research.

Date: 1/7/2013 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Jay Yocis

UC ingot   A presentation this week in Vancouver, Canada, will examine how University of Cincinnati Libraries is working to make UC’s special holdings available for scholars around the world, building UC’s global presence in teaching and research – in line with strategies of the 2019 Academic Master Plan. Kevin Grace, head of the UC Archives & Rare Books Library, will present on Jan. 10, at the sixth World Universities Forum in Vancouver, Canada. The forum is sponsored by the University of British Columbia.
Kevin Grace
Kevin Grace

Academic research libraries like the UC Archives & Rare Books Library have unique and rare holdings for teaching and research. Until the past decade or so, those materials could be examined only on the college campus. Although digitization is growing the virtual library, it’s also growing a virtual puzzle in terms of how to best use the vast online resources for the classroom and for research.

Grace’s presentation is part of the forum session, titled, “Reacting to Global Influence and Change.” Grace’s paper, entitled, “University Special Collections from a Global Vantage Point: Access, Documentation and Reference,” highlights examples of how UC’s Archives & Rare Books Library is working to incorporate instruction and reference functions within some of its digital resources to aid teachers, scholars and students.

Among the examples are the City of Cincinnati’s birth and death records from 1865-1912 that are now online.   The records, part of the ARB Library’s Local Government Records Collection, are a historical and genealogical treasure trove for historians, health researchers, sociologists and other scholars.

Grace’s paper will also mention a current digitization project that’s underway of thousands of photos of Cincinnati street projects and the city’s failed subway development project – a photographic history stretching from 1920-1956. The photographs are part of the ARB Library’s Ohio Network Collection. The presentation will reveal how the digital collection can support the teaching of urban planning and urban history throughout the world.

Grace says the ARB Library is examining how to support future digitization of rare books and manuscripts, such as the ARB Library’s Book of Hours, an elaborately illuminated calligraphic book of prayers that dates back to 1475. “We have other medieval manuscripts that are unique, and other printed materials of which there may be only one or two copies around the world.

“We need to establish a global outreach research network so that students or scholars can use our research materials wherever they are,” Grace says. “We want our special collections to become a destination point for teaching and research throughout the world. However, it is absolutely essential that we also provide the necessary contexts for effectively using these materials.”