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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Yet more depressing news about the disposition of valuable research resources

I already mentioned the bad news about the uncertain fate of The Women's Library and the TUC Collections (and I do exhort people to go and sign the petition to save TWL.

I've also been distressed at the news that the Birmingham Medical Institute is selling off its historical collections of books and manuscripts and that the Wedgewood Collection continues to be threatened with dispersal.

And now I hear that the New York Public Library at 42nd Street is proposing, if not to get rid of its research materials, to outhouse them so that they will no longer be readily available to the researcher. I once made a flying visit from Boston to consult rare periodicals which could be found nowhere else, and was able to accomplish this within a day, a not inconsiderable advantage given the constraints on my research time and budget.

This is all very distressing and seems like a wide downgrading of the importance of actual primary research materials in a world in which it is (wrongly) assumed that everything is digitally accessible.

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