“Ten Commandments for Special Collections Librarians in the Digital Age” by Jackie Dooley

Dooley’s article was inspired by the 2008 Rare Books and Manuscripts Section Preconference, “Rare and Special Bytes: Special Collections in the Digital Age.”  She espoused ten principles or commandments that will help special collections librarians in a digital environment. She encourages the adoptions of digital ways of creating remote access to collections and digital copies for preservation reasons. This article is 13 years old, but it still holds substantial importance for the field.

In the main body of the paper, Dooley address the ten steps a special collections librarians can enter into the digital world. The commandments are: “Embrace the technological continuum of the book,” “Rediscover yourself,” “Digitize with abandon,” “Educate yourself,” “Make your work economically sustainable,” “Follow the archivists’ lead,” “Be promiscuous with your metadata,” “Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate,” “Revere the innovative ideas of the young,” and “Proactively define our collective future.”

All of these topics are still discussed in current literature. Special collections libraries are still trying to develop their strategies for implementing these commandments. I think they are very essential for keeping special collections relevant and for outreach efforts. I found this article to be useful because it was introduces these topics and how to gain experience in these areas.

*Dooley, Jackie. “Ten commandments for special collections librarians in the digital age.” RBM 10.1 (Spring 2009): 51-59.