Capitalizing on short-term collaborative projects: A special collections case study

Erin Passehl-Stoddart, Ashlyn Velte


After the University of Idaho (UI) Library Special Collections and Archives (SPEC) received an unexpected bequest of approximately 340 boxes of science fiction books and manuscript materials, faculty and staff had to think creatively about how to appraise, clean, preserve, and provide basic access to the collection within a short time frame.

Embracing the idea that short-term collaborative projects require less formality, which makes them “low-hanging fruit” and more likely to succeed than long-term collaborative projects, SPEC implemented successful strategies such as cross-training library student employees from other units, applying for use of temporary space on campus, and creative use of available technology. Short-term projects require different approaches and resources than a long-term project. Lessons about flexibility, student learning, and using available technology can be used by other academic libraries facing short-term projects that can at first seem overwhelming.

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Copyright Erin Passehl-Stoddart, Ashlyn Velte

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