Moving a Unique Collection to Storage: Improving Access Now and Later

Jennifer A. Maddox Abbott


The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library collected college and university publications (the C-Collection) for several decades without allocating the resources to catalog them. A project to make these items discoverable by patrons was initiated, and tens of thousands of items were added to the online catalog. These items were physically stabilized and transferred to the library’s high-density storage facility. A portion of the collection was also digitized, providing electronic access. Although circulation trended downward, there was no clear indication that materials were less accessible in high-density storage, and new items were discovered that had not previously circulated. Digital surrogates of library material clearly allowed the library to reach a much larger audience, and ideal storage conditions to preserve physical materials long-term combined with electronically available copies appear to be an ideal means for providing greater access while preserving content.

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