Book Review: The Special Collections Handbook, Third Edition

Tamara Fultz


Considering how many materials and formats can fall under the rubric of “special collections,” it seems like a daunting endeavor to compile a single handbook which covers all their management and care, but Alison Cullingford has done so with great finesse. The book is patently a product of its time: in the introduction the author addresses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how “the rapid digital pivot or shift meant remote access to collections and metadata became more important than ever, for staff and users” (xix). In addition, the “voices for Black Lives Matter” have made the special collections community reexamine practices where “Special Collections have been shaped by legacies of empire, colonialism and slavery” (xix). Throughout the text the impact of this zeitgeist can be seen.

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