rusq: Vol. 52 Issue 3: p. 253
Sources: Academic Archives
Allison Embry

Access Services and Distance Learning Librarian, Rogers State University, Claremore, Oklahoma

Changing roles for academic libraries means changing roles for academic archives. Academic archives no longer exist in isolation from their institutions, but play a central and dynamic role in academic libraries and in institutions of higher education as a whole. Purcell focuses on the expanding responsibilities of college and university archivists and they work they have done to keep academic archives relevant. The book discusses many timely issues, including digitization efforts, the expanding role of records management in academic archives, and the increased importance of public and outreach services for academic archives and special collections libraries. Overall, the book is very well organized and accessible; relevant information about the history of the archival profession in the United States is used to illustrate how the profession has evolved and how interdependent relationships between academic archives and academic libraries continue to develop. In addition to his discussion of the central role that academic archives play in colleges and universities, the author thoroughly covers core archival concepts, including collection development, processing, and collection management. Purcell, who is the Director of Special Collections at Virginia Tech, also offers useful advice to those considering a career in archives. He paints a realistic picture of today’s job market for archivists and emphasizes the importance of choosing a well-reputed graduate program. Although this book’s focus is on academic archives, its readability and coverage of contemporary issues, core concepts, and the archival profession as a whole make it an excellent resource for most introductory archives courses and for individuals considering a career in any type of archive or special collections library. Academic librarians who wish to understand the role of academic archives and special collections departments in today’s academic libraries will also find this book to be highly informative.

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