The Library Uncovered: Behind the Scenes with Collections Services

Introduction

Staff and student assistant working together at a computer.

Staff and student assistants play critical roles in how resources get to you.

HOW DID THEY DO THAT?  

Libraries can feel like magic. You walk into a building or look online and find all kinds of electronic resources, journals, books, audiovisual materials, music scores, and more. This exhibit highlights the hidden labor that it takes to purchase, catalog, repair, and prepare library resources for the shelf and online. Library resources are not simply ordered, unpacked, and instantly available to check out or to click on. We invite you to explore this exhibit to see what it takes to get books on shelves and electronic resources online.

Staff members in Collections Services work at the Smith Warehouse Building.

Staff members in Collections Services work at the Smith Warehouse Building on Central Campus, and in Perkins Library on West Campus.

WHO DOES THIS WORK?  

Staff members from Duke Libraries Collections Services curated this exhibition to share the many skills it takes to bring you the information you need. We understand the complexities of ordering books and media from sellers across the globe. We use various metadata schema and descriptive standards to make resources in hundreds of languages discoverable. We have a deep knowledge of the history of the book and various media, and how these can deteriorate over time. It takes a dedicated team of staff and students to do this work. Our main goal is to have the materials you want ready for you when you need them.

Staff in Conservation Services review a damaged book.

Staff in Conservation Services preserve materials from across Duke Libraries.

WHAT CAN YOU SEE IN THIS EXHIBIT? 

The cases in this exhibition highlight interesting items from the collection that represent some of the work we do:  

  • Watch a slideshow to see how materials travel through Collections Services
  • Discover what languages are represented in our collections
  • See a map of where our resources come from

This exhibit is brought to you by Duke University Libraries Collections Services. The exhibit team includes: 

  • Heather Baker, Metadata & Discovery Strategy
  • Sara Biondi, Monograph Acquisitions
  • Bethany Blankemeyer, Electronic Resources & Serials Acquisitions  
  • Beth Doyle, Conservation Services
  • Jovana Ivezic, Conservation Services
  • Elena Feinstein, Collection Strategy & Development
  • Rich Murray, Resource Description
  • Jacquie Samples, Metadata & Discovery Strategy

The exhibit team wishes to thank: 

  • Meg Brown, Exhibition Services
  • Michael Daul, Assessment and User Experience Strategy
  • Dracine Hodges, AUL for Collections Services  
  • Janelle Hutchinson, Communications
  • Yoon Kim, Exhibition Services
  • Eric Monson, Center for Data and Visualization Sciences
  • Aaron Welborn, Director of Communications

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