This article presents one way that librarians, archivists, and educators can create new knowledge by connecting communities with rare material culture. The authors share how they engaged critically reflective practices while gathering descriptions of rare Mexican artists’ books at community-engaged outreach events. The books took on new meanings once they were removed from the context of the archives, and were centered within diverse communities.
Four colleagues–a faculty member, a digital services librarian, a research librarian, and a curator of Special Collections–take turns describing their role in creating an undergraduate student project around an eighteenth-century almanac that belonged to Marie-Antoinette. In recounting the steps taken, the collaborative process, the student research, and the analysis of the contents of the Trésor des Grâces almanac, we share the lessons learned for completing a digital exhibit over the course of one semester.
Archival instruction pedagogy is shifting from traditional lecture-based show-and-tell approaches to more active hands-on strategies that fall within the realm of active or inquiry-based instruction. Archivists are beginning to assess their instruction sessions using reaction assessments, learning assessments, performance assessments, and blended approaches; gathering data to illustrate the efficacy of the instruction pedagogy employed and thereby shedding light on how archives contribute in meaningful ways to student learning.
In academic libraries, information literacy traditionally focuses on instruction sessions and classes, activities in library learning spaces, and interactions with librarians. Often overlooked but equally as important to augmenting the student experience is employment in academic libraries and its relationship to the development of information and other literacies. This is particularly true concerning the contribution of special collections and archives, as most scholarship associated with primary source literacy focuses on instruction. This article begins to fill this gap by reporting the results of a series of qualitative interviews with student employees who worked directly with special collections and archives.
The tenet of this article is that historic scientific works, along with science-themed artists’ books, photobooks, and U.S. government-produced reports, can contribute to contemporary science education in inspiring ways. By integrating these materials into undergraduate science-writing projects, we are pioneering an alternative paradigm that merges the sciences and the arts. We are teaching undergraduate science majors through content that invokes scientific curiosity, sparks creativity, and makes science accessible.
This study examined how hands-on work with original primary materials affects students’ information literacy and critical thinking skills. The project team developed rubrics to evaluate document analyses from before and after student time in special collections. Most scores did not vary significantly between the pre- and posttests, although students’ ability to analyze the materiality of documents did improve. They also examined papers from classes that had and had not used special collections against the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ information literacy rubric and found no significant differences. The authors hope this project will serve as a pilot for future assessment of student learning in special collections.
The University of Colorado Boulder (CU–Boulder) is known for strong programming in the sciences and a teaching faculty at the forefront of science education and reform. Librarians at CU–Boulder, in collaboration with science faculty, are challenged to improve undergraduate science education. Using rare, historic, and artistic works from Special Collections, the librarians employ active learning techniques that emphasize visual imagery to improve the quality of undergraduate learning in the sciences. This paper describes the fledgling program developed by CU–Boulder librarians to create a space for student-driven, collaborative learning using historic and visual scientific materials found in Special Collections.
The author describes the recent collaboration of a special collections librarian and an art history professor at McGill University to integrate primary source material into a semester-long undergraduate course assignment and subsequent exhibition and catalog. The fourth-year art history course, Canadian Slavery and Its Legacies: A Curatorial Seminar, required students to select and prepare an exhibition catalog entry for two visual objects (prints, maps, books, plates, ephemera, objects) from within the holdings of McGill Rare Books and Special Collections. Through in-class visits and individual consultation, the librarian guided students in navigating special collections for the first time, thus easing feelings of “archival anxiety” and illustrating the role of special collections in academic research.
“Although finding, interpreting, and using archives is inherent in the study of history, no standard identifies the archival research competencies college history students should possess. The purpose of this study is to identify history faculty expectations of undergraduates regarding their archival research skills and, based on those expectations, to create a list of archival research competencies that could be incorporated into the history classroom or introduced by the archivist in archival literacy sessions.”
“In this paper, we propose strategies for outreach and collaboration with faculty and archivists that are centered on digitized primary sources. These strategies are based on our experiences and informed by a review of the literature of teaching faculty in several disciplines, as well as the archival literature, to identify current methods of teaching and supporting undergraduates’ research with primary sources.4 Next, we present examples of activities, assignments, and approaches to digitized primary source pedagogy that are linked to relevant information literacy and visual literacy standards. Finally, we offer concluding thoughts on the development of primary source literacies, not just in an era of digital abundance, but at a time in which the rapidly expanding field of digital humanities has the potential to complicate and alter students’ relation to sources even more dramatically.”