The Past, Present, and Future of Special Collections Library Literature

Melanie Griffin


The field of bibliometrics provides a lens through which to explore how a journal’s environment is shaped by the professionals that contribute to its creation and maintenance. Despite a rich legacy of bibliometric studies in Library and Information Science scholarship more generally, to date no studies have explored bibliometrics related specifically to special collections library literature. This study considers the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) journals, RBML and RBM, to explore what it is possible to learn about late twentieth and early twenty-first century American special collections librarianship as a profession through an aggregate consideration of the professional literature. This study uses existing tools from author affiliation studies to explore the professional literature and available data about the perspectives that shaped the RBMS journals, RBML and RBM, to gain a better understanding of the particular ecosystem that informs research and publication in the field of American special collections librarianship.

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