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Cataloging Hidden Collections Assessment

Cataloging Hidden Collections History

Through the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, CLIR operated a regranting program from 2008-2014 to identify and catalog hidden special collections and archives in the United States and Canada. The program’s aim was to improve access to materials of fundamental importance for research and teaching. Grant recipients adopted cataloging and processing methodologies that were broadly applicable, cost effective, and sustainable over time.

Assessment Methodology

In early 2018, CLIR conducted a comprehensive analysis of submitted project reports, current submitted processing totals (as of June 2018), and responses from an online survey distributed to current employees of recipient institutions. In August 2018, CLIR staff attended the SAA Research Forum and presented a poster presentation sharing the initial findings of the assessment. The final reports for the program will be submitted in Spring 2019 at which time CLIR will be able to report on a complete data set.

Word cloud representing various institution types involved in Cataloging Hidden Collections projects
Geographic distribution of unique organizations involved in CLIR Cataloging Hidden Collections projects
Infographic representing the various collections formats processed through the Cataloging Hidden Collections program

By The Numbers

  • 7 competitions for funding (2008-2014)
  • Nearly $27.5 million awarded (about $4 million each cycle)
  • 128 projects
  • More than 170 participating institutions
  • More than 6 million items made accessible encompassing more than 70,000 linear and 20,000 cubic feet of space

20 Years of Work on Hidden Collections

Future Plans

In September 2019, CLIR published a public assessment report of all program outputs: The Foundations of Discovery: A Report on the Assessment of the Impacts of the Cataloging Hidden Collections Program, 2008-2019. The work of the program continues with Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives which awarded its first cohort in 2015. In 2020, CLIR will sponsor a symposium for that program in conjunction with the DLF Forum. Sign up for quarterly program news.

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