Teaching with Special Collections, Fantastic Idea from the Alma Jordan Library, UWI, St. Augustine

Teaching with Special Collections, Fantastic Idea from the Alma Jordan Library, UWI, St. Augustine

I’m here at the amazing University of the West Indies, St. Augustine meeting with folks on digital humanities and libraries. Yesterday, I learned that the Special Collections of the Alma Jordan Library, UWI, St. Augustine, runs a seminar format that has faculty address the question: “how could one do research with this particular collection?” This is a new idea (to me, at least) and it’s a fantastic format!

The format for this includes one seminar a semester for two hours, with two faculty members each presenting for 30 minutes, and then for an hour of shared discussion. The faculty presenting each get to learn from the other one, as well as from the discussion.

I’m familiar with having researchers speak about how they did research with a collection, but not with asking researchers to speak about how someone could do research with a collection. This expands the research question so that faculty are not only answering for their own interests, but speaking to the possibilities for their students, colleagues, and researchers overall. This reminds me of the booklets and reports that I’ve seen in libraries, often from the 1980s through the early 1990s, where a faculty member would produce a report on an archival collection assessing the research potential for whether or not the collection would support dissertation research and, if it would, how it complemented other library collections in that regard. I love the idea of this being a conversation with multiple folks, and using this to bring the library and teaching faculty closer together.

I’m excited to share on the format learned from the Alma Jordan Library, UWI, St. Augustine with UF and others, and I’m very hopeful that we could emulate it. Thanks to Glenroy Taitt and Lorraine Nero (and everyone at UWI, St. Augustine!) for sharing these and other amazing ideas for teaching with Special Collections!

I have more notes to type up and share, I’ll be learning more today, and sharing more on what I learn soon.