How do you define Access (as in Reference, Access and Outreach)?
During the breakout discussions at SAA, this question came up for the RAO mission discussion and it's come up in several email conversations. Do we have a clear enough definition of access to keep the word in our title?
While I'm writing this in part because all the RAO board members have committed to writing blog entries, I really interested in the question and generating some comments.
A recent opportunity on my campus to be part of a multi-disciplinary panel series around the concept of memory (how different disciplines define and work with it), I was reflecting on the inherent politics of archives - who gets to control information --what is gathered and who has access? Those questions generated a fair amount of interest from historians and psychologists.
But are they of interest to the members of our Section? What is your definition of access? If you were to design a workshop around access, what would the content be?
Is it about who gets to use materials? and what barriers still exist or or being created with digital access?
or addressing physical barriers (ADA compliance issues)?
Is it about description - generating more access points, more subject headings?
How does it relate to or differ from Reference and Outreach - is it already implicit in those activities?
I'll add my reflections in a later post, but I want to start with questions and the conviction that RAO members will want to chime in on these questions - so hit that comment button and share your thoughts and definitions and experiences!
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