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Abstract

Responding to the Association of Research Libraries’ call for Special Collection librarians to make their “hidden collections” more visible, the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) surveyed its “hidden collections” as it prepared for a move of its holdings to a new location and set processing, preservation, and digitization priorities. Recognizing the growing research interest in documents that reveal the cultural and social life of students and faculty, the department identified a poorly housed and partially cataloged scrapbook collection for a digitization project. While seeking to impose intellectual control over this neglected collection and increase its visibility, the department also realized that this digitization project could be used to establish a collaborative and flexible prototype, for streamlining and expediting the arrangement and description of hidden collections. This paper will examine the benefits of a cross departmental approach (Special Collections and University Archives, Cataloging, and Digital Projects) to manage a digital project and discuss the practical steps of devising a work plan that encompasses the processing, rehousing, preserving, and digitizing of a collection. This paper will be argue that by incorporating these varied tasks together into one project, accelerates and improves the process of making “hidden collections” more accessible and visible. Along with documenting the benefits of this integrated approach to processing and digitization, this paper will also examine some of the unforeseen benefits of this project from the leveraging of library staff’s expertise in the creation of metadata to the unexpected growth of a collection.

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