My name is Laura J. French. I am the Special Collections and Digital Archives Librarian at California State University, Stanislaus. I completed my MLS from the University of Maryland's iSchool in May 2013. Prior to earning my MLS, I taught high school English, World History, and AVID for 7 years in Northern California.

What are special collections?
Special collections can include rare books, manuscripts, photographs, works of art, ephemera, etc. Basically any item that conveys information and is unique, rare, or special could be included in special collections. However, special collections are (probably) not the recently, mass produced books, journals / magazines, films, or music albums found in most public or academic libraries.

Why special collections?
I'm so glad you asked. My interest in special collections stems from the research challenges I faced completing my masters in medieval history and finding pedagogically useful primary sources as a teacher. As a history graduate student I had to take exams instead of writing a thesis because I was unable to travel to my selected resources and those items were not available digitally or to a student via Inter Library Loan. While teaching I struggled to find digital representations of historical texts and paraphernalia which both aligned to the state standards and was available in interfaces which were user friendly to high school students.

As a librarian I aim to facilitate the discovery of and access to the types of sources that I required while a graduate student and a high school teacher. I am especially excited by the idea of doing this in our modern digital environment. Additionally, digital collections will continue to provide unique challenges as we (educators, librarians, digital citizens) grapple with intellectual property and copyright concerns.

This is my blog on education and librarianship. The purpose of this blog is to gather together a number of interesting topics in education and librarianship and to tie them together. Some of the topics addressed by this blog are:

Instructional Design,
Best Practice,
Digital Teaching/Learning,
Educational Technology,
MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses),
LMS (Learning Management Systems)

Digital Curation,
Special Collections,
Reference and User Services,
Academic Libraries,
Special Libraries,

Digital History/Humanities,
Medieval Europe,
American West

Creative Commons License
This work by Laura J. French is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.