In March 2010, the University of California, Irvine, launched a site to provide online access to papers of Richard Rorty in the form of a virtual reading room.1 Although we didn’t know it then, we quickly learned that we were one of the first academic repositories in the United States to risk providing remote, online access to born-digital manuscripts. The virtual reading room mitigated the risks involved in providing this kind of access to personal, archival materials with privacy and copyright issues by limiting the number of qualified users and by limiting the discoverability of full-text content on the open web. In January 2013, we launched a site providing access to another group of born-digital materials, the papers of Mark Poster. The two collections had as many differences as they did commonalities, and a comparison of the two projects is useful for understanding the range of decisions and issues that ultimately impact access to born-digital personal manuscript collections.
Archival Science | Collection Development and Management | Library and Information Science
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Managing Risk with a Virtual Reading Room: Two Born Digital Projects. In Kate Theimer,
Reference and Access Innovative Practices for Archives and Special Collections
Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.