• Articles by Lisa Carter

    Lisa Carter is the Head of the Special Collections Research Center at North Carolina State University Libraries.  Previously, she was the Director of Archives at the University of Kentucky.  She is an active member of the Society of American Archivists, the Association of Moving Image Archivists and the Midwest Archives Conference.  She is currently an ARL Visiting Program Officer for the Special Collections Working Group.  She received her M.L.I.S. from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from Michigan State University. 

    As the Head of the Special Collections Research Center, I manage a program that preserves and provides access to NCSU’s rare books, university records and other special collections that document the history of science, entrepreneurship and innovation, especially in areas such as architecture, computing, agriculture, textiles and animal science.  Our program is outwardly engaged, focusing on integrating into the mainstream of the Libraries, providing online access to all of our collections and staying relevant to our community.

    I came to archives from a need to capture and organize the unusual for sharing, an interest in technology obsolescence and gravitation to dynamic information (moving images and sound, at the time).  The lure and challenges of audio-visual materials lead directly to concern for long-term access to digital materials, all which are electronic, ephemeral and increasingly, how we document our existence.  I worked with a variety of television and video preservation efforts which investigated the viability of digital asset management systems and digitizing projects.  Through an NHPRC Archival Research Fellowship in 2003, I explored digital preservation for video materials and as the project manager for the National Television and Video Preservation Foundation in 2003-2005, I assisted archives with the preservation reformatting of their television and video collections. 

    From there I had the opportunity to develop my perspective on the role of special collections in research libraries as an American Research Libraries Leadership Fellow.  This has broadened my research interest to include issues of identity for special collections librarians and archivists, the mainstreaming of unique materials as distinctive signifiers of an academic library and how to get more stuff out to users faster and more directly in their path. 

    The threads running throughout seem to be long-term access to the fleeting, the rising prominence of niche interests and pursuing practical and efficient solutions to surprisingly elusive problems.  Am I crazy or what?

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