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Thursday, November 7 • 11:30am - 12:15pm
Is the Library Ready for an Emerging Field? The Case of Veterans Studies

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How can libraries and archives prepare for emerging scholarly fields that haven't yet emerged? How do we know when such a “discipline” is emerging, and how might we support it?
An archivist at Special Collections and the history/social science librarian at the Virginia Tech Libraries saw signs of research interest about veterans on their campus and elsewhere. With an interest in supporting what might be considered an emerging field, both were aware of the risks of investing in materials that do not attract users. This presentation will examine their process of evaluating those risks while assessing evidence of a growing need. After a review of existing holdings, they began to survey the research landscape for indications of the subjects, disciplines, methods, and constituencies that might consolidate as a discrete field of veterans studies. Further, given the absence of indicators that mark established fields—regular conferences, journals, academic programs—they turned towards a strategy of actively “seeding the need” by engaging in interdisciplinary conversations on the matter of veterans studies and gauging reaction and participation. As a consequence of this work, both librarian and archivist have become active in projects that are creating the very indicators that suggest veterans studies may emerge as a field of academic inquiry requiring library support. At this session, this process and its results to date will be discussed, along with the project's implications for special and circulating collections and, more broadly, the library's scholarly communications initiatives.


Marc Brodsky

Public Services and Reference Archivist, Virginia Tech
avatar for Bruce Pencek

Bruce Pencek

College Librarian for Social Science & History, Virginia Tech Libraries
A lapsed political science professor, Pencek often collaborates with teaching faculty on topics relating to information literacy and assessment within disciplines, presenting in both disciplinary and library venues.  With an eye toward cultivating a new academic field, he was a founding partner in creating the annual Veterans in Society research/engagement conferences and co-directed a 2016 NEH summer institute for college faculty, "Veterans... Read More →

Thursday November 7, 2013 11:30am - 12:15pm
Drayton Room, Francis Marion Hotel 387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403

Attendees (9)