Exhibits as Scholarship: Strategies for Acceptance, Documentation, and Evaluation in Academic Libraries.

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2017

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Elizabeth A. Novara and Vincent J. Novara (2017) Exhibits as Scholarship: Strategies for Acceptance, Documentation, and Evaluation in Academic Libraries. The American Archivist: Fall/Winter 2017, Vol. 80, No. 2, pp. 355-372.

Abstract

Producing exhibits is an important form of scholarly and creative activity for academic librarians, archivists, and curators. While other forms of scholarship such as publishing a book or a peer-reviewed journal article are unquestionably accepted, exhibits are typically viewed as less intellectually rigorous. Through a literature review and a review of appointment, promotion, and tenure policies of selected Association of Research Libraries institutions with faculty status, this study seeks to uphold the creation of exhibits as a critical scholarly endeavor in the academic library and to provide guidance in evaluating exhibits as scholarship for library faculty, especially those working in archives and special collections. An overview of strategies for documentation and evaluation of exhibits as noteworthy scholarly communication is included. The recommendations provided can also assist nonacademic library and archival institutions to create high-quality exhibits of enduring value. Exhibits, digital humanities projects, and other forms of scholarship and creativity should be considered for promotion and tenure if presented in a compelling way to review communities.

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