Saturday, November 3, 2012

Smithsonian Institution Libraries Intellectual Framework 2011

Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Intellectual Framework
July 2011

“The Smithsonian Institution Libraries will build, sustain, protect and share world class collections, making decisions about acquisitions and preservation of print and digital collections informed by an understanding of user’s current and future needs.” 
– Smithsonian Institution Libraries 2009 Strategic Plan

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL) collections and its staff are a critical component of the intellectual core of the Smithsonian Institution. We are a robust and in-depth foundation for research, scholarship, and museum initiatives for public outreach, education, and exhibitions.  SIL collaborates with users to collect and create resources that benefit present and future generations and inform, sustain, and interpret the intellectual scope of the Smithsonian Institution.   SIL staff and collections are a tool for researchers to engage with preserving our heritage and discovering new knowledge.  We provide authoritative information and offer innovative services and programs for the Institution and the general public. The Smithsonian Libraries strategic plan A Focus on Service is a dynamic springboard for future directions and actions that will inspire continual learning and improvement; individually and collectively.  (

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries:

  • Regards our audiences in the broadest terms, including Institution researchers and staff, scholars, interns and fellows, students, volunteers, the general public, international visitors, and virtual visitors through Web portals and electronic tours; 
  • Collaborates with constituents to shape SIL collections that are versatile in their utility to our users;  
  • Selects, acquires, and maintains collections in print, digital, and other formats preemptively and in response to the information needs and focus of the Institution, its museums, and units;   
  • Maximizes the utility of collections to research and educational clients as reflected in visitation, loans, web visits, or the published literature;   
  • Supplies information resources that are critical to Institutional work while bolstering interdisciplinary efforts; 
  • Collects materials mindful that innovations within the field of library and information science necessitate taking advantage of various formats and insures authoritative data is shared to all stakeholders;  
  • Constructs core databases and expands electronic access to a wide range of users through informatics, imaging, and other technologies;   
  • Increases information content of the collections via more precise and authoritative identification and documentation of provenance, context, and scholarship; 
  • Develops and meets the highest professional standards of library collections care (storage, conservation, and access); 

 And in doing so, SIL collects specifically to develop and maintain specific subject collections that include:

  • Fundamental materials that are essential for the current and future research areas of the Institution;
  • Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology collection of rare books and manuscripts;
  • Joseph F. Cullman the 3rd Library of Natural History collection of rare books in anthropology and the natural sciences;
  • Trade literature collection for the history of American business, technology, marketing, consumption, and design;
  • DeWitt Clinton Ramsey Room collection documenting the early history of aeronautics;
  • Thomas A. Bradley Rare Book Room collection of early sample and trade catalogs, decorative arts,  and other design; and
  • World’s Fair collections.

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