Heritage libraries and historical researchHeritage libraries and historical research
Faculty of Arts. History
Centre for Urban History
Fontes artis musicae / Association internationale des bibliothèques, archives et centres de documentation musicaux. - Basel
62(2015):1, p. 1-5
University of Antwerp
Today librarians are no longer expected to be involved in historical research, not even when they serve in a department holding historical collections. Libraries, so we are told, are meant for patrons, and the duty of library staff including its specialized, scientifically trained members is to serve the patronage. Nevertheless, the author discusses three reasons why heritage librarians need to devote themselves to historical research, in order to meet the expectations of the library's patrons and to optimize the management of collections. He particularly argues the necessity of library history and provenance research: if so much scientific research in the humanities is carried out on the basis of heritage collections in libraries, it is a question of scientific deontology to investigate how these collections came about and why individual documents are part of them today.