Research Libraries UK (RLUK), The National Archives (TNA) and Jisc have published a report to kickstart a discussion about citation practices, and how to standardise references to unique and distinct collections (UDC’s) held in repositories across the UK.
Every year, tens of thousands of citations are included within the footnotes and endnotes of academic publications despite the fact that a widely agreed and coherent system of referencing UDC repositories does not currently exist. A TNA survey conducted in 2015 revealed that only a small percentage of archives proactively gave guidance to users about citation.
Creating a more consistent framework for how academics cite UDC repositories will deliver two main benefits. By standardising references to repositories and the collections within them, it will be easier for archivists, librarians and collection managers to gauge usage and will support collection management decisions. Secondly, it will provide valuable metrics for repositories to evidence impact of their collections and activities, and make the case for funding.
The report, delivered by The Research Base, looks at the challenges and opportunities related to improving the consistency and accuracy of current citation practices for UDC materials, as well as the strategies and tools required to effectively capture data for citations. It is divided into three key strands: model citation guidance; embedding best practice; and citation capture software. They recommend that focusing on these three strands will prove most effective in meeting the long-term outcomes specified in the original tender.
A workshop is being planned to discuss the recommendations and implications of the report and further details will be announced in due course.