The purpose of this presentation is to highlight an oft forgotten category of information resource that can be found in most libraries, namely archives, ephemera, artifacts, and other non-print materials. Although they are potential treasure troves of information, these materials too often remain hidden from public awareness due to inadequate or non-existent catalog records.
I will briefly describe some of the issues and concerns non-print material generate from a library perspective, and then explain how such resources can play an important role in research, even be catalysts of new research. To illustrate this point I will discuss one single document in the collection of the library I work in, the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University.
The document in question is a Dutch translation of a draft version of the first Anglo-Japanese treaty negotiated in 1854 by Rear Admiral James Stirling. When looking at it carefully we find that a document like this is really a gateway to many different stories, and I will touch on a number of these. It is not my intention to present in-depth research on any one of them. Rather I hope to inspire scholars to explore their own libraries and find their own hidden treasures, then work with their local librarians to make those resources known and accessible.