Realia (library science)

Term in library science referring to three-dimensional objects / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In library classification systems, realia are three-dimensional objects from real life such as coins, tools and textiles, that do not fit into the traditional categories of library material. They can be either man-made (artifacts, tools, utensils, etc.) or naturally occurring (specimens, samples, etc.), usually borrowed, purchased, or received as donation by a teacher, library, or museum for use in classroom instruction or in exhibits. Archival and manuscript collections often receive items of memorabilia such as badges, emblems, insignias, jewelry, leather goods, needlework, etc., in connection with gifts of personal papers. Most government or institutional archives reject gifts of non-documentary objects unless they have a documentary value. When accepting large bequests of mixed objects they normally have the donors sign legal documents giving permission to the archive to destroy, exchange, sell or dispose in any way those objects which, according to the best judgement of the archivist, are not manuscripts (which can include typescripts or printouts) or are not immediately useful for understanding the manuscripts. Recently, the usage of this term has been criticized by librarians based on the usage of term realia to refer to artistic and historical artifacts and objects, and suggesting the use of the phrase "real world object" to describe the broader categories of three-dimensional objects in libraries.