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University at Buffalo Libraries

Karen Spencer

Karen Spencer

Processing Archivist

University Archives
420 Capen Hall, North Campus
(716) 645-2991
Fax: (716) 645-3714


Curriculum Vitae / Bio

Karen Spencer recently moved to the University Archives as a processing archivist.  She is responsible for arrangement and processing of universtiy record collections, faculty papers, and manuscript collections; updating and conversion of finding aids for University Archives legacy collections to EAD (Encoded Archival Description); and helping to build the Finding Aids database which provides access to the University Libraries special collections.

Karen  was a reference librarian at the Charles B. Sears Law Library at the University at Buffalo Law School, State University of New York for 35 years. She maintained the Law Library Archives and Special Collections, participated in the first year Legal Research and Writing Program teaching legal research, and worked with other reference librarians to provide reference and instructional services to the Law Library community.

Karen began working for the Law Library in 1974 as its first audiovisual librarian. She authored the majority of the legal bibliographies and web guides available on the Law Library's website and in paper. In 1979 and 1982 she published a series of slide-tape programs, Audiovisual Legal Research Programs, designed then as avant-garde learning tools for first year law students, and which are now historical artifacts housed in the Law Library's archives. Admitted to the New York Bar in 1988, she practiced pro bono immigration law through 2004. She was a clinical instructor at the University at Buffalo Law School in the Asylum and Refugee Law Clinic from 1991 to 1993, and taught a course in Asylum Law in 2000. Her areas of expertise include immigration law, New York practice, and American Indian law.

Research / Service Area

Research interests involve the special collections in the Law Library Archives. Substantively these include the rights and history of indigenous peoples, particularly the Haudenosaunee (known also as the Six Nations or Iroquois Confederacy) and the history of the UB Law School. Primary focus, however, is on the function and service of archives and the advancement of regional consortial access to hidden collections in Western New York.

Recent Publications & Awards:

Recent Award

The Law Library's video "Law Library GPS," created by Karen Spencer
and Nefeli Soteriou, has been selected for a LibVid Award for "Best
Narration."  See:

The LibVidAward Blog is devoted to "Recognising the Best Library
Videos on the Web" and highlighting "some of the best, most
inspirational library instructional videos out there."


Book Chapter: "Indians", Part III, in Gibson's New York Legal Research Guide, 3rd ed., Buffalo: William S. Hein, Inc., 2004

Web Publications

Law Library Special Collections Finding Aids

Selected Special Collections on Indians and New York State, annotated research guide (October 2001)

Iroquois Books from the Collection of Marilyn L. Haas, annotated accession list (October, 2001)

Commentaries on WBFO

Privacy of Our Financial Records, January 13, 2004

Theatre Sparks Epiphany, February 2, 2004

In Support of Same Sex Marriage, March 30, 2004

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