Posts in category: print collections

The remarkable acceleration of shared print

shared_print_accelleration

Ten years ago, on February 22, 2008, fresh from a consulting project at a very crowded Davidson College Library, I drafted a first description of a “selective withdrawal system” for libraries. Back then I envisioned “an automated decision-support tool that assists libraries in weeding their print book collections intelligently and efficiently” and also noted that “deselection must be pursued with care, to assure that future scholars will have access to the scholarly and cultural record.”

If you had told me then that within ten short years, shared print programs would encompass more than 40 million long-term monograph retention commitments, I’d have doubted your sanity. There’s no way anyone could have predicted how quickly these programs would grow.

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It’s time to reinvent the collective collection

2017-10-10-It's-Time-to-Reinvent-the-Collective-Collection

This year, we are celebrating the cooperative’s 50th anniversary. In 1967, the Ohio library community changed the way they worked together to share their catalogs. It was truly a reinvention of cataloging, resource sharing and library discovery.

Today, as we begin our next 50 years, we are at another turning point that requires a new, even bolder vision. We are building on WorldCat, now the definitive global library collection, to provide library members, groups and regional and national partners even greater capacity to build, manage, and curate the collective collection.

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The Collective Perspective

collective-collections

Collective collection has become part of the librarian argot. Coined by our colleague, Lorcan Dempsey, the term emerged from OCLC Research’s work analyzing library collections at scales above the institutional level—group, consortial, regional, national, and even global.

The best way of understanding collective collections is to start with WorldCat, which is a global registry of library holdings. Taken together, these holdings document the sum total of materials available in library collections worldwide—or at least a close approximation. In this sense, WorldCat represents the collective collection of the global library system as a whole.

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Benchmarking print book collections: a beginning

Stacks of library books

The role of print books in academic libraries is changing, as it has been for more than a decade. Library and campus administrators are evaluating the role of locally held print collections in the library’s strategy and their contribution to user satisfaction and success.

The factors contributing to this discussion—declining print book use, changes in library spaces, redundancy across the “collective collection” and the cost of maintaining local collections—are well known. Increasingly, shared print monograph programs are seen as a way to provide continued access to the full range of titles, while distributing the costs of storage and management among a number of institutions.

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