Understanding the System-wide Library

Our research agenda aims to improve our understanding of the factors that guide institutions in their sourcing and scaling choices as they seek maximum impact and efficient provision of library collections and services.

Libraries are embedded in an increasingly complex network of information supply and demand. Our goal is to provide evidence and insight to libraries as they organize collections and services within this changing network environment.

Strength in Numbers: The Research Libraries UK (RLUK) Collective Collection


Written by Constance Malpas and Brian Lavoie, this report highlights the importance of a system-wide perspective in supporting cooperative management of library collections and demonstrates the utility of collective collections for furthering collaboration within the RLUK membership.

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(US Letter .pdf)

Download A4
(.pdf)

Stewardship of the Evolving Scholarly Record: From the Invisible Hand to Conscious Coordination


Written by Brian Lavoie and Constance Malpas, this report presents a view of future stewardship models of the evolving scholarly record and their practical implications.

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(US Letter .pdf)

Download A4
(.pdf)

Kiwis in the Collection: The New Zealand Presence in the Published Record

This report characterizes the size and scope of the New Zealand presence in the published record, highlights some of its salient characteristics, and describes its diffusion around the world. The New Zealand presence in the published record is defined as the collection of materials (books, sound recordings, films, and so on) that are published in New Zealand; are created by individuals born in New Zealand; or are about or set in New Zealand.

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(US Letter .pdf)


Right-scaling Stewardship: A Multi-scale Perspective on Cooperative Print Management


This report explores regional-scale cooperative print management from two perspectives: a local academic library print book collection (The Ohio State University), and a consortial-scale collective print book resource (the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a consortium of major US research institutions).

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(US Letter .pdf)


Understanding the Collective Collection: Towards a System-wide Perspective on Library Print Collections


This collection brings together the important work that OCLC Research has done for the community in providing a quantitative, analytic, system-wide view of library collections. This body of work has established an evidence base that has allowed and encouraged libraries to begin the shift from local provisioning of library collections and services to increased reliance on cooperative infrastructure, collective collections, shared technology platforms, and "above-the-institution" management strategies.

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(US Letter .pdf)

Download the introduction »
(US Letter .pdf)


Not Scotch But Rum: The Scope and Diffusion of the Scottish Presence in the Published Record


This report will be of interest to libraries responsible for collecting and preserving their country’s contribution to the published record, as well as to scholars interested in exploring how countries manifest and transmit their cultural heritage through the published record.

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(US Letter .pdf)


Print Management at "Mega-scale": a Regional Perspective on Print Book Collections in North America


This report, provides insight into the characteristics of a network of regionally consolidated print collections, key relationships across these collections, and their implications for system-wide issues such as information access, mass digitization, resource sharing, and preservation of library resources.

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(US Letter .pdf)


OhioLINK–OCLC Collection and Circulation Analysis Project 2011


This report highlights findings and describes data publicly available from the collaborative OhioLINK-OCLC Collection and Circulation Analysis project, which joined OhioLINK circulation data with WorldCat bibliographic records to produce a base file of circulation records for nearly 30 million different books.The size of the combined collection and the number and diversity of participating institutions make this by far the largest and most comprehensive study of academic library circulation ever undertaken.

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(US Letter .pdf)

Download the appendix »
(US Letter .pdf)


Cloud-sourcing Research Collections: Managing Print in the Mass-digitized Library Environment


This report presents findings from a year-long study designed and executed by OCLC Research, the HathiTrust, New York University's Elmer Bobst Library, and the Research Collections Access & Preservation (ReCAP) consortium, with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The objective of the project was to examine the feasibility of outsourcing management of low-use print books held in academic libraries to shared service providers, including large-scale print and digital repositories. The study assessed the opportunity for library space saving and cost avoidance through the systematic and intentional outsourcing of local management operations for digitized books to shared service providers and progressive downsizing of local print collections in favor of negotiated access to the digitized corpus and regionally consolidated print inventory.

Download the report »
(US Letter .pdf)