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

The ongoing transition to digital has encouraged libraries to explore collaborative strategies for building and managing shared print collections. The OCLC Research report, Cloud-sourcing Research Collections: Managing Print in the Mass-digitized Library Environment [pdf], informed these efforts by offering a foundational perspective on regionally consolidated shared print collections. Moving forward from the Cloud-sourcing report findings requires a deeper understanding of what regionally consolidated print collections would look like if they came to pass, and what the implications would be for system-wide issues such as mass digitization, resource sharing, and preservation. The goal of this activity is to move closer toward achieving that understanding




  • Brian Lavoie and Constance Malpas
    Print Management at "Mega-scale": A Regional Perspective on Print Book Collections in North America

    Webinar, 14 March 2013
    Download the presentation (.pptx: 2.5MB/30 slides)

  • Brian Lavoie and Constance Malpas
    Print Management at "Mega"-scale: NITLE Collections in a Mega-regions Framework

    NITLE Shared Academics Seminar Series Webinar, 20 February 2013
    Download the presentation (.pptx: 2.4MB/38 slides)
  • Constance Malpas
    A Mega-regional Perspective on Print Books in Southern California Libraries

    UCLA Shared Print Collections Southern California Mega-region Meeting, 14 December 2012, Los Angeles, California (USA)
    Download the presentation (.pptx: 1.4MB/19 slides)


An analysis of regionally consolidated print collections requires a framework of regional consolidation, as well as data to support collection analysis within that framework. Print Management at "Mega-scale" employs urbanist Richard Florida's mega-regions framework and the WorldCat bibliographic database to explore the North American print book resource as a network of regionally consolidated shared collections. Mega-regions are geographical regions defined on the basis of economic integration and other forms of interdependence. By using the mega-regions framework as the basis for consolidation, regional print collections can be formed that embody shared traditions, mutual interests, and the needs of an overlapping constituency. These collections provide a mapping of North American print collections against empirically derived zones of economic and cultural integration, robust knowledge flows, and networks of exchange.

Print Management at "Mega-scale" uses WorldCat data to construct twelve mega-regionally consolidated print book collections. The analysis of the regional collections is synthesized into a set of stylized facts describing their salient characteristics, as well as key cross-regional relationships among the collections, all of which are included in the report, Print Management at "Mega-scale": a Regional Perspective on Print Book Collections in North America. The stylized facts motivate a number of key implications regarding access, management, preservation, and other topics considered in the context of a network of regionally consolidated print book collections. The mega-regions report also presents a simple framework to organize the landscape of print book collection consolidation models, as well as to clarify and distinguish the basic assumptions regarding print consolidation underpinning the Cloud-sourcing report and the present report. It provides a unique perspective on the new geography of library service provision, in which services and collections are increasingly organized "above the institution."