RLG Programs 2008 Annual Partners Meeting
The Future of Collections Breakout Session Summary

June 2-3, 2008

Background Provided in Advance of Meeting

The goal of this part of the work agenda is to engage the RLG partnership in understanding, preparing for, and executing more profoundly cooperative models of acquiring, managing and disclosing collections.

The first area of activity is the management of shared print collections, which started in 2006 with helping the North American Storage Trust conceptualize a network of shared print storage facilities. Work in this area has continued with a November 2007 Shared Print Collections Summit, a working group investigating shared print collection policies and gathering data on offsite storage facilities, and most recently a new group that will explore the issues surrounding the de-accessioning of JSTOR print back files.

A second area of activity is a focus on mass digitization efforts, primarily through a pair of day-long events that resulted in two widely-read sets of recommendations: Shifting Gears: Gearing Up to Get Into the Flow (.pdf: 86K/ 11pp.), which urged research institutions to place quantity before quality and get as much material digitized and exposed as possible, and " Good Terms" ( D-Lib Magazine, 13,11/12) , which examined existing public-private mass digitization agreements and listed a set of desirable terms that should be insisted upon in any future agreements.

A third area of activity is Data Mining for Business Intelligence and New Services. Work in this area has included a detailed comparison of the collections of four New York City art museum libraries, followed by extensive conversations about opportunities for collaboration suggested by the data, and a continuing investigation and analysis of uniquely held books listed in WorldCat.

A fourth area of activity is Collection Sharing Beyond Libraries, which has included supporting museums in their efforts to implement new standards for sharing digital collections.

All these activities will help libraries, archives and museums manage the transition to a world where access trumps ownership, and where research institutions are free to focus on collecting materials that are local, rare, or special.

Brief Summary of Breakout Discussion

The breakout group on the "Future of Collections" theme confirmed the value of current LG Programs work in this area and helped extend and refine the focus of our next steps:

  • Print: form a group to scope out joint policy formulation/implementation with an eye toward shared ownernership as well as shared management
  • Digitized: conduct data studies to characterize the aggregate collection and behaviors (availability in print or electronic; e and p preservation status)
  • Born digital: identify where libraries actually have a stake and distinctive opportunity/impact, most likely regarding digital content created locally
  • Special Collections: encourage more effective disclosure; not a project
  • Licensed e-resources: promote partnerships; advance a shared understanding of what "access" and "use" of licensed content means; not a project
  • Additional Information

For more information

Constance Malpas


Dennis Massie

Program Officers