RLG Programs 2008 Annual Partners Meeting
The Future of Collections
Breakout Session Recap Sent to Participants

June 2-3, 2008

The following is a copy of an e-mail message sent to breakout session attendees by Program Officer Constance Malpas on June 10, 2008.

Colleagues and friends,

On behalf of Dennis Massie and myself, I want to thank you for participating in the Future of Collections discussion group at the recent RLG Annual Partners Meeting. We felt extraordinarily fortunate to have attracted such an attentive and engaged group for the duration of the breakout sessions. You provided immediate direction and focus during the Day One discussion, which continued to animate the assessment of priorities and projects on Day Two. You offered concrete suggestions for how current programs might be amplified or refined in the coming year, and confirmed that recent and ongoing work— particularly focused on maximizing the collective impact of mass digitization—is effectively transforming the way our community works together. We came away with a strong conviction that current investments in data analysis (assessing patterns in the distribution, content and character of aggregate holdings) and in establishing a shared understanding of the requirements for new inter-institutional policy regimes, will continue to generate value for the RLG partnership.

You challenged us to adopt a more capacious understanding of the collective collection—one that fully reflects the diversity of library, archive and museum holdings—and to extend our collection-sharing ambitions into the realm of licensed and locally-created digital collections. You reminded us that the North American perspective can be both totalizing and parochial, and rightfully insisted that we consider alternative vantage points, informed by the experience of colleagues in other regions and national contexts. You reasserted the enduring value of print, manuscript and artifactual collections and urged us to adopt a model of collection-building that will continue to accommodate tangible formats as a distinctive source of value. We began, at least, to map the traverse from managing locally-held collections as an institutional asset to managing distributed resources as a collective source of value. It was hard work, it demanded (and mostly got) everyone's effort—and it's far from over.

Dennis and I are still compiling our notes and observations from the meeting. You'll receive a summary of these, along with copies of (or links to) the slides that were used. In the meantime, we welcome your feedback and observations on the meeting. The format was new to all of us; unfamiliar in both good and bad ways. Your candid observations will help to make future meetings—and our evolving work agenda—worth a shared investment of time and energy.

If you have specific questions about current programs and projects under the Managing the Collective Collection theme, please feel free to contact Dennis Massie or me. Several attendees requested information about the shared-collection policy analysis undertaken by the Shared Print Collections Working Group. Working group members recently completed an analysis of policies from 17 different library collection-sharing initiatives; the outcomes of this analysis are likely to be interest to many on this distribution list. Those attending the upcoming ALA Annual Conference are welcome to join us for an update on this work on Saturday, 28 June, from 2:00-3:30 at the Anaheim Marriott (OCLC Green Suite). Details on this and other RLG meetings at ALA are available here: http://www.oclc.org/programs/events/2008-6-26.htm.

Thanks again for exhibiting such energy, enthusiasm and stamina at the RLG Annual Meeting. You've excited and inspired us. And you'll be hearing more from us soon!


Constance Malpas
Program Officer, RLG Programs
OCLC Programs and Research
777 Mariners Island Blvd., Suite 550
San Mateo, CA 94404
Tel: +1-650-287-2131

For a complete list of breakout session participants, click here.

For more information

Constance Malpas


Dennis Massie

Program Officers