OCLC Researchers Collaborate on Global Resources Network Report on Changes in Global Collection Patterns in ARL Libraries

Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Edward T. O'Neill joined Mary E. Jackson (Auto-Graphics, Inc.) and Eudora Loh (UCLA) to prepare the report, which analyzes Association of Research Libraries (ARL) member library cataloging data in the OCLC WorldCat database.

The report presents evidence of changing patterns of collecting books with foreign imprints.

Researchers analyzed book records and holdings in WorldCat, and discovered that the overlap of global book collections among ARL libraries is not as extensive as expected. The analysis found that, on average:

  • For all countries combined, fewer than five ARL libraries own copies of any foreign-imprint book represented in WorldCat.
  • When the same data are examined by world regions, excluding North America, the overlap in holdings ranges from three to six ARL libraries. On average, three ARL libraries hold any given East Asian book and six hold any given book published in Latin America.

A closer examination was made of books from 10 countries (excluding North America) most represented in ARL library collections: United Kingdom (UK), Germany, France, Japan, Italy, China, Spain, Russian Federation, India, and the Netherlands. On average, holdings from these countries decreased in each of the five-year increments between 1980 and 2004, with the exception of books published in the UK that showed a slight increase.

The report also introduces the OCLC WorldMap, an interactive prototype system that provides visual tools for managing and representing geographically based library collections and library data. The WorldMap (linked below) can be viewed on the OCLC Web site.

More Information

Report: Changing Global Book Collection Patterns in ARL Libraries
Note: Due to the number of detailed charts and graphs, the report is best viewed in color.

Global Resources Network

Association Research Libraries

Center for Research Libraries

OCLC WorldMap prototype

For more information:

Lynn Silipigni Connaway
Consulting Research Scientist
OCLC Research

Ed O'Neill
Consulting Research Scientist
OCLC Research