Right-scaling Stewardship report provides multi-scale perspective on cooperative print management


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

The report provides an empirically-based assessment, based on WorldCat bibliographic and holdings data, of the size, scope, and salient features of these collections, with special attention to identifying and characterizing segments consisting of relatively scarce and relatively widely-held materials. The report also addresses how “right-scaling” stewardship of the collective print investment lies at the center of any shared print strategy, in the sense of determining which materials are best managed at the local level, which are best moved into some form of shared stewardship infrastructure, and the appropriate scale at which collective management should take place.

Key highlights:

  • Scale impacts nearly all the fundamental characteristics of a collective print resource and the cooperation needed to sustain it.
  • Scarcity is relative: the distinctiveness of a print book resource is not intrinsic to the resource itself, but depends on frame of reference.
  • Rareness is common: local and group-scale print book collections reflect heavier investment in rare compared to widely-held materials.
  • Because shared print strategies are likely to be formulated around redundant and distinctive materials, understanding their characteristics is key.
  • The value of a collective print book resource can be enhanced through more effective strategies for disclosure and delivery.

See the Right-scaling Stewardship: A Multi-scale Perspective on Cooperative Print Management report overview page for additional highlights from the report.

This report will be of interest to libraries investigating or implementing shared, group-scale approaches to managing print book collections. The analysis and findings of the report will help to support a growing number of institutions that are broadening the scope of existing shared print programs from journals to monographic resources. While the case study focuses on research-intensive university libraries in the United States, the findings will be of interest to all libraries transitioning from operating models based on local collection management, toward models that leverage economies of scale.

This work is an output of our activity, Right-scaling Stewardship: A System-wide Perspective on Print Books in the CIC which falls under our work agenda theme of Understanding the System-wide Library. It extends earlier work on regionally-based shared print collections reported in Print Management at "Mega-scale": A Regional Perspective on Print Book Collections in North America.

For more information:

Constance Malpas
Program Officer
OCLC Research

Melissa Renspie
Senior Communications Officer
OCLC Research


Quick links:

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

  • Report overview page [link]
  • Download the report (.pdf: 795K/55pp.) [link]

Suggested citation:
Malpas, Constance and Brian Lavoie. 2014. Right-scaling Stewardship: A Multi-scale Perspective on Cooperative Print Management. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research. http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/research/publications/library/2014/oclcresearch-cooperative-print-management-2014.pdf.