New blog post provides update on OCLC and RLUK collaboration to improve shared collection management and resource discovery

#oclcresearch #rluk

Several months ago, a new initiative was announced between OCLC and Research Libraries UK (RLUK), a consortium of the largest research organisations in the UK and Ireland, to improve collaborative collection management and increase resource visibility in the RLUK consortium through WorldCat, the world’s largest online database for discovery of library resources. A new blog post, RLUK Collective Collection in Context—the OCLC Research Perspective, by OCLC Research Scientists Constance Malpas and Brian Lavoie, provides an update on this collaboration. It begins by describing the following three key findings from an earlier OCLC Research study of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) libraries:

  1. Scale adds scope and depth. In other words, as the scale of cooperation increases, so does the diversity of the collective collection.
  2. Scarcity and uniqueness are relative to the scale at which duplication is measured. That is, while increasing scale broadens the scope and depth of a collective print book resource, it also expands the core of more widely-held materials.
  3. Coverage requires collaboration, and is a corollary of the first two. Given the relatively low bilateral duplication rates we saw in the CIC collection, it is clear that multi-institutional cooperation will be needed to secure a representative (if not comprehensive) share of the collective print book collection.

Because RLUK and CIC differ in some important ways, examining the RLUK collective collection is a first step towards understanding if and how these findings might apply to the aggregate RLUK resource in the context of a broader portfolio of work exploring collective collections.

Progress is currently underway in loading RLUK data to WorldCat, and sufficient data should be on hand by the end of August to allow significant analysis in September. Additional updates will be posted to the RLUK OCLC blog throughout the project.

As research libraries across the world are grappling with significant library space pressures combined with expanding stewardship responsibilities for print and digital collections alike, our hope is that the insights and findings of this analysis will support and inform new approaches to print management for other libraries looking to leverage their combined collection investments, both individually and collectively.


For more information:

Constance Malpas
Research Scientist
OCLC Research

Melissa Renspie
Senior Communications Officer
OCLC Research