Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shared Collections, the Cloud and the Externalization of Collection Management

OCLC Research recently published a report titled, Cloud-sourcing Research Collections: Managing Print in the Mass-digitized Library Environment, on shared collections in academic libraries. Constance Malpas - the lead author - presented her findings to the University of Minnesota Libraries, outlining a future for academic libraries that includes regionally-shared legacy print collections, increased access to digitized books, and substantial downsizing of resources dedicated to the local management of print collections. With the growth of the multi-institutional book digitization cooperative HathiTrust and the increasing demand for instant access to information, the report urges academic libraries to reevaluate current collection management practices and actively plan for a future that likely will not sustain continued investment in large-scale procurement and housing of print collections for individual libraries. According to the report's recommendations, library leaders should begin the process of creating regionally-shared print repositories that free up space and reduce the costs associated with managing publicly accessible print collections, and to heavily invest in the collaborative digitization movement that seeks to make a wider range of library items available in the cloud.

Ultimately, this means an end to certain practices of local collection management and a significant redirection of resources traditionally mobilized toward print collections.

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite quotes of late: "Just as hockey has been described as a good fight marred by skating, libraries may have been good information services marred by the need to shelve (and reshelve) content-bearing devices." Tom Peters, "A Close Shave" 15 Jun 2010.