Cloud-Sourcing Research Collections: Managing Print in the Mass-Digitized Library Environment

OCLC has released Cloud-Sourcing Research Collections: Managing Print in the Mass-Digitized Library Environment.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The objective of the project was to examine the feasibility of outsourcing management of low-use print books held in academic libraries to shared service providers, including large-scale print and digital repositories. The study assessed the opportunity for library space saving and cost avoidance through the systematic and intentional outsourcing of local management operations for digitized books to shared service providers and progressive downsizing of local print collections in favor of negotiated access to the digitized corpus and regionally consolidated print inventory.

Some of the findings from the project that are detailed in the report include:

  • There is sufficient material in the mass-digitized library collection managed by the HathiTrust to duplicate a sizeable (and growing) portion of virtually any academic library in the United States, and there is adequate duplication between the shared digital repository and large-scale print storage facilities to enable a great number of academic libraries to reconsider their local print management operations.
  • The combination of a relatively small number of potential shared print providers, including the US Library of Congress, was sufficient to achieve more than 70% coverage of the digitized book collection, suggesting that shared service may not require a very large network of providers.
  • Substantial library space savings and cost avoidance could be achieved if academic institutions outsourced management of redundant low-use inventory to shared service providers.
  • Academic library directors can have a positive and profound impact on the future of academic print collections by adopting and implementing a deliberate strategy to build and sustain regional print service centers that can reduce the total cost of library preservation and access.

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