Center for Research Libraries - Global Resources Network

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Representatives from more than 125 academic and research libraries and library consortia met at the Aberdeen Woods Conference Center on November 12-14, 1999 to discuss current initiatives in cooperative collection development and to seek ways to expand the scope of this activity in the future. This Conference – "Creating New Strategies for Cooperative Collection Development" -was hosted by the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), and co-sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), the International Consortium of Library Consortia (ICOLC), and the Research Libraries Group (RLG).

Over the course of the weekend, the representatives developed a deeper understanding of the potential for greater efforts on cooperative collection development and the essential nature of this activity for the future of academic research. The Conference participants defined some of the needs that should be addressed by the library community to foster the advancement of cooperative collection development, and recommended a series of steps to be taken to insure its future success and expansion.

Individual Level Needs

  • Enhance the library management skill set to include
    (1) Understanding of assessment of user population
    (2) Influencing/Advocacy skills
  • Clarify the librarian’s roles, between traditional functions and those related to implementation of new technology, and among the commitment to the individual institution, commitment to a particular discipline, and commitment to a broader perspective of multi-institutional cooperative collection development.
  • Manage individual priorities/energy more effectively.

Institutional Level Needs

  • Develop "value-added" measurement of outcomes.
  • Develop reward structures that support cooperation.
  • Define/describe what exactly constitutes a "core collection".
  • Move from informal personal collaboration to formal institutional level of cooperation.
  • Influence the way the entire user population views scholarly communication.
  • Find ways to overcome inter-institutional competition (both among libraries and across the universities to which they belong).
  • Assess customer/user expectations.
  • Connect interlibrary loan and document delivery to collection management.
  • Envision potential partnerships that go beyond academic libraries to include both academic and scholarly publishers and other less traditional participants.
  • Consider new radical approaches to the management of digital resources, including those that are not based upon traditional library models.
  • Encourage better understanding of systemic roots of institutional assumptions and behaviors.

Collective/Consortial Level Needs

  • Support experimentation.
  • Redefine cooperative collection development.
  • Create an economic model for collaboration.
  • Collaborate with non-library groups.
  • Overcome lack of trust between library organizations and publishers.
  • Include faculty in consortia to address shared buying (especially journals).
  • Address digital archiving concerns.
  • Build on successes and replicate models that work.
  • Preserve materials and content.
  • Pursue creative sources of funding.
  • Engage in cooperative linking of website/web projects.
  • Create a web-based clearinghouse for information about cooperative collection development projects.
  • Create virtual collaborative organizations.
  • Create a global agenda at key organizational levels (ARL/OCLC/CRL/RLG).

Recommended Actions

  1. Think out of the box, and break mental models of what is possible and desirable.
  2. Develop a map of current cooperative collection development projects to present prospective collaborators with a "tree of possibilities".
  3. Learn how to better assess the value of projects.
  4. Develop economic models to provide better data and "institutionalize" the cooperative process.
  5. Conduct a "best practices" examination and summary of cooperative collection development projects.
  6. Form an attitude of "enlightened self-interest" in the academic and research library community.
  7. Observe and track the culture shift in the academy toward a greater acceptance of the value of shared collections and cooperation.
  8. Create better horizontal coordination and aggregation among academic libraries, assuring value added and avoiding redundant occurrences of infrastructure funding.
  9. Promote greater interaction between university libraries and university presses.
  10. Collaborate on the creation and expansion of archiving capabilities for digital and digitized materials, especially e-journals.
  11. Develop strategies to deal with serious problem of commercialization, by fostering projects such as NEAR.
  12. Mobilize libraries to support/implement NEAR, and explore the feasibility of using the Virginia Tech dissertation model for NEAR.
  13. Assume a more visible role by the research library community in planning projects dealing with the sciences and technology, where significant circles of influence and financial resources, such as NSF and AAU, already exist.
  14. Present AAU with a resolution from CRL, ARL and other national research library organizations that it should place on its agenda a plan for expanding cooperative collection development.
  15. Seek opportunities to expand CRL and ARL membership outside North America, to increase the potential for greater cooperation on an international scale.
  16. Look to CRL and other national organizations to take a more important leadership role in overall management of cooperation in scholarly sector.

Based on meeting summary compiled by Kathryn Deiss, ARL

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