Investing in Open Primary Sources: an eDesiderata Forum

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Event Logistics

Thursday, October 18, 2018
12:00-3:30 p.m. Central Time
CRL Virtual Forum
CRL Events -

As a growing amount of source material for humanities and social science research is packaged and "productized" by commercial vendors, libraries strive to minimize or eliminate the paywalls and barriers.  However, most of the conversation about Open Access to date has been around scholarly and scientific journals.  The 2018 eDesiderata Forum—organized jointly by CRL and NERL—will explore existing and prospective models for sustaining Open Access to primary source materials: news, archives, government information and records, and data (population, geospatial, and financial). In a time of constrained collections budgets, the Forum will explore how the library community can better leverage its collective influence to promote Open Access resources and achieve a greater return on investment in commercially developed resources.   

The Forum will help inform the Open Access agendas of CRL, NERL, and the library community at large.


Session 1. (12:00 noon–1:25 p.m. CT)  Community-based Partnerships: Cooperative Investment Models

A variety of models for library investment in Open Access digital initiatives are emerging. What models offer the greatest impact for time and resources invested? Presenters will discuss the advantages and complexities of two types of existing library-based efforts: 

The session will also examine the models sustaining repositories of important primary source materials gathered and maintained by nonprofit civil society and other non-library organizations, such as the International Consortium of Investigative JournalistsNational Security Archive, and others.


Session 2. (1:30–2:55 p.m. CT)  Leveraging Commercial Partnerships for Open Access

Even as libraries pursue their own Open Access initiatives, the commercial market continues to develop collections and resources that compete for scarce library collection budget resources. Models such as Independent Voices (Reveal Digital) and Anthropology Commons (Alexander Street) offer opportunities to exploit the capabilities of commercial publishers while minimizing restrictions and profit-taking. What can we elevate from these models? How can the community advance an Open Access agenda with providers and intermediaries that continue to erect barriers to public domain content? Presenters will discuss these questions, highlighting models and recommended approaches to working with public/private arrangements.


Session 3. (3:00–3:30 p.m. CT)  Toward a CRL / NERL Action Agenda

Representatives from NERL and CRL’s Collection & Services Policy Committee will discuss each organization’s evolving approach to Open Access, suggesting potential strategies for cooperation. How do we best structure cooperative efforts to finance and develop new digital resources that support the evolving needs of digital scholarship?


CRL’s annual eDesiderata Forum brings expert knowledge and insight to bear on the challenges of acquisition, licensing and enabling access to databases, datasets, and data services for scholarly research. The forums explore community interest in commercial and open access data sources, illuminate market practices and economics, and identify priorities for CRL analysis and licensing on behalf of its member libraries.

Participation in the 2018 eDesiderata Forum is open to librarians, staff, and faculty at CRL and NERL member institutions. Registrants may join the sessions at any time during the Forum. To encourage real-time participation and discussion, recordings will not be available for later access. Speakers' slides and a summary report will be posted after the event.