Center for Research Libraries - Global Resources Network

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The Global Resources Network (GRN) is the product of an effort by a coalition of American and Canadian universities to devise new ways to build resources to support international studies.  In December 1996, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Association of Research Libraries and the Association of American Universities established the Global Resources Program to provide the organizational structure and catalyst for developing regional projects to improve access to international research materials through cooperative structures, the use of new technologies, and information sharing.

In January 2006, the program was transferred to the Center for Research Libraries, where it continues to grow and evolve to meet changing environmental conditions. The GRN has two main goals:

  • To expand the depth, breadth, quantity, range of formats, and variety of international information resources available to North American students and scholars.
  • To make dispersed collections more interdependent and complementary through coordinated acquisitions combined with powerful systems for access, discovery, presentation, and delivery.

To pursue these goals, GRN fosters, supports, and coordinates discrete projects among North American and overseas participants to build cooperative collections and support enhanced access to existing collections.

Details of GRN activities and objectives are outlined below:

I. Foster and support collaborative projects that facilitate access to global resources

The Global Resources Network provides administrative and programmatic support for ongoing, sustainable projects that identify, acquire, preserve, access, disseminate, and create unique resources for higher education research.

GRN Projects are dynamic, flexible, and voluntary activities with objectives identified by discrete communities of stakeholders. Projects have varying degrees of scope and are usually clustered around a specific region, language, or subject focus. Certain project activities are supported through central administration by CRL, while others are distributed or “outsourced” to other institutions with appropriate capacity or strengths in particular services.

Projects supported by GRN share common characteristics that serve as principles of operation:

  • Highly collaborative 
  • Institutionally supported
  • Transparent and paradigmatic
  • Persistent and sustainable
  • Interoperable
  • Equitable and proportionate

Membership in GRN Projects is distinct from membership in GRN as a whole. Each GRN project may develop its own membership criteria, including fees, for those institutions that wish to participate in project governance, support additional project activities, and enjoy access to value-added services. This model for governance and fees is similar to that of the self-governing Area Studies Microform Projects that are associated with the Center for Research Libraries.

GRN will provide administrative, logistical, and programmatic support for ongoing sustainable projects; collaborate with lead institutions to provide core services and infrastructure for project activities; identify and promote effective systems of collaborative action and project “best practices” for adaptation by other initiatives; and develop and support new initiatives that address regions or subjects not sufficiently represented in North American institutions.

For more information on projects currently supported by GRN, visit the individual project pages.

II. Organize and promote cost-effective initiatives that support coordinated, policy-based collection management of global resources

The Global Resources Network is both an umbrella for collaborative projects and a broad framework that supports enhanced bibliographic access and finding aids; rapid delivery systems; the development of electronic and digital resources; and the establishment of international partnerships to achieve the goals of the network.

GRN will actively promote activities that address the “crisis in foreign acquisitions” through wide-ranging cooperative measures. These will include efforts aimed at facilitating acquisition, assessment, preservation, and dissemination of resources.

GRN will encourage the development and collaborative utilization of assessment tools that accurately demonstrate collection strengths, gaps, and overlaps and can lead to more efficient and distributed collecting activities. Based on its experience in developing distributed collection programs, GRN will articulate requirements and promote practical models for cooperative international collection development on a broader level.

In terms of access, GRN will coordinate activities with the Center for Research Libraries in facilitating enhanced access to existing and prospective collections of global resources. These activities will include encouraging the acquisition of “digital rights” and permissions to deliver resources to scholars in the most effective format; recommending specifications and procedures for systematic digital capture, dissemination, and storage of source materials in traditional formats; promoting acquisition and persistent archiving of source materials that are born-digital; and actively support electronic document delivery initiatives among Network partners to facilitate access to materials not held in North America.

III. Provide mechanisms for GRN visibility, advocacy, and feedback

The Global Resources Network will support a robust infrastructure to support information sharing, transparency, and outreach of the projects and broader GRN activity. Participants and members of the GRN will have access to a variety of resources through which to communicate, collaborate, and innovate.

GRN will also actively promote the outcomes and impact of activities under the GRN umbrella through listservs, scholarly publications, conferences and presentations, and other vehicles. Visibility and outreach will be targeted both at North American and source communities to further the aims of the program.

To facilitate ongoing assessment of user needs and project efficacy, GRN will continue to sponsor regular Global Resources Forums and workshops with librarians, scholars, information professionals, and other appropriate audiences. GRN will track the current and potential future demand for international information resources by following trends in research agendas, shifts in the status and primary concerns of academic and professional programs, the priorities of agencies and organizations active in the international arena, and the perceptions of informed individuals.

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