CRL Global Resources: Looking Ahead

Monday, October 11, 2010

CRL was founded over 60 years ago to acquire and make accessible collections for advanced research and teaching. For the past six decades specialists from many of your libraries have been working together to identify common interests and to build shared research collections around those interests.  The brief timeline below lists the activities through which specialists and staff at your library can continue to shape and benefit from the CRL enterprise this year.

In our drive to expand access to source materials, we rarely acknowledge the essential public good generated by the underlying preservation efforts.  By participating in CRL your library helps ensure the survival of important historical and cultural evidence from the major world regions.  In the past year, for example, area studies groups working under the CRL Global Resources umbrella:

  • Preserved an important collection of pamphlets, magazines, handbills, and other ephemera from the Iranian opposition to the regime of Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (Shah of Iran 1941-1979)
  • Completed a major microfilming project that preserved colonial-era newspapers and other political materials in the National Library of Vietnam.
  • Subsidized and completed microfilming and cataloging of over 200 Congolese and Zimbabwean newspapers, documenting the violence and conflict of the last two decades in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the tumultuous regime of Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe.
  • Preserved a unique body of political pamphlets ephemera from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, assembled by the distinguished Library of Congress Middle East specialist George N. Atiyeh./li>

Many of these historical materials would certainly be lost were it not for the efforts of the special interest groups working with CRL Global Resources.  While the projects these groups undertake are self-funded, CRL provides vital coordination and administrative, logistical and financial management support.

In recent years CRL began to digitize collection materials to support scholarly research and projects at your libraries.  This now includes systematically digitizing foreign newspapers for the World Newspaper Archive, and working with the Law Library Microform Consortium to digitize and preserve primary legal and governmental publications.

This work is in the great tradition of Western research libraries, which play an indispensible role in the survival of the world’s historical record.  I would like to thank your library and your library staff for helping sustain that tradition through your efforts and through your support for CRL.

Bernard F. Reilly
Center for Research Libraries