This is the first in what will be an ongoing series of messages posted to “Common Knowledge”, a blog space on the recently reengineered CRL website. (Earlier “posts” are actually the texts of messages I sent to the directors of member libraries over the past few years.) The new site nicely highlights CRL’s dual role: as an international platform for cooperative collection development; and a community of libraries devoted to ensuring the long-term integrity and accessibility of primary evidence and documentation.
These are two roles CRL has played continually since its founding in1949. The new site highlights the work of the many “communities of interest” that operate under the auspices of CRL. These communities consist of specialists at the major U.S. and Canadian research universities, in key domains like Latin American studies (LAMP), Middle East studies (MEMP), the history and economics of agriculture (Project Ceres), engineering (the TRAIL project), and law (Global Resources Law Partnership). These specialists identify critical source materials in their fields of expertise, and acquire or capture those materials in digital or micro formats. This expertise, and the collections and digital resources these communities identify and preserve, benefit researchers and scholars at the larger community of CRL university, college and independent research libraries.
Fundamentally, CRL is an enterprise guided by the knowledge, expertise, ideas, and energy of individuals and groups in its community. Henceforth, Common Knowledge will be a place where those collective efforts are discussed, recognized and acknowledged.
Bernard F. Reilly
Center for Research Libraries