History of GNARP

The institutional memory of an organization, including its origins, successes, and challenges, is vital to the examination of its purpose and for its continued usefulness.  It is hoped that the following history will serve this purpose for GNARP.

1.  Issues in German Collection Development
2. Origins of the German Demonstration Project and the German Resources Project
3. Activities of the Original Working Groups
4. Current Bylaws and the Reconfiguration of the Working Groups
5. Past Chairs of GNARP and its Working Groups

1. Issues in German Collection Development

The German-North American Resources Partnership (GNARP) is one of the working projects of the Global Resources Network. As with the other projects in the Global Resources Network, GNARP faces unique challenges in acquiring research material for North American libraries. German scholarly production is both prolific and international in significance. In a number of disciplines, such as archeology, biblical studies, ancient history, linguistics, philosophy, and music,a familiarity with the respective German research is considered a prerequisite to mastering the scholarship of these fields. As a nation of critical and demanding readers, Germany publishes more new titles of books annually than the U.S. (even though Germany’s population is less than a third than that of the U.S.). Though the system of German publishing is well-organized, the sheer output of valuable scholarly material creates special demands on North American research libraries that seek to adequately collect the published research emanating from German-speaking countries.

Over the past 20 years, collection development budgets have not been able to keep pace with the growth in German-language scholarship. Compounded with the high inflation rate for German books, as well as a strong German mark in international exchange, North American libraries have been faced with serious cuts in collection levels for German-language materials. Even larger North American research libraries have recognized that systematically collecting German-language materials in various academic disciplines has become virtually impossible, both financially and in terms of administering a comprehensive collection development policy. With the growing effectiveness of interlibrary loan, libraries have de facto come to rely on this means for satisfying patron needs for scholarly material.

2. Origins of the German Demonstration Project and German Resources Project

For these reasons, the Global Resources Network decided to include German-language research materials as one of its areas of focus. Fully embracing the promise of emerging technologies, as well as the need to promote more effective sharing and cooperation among libraries, the goal of the Network is to create interdependent structures in shifting collection development policies. Involving a move from ownership-oriented to access-oriented policies, the intent is to help libraries maximize their long-term investment in German-language scholarship. In shifting the focus to access, libraries can then engage a portion of their resources to provide effective tools for searching and identifying needed materials in a given universe of resources, as well as in developing mechanisms for delivery.

With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, German and North American librarians from participating institutions met in summer 1998 at the Library of Congress to develop goals and long-term plans for the newly named German Resources Project. The meeting inaugurated a one-year effort focused on improving access to research materials among participating libraries, designing German and North American digital collection development agreements, and facilitating document delivery. Dr. Elmar Mittler of the Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek helped to direct the project in Germany, hosting a followup meeting at his library in Göttingen in 1999.  The funding from the Mellon Foundation encouraged the development of American and German digital collection development agreements, stimulated improved document delivery, and resulted in a report on the means to improve access to German digital material and Internet publications.

During this period of reorganization, the Project was co-chaired by Sarah Thomas of Cornell University and Winston Tabb of the Library of Congress. Project Coordinator was Roger Brisson of Pennsylvania State University. In addition to facilitating the development of project initiatives, the project coordinator also served as liaison to colleagues in German research libraries who have become strategic partners in the project. In less than a year, more than 35 ARL libraries signed on with the project.  The project enacted bylaws in 2001, and Tom Kilton of Illinois and Lou Pitschmann of Wisconsin were elected co-chairs.  Under their successor, Jeff Garrett of Northwestern, the project adopted a new name, German-North American Resources Partnership, in order to better reflect the idea of mutual benefit that had enspirited the initial meeting in Washington, D.C., and Göttingen.

3. Activities of the Original Working Groups

Departing from the project’s original idea of distributed collection development of print resources, the Collection Development Working Group identified German databases for which it negotiated advantageous license terms for member libraries in North America: xipolis, DigiZeitschriften, and Bibliographie der deutschen Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft.  In the spirit of parternship, we asked: what is the benefit of these licenses for our German colleagues, aside from the revenue to the German rights holders? The contact partnerships plan arose at Göttingen to answer this challenge.  Attracted by the German system of distributed responsibility for subject collecting, the plan proposed that each German subject specialist be paired with an American counterpart. Each would serve as a contact person for the other, and the American partner would interpret the relatively diffuse and confusing collection landscape in North America for the German one. GNARP conferences in Germany, in Munich and in Frankfurt, featured presentations by contact partners on their collections in South Asian, African, and Jewish Studies.

The other working groups also recorded significant successes.  The Document Delivery Working Group designed a framework for the electronic delivery of articles via the Göttingen library called GBVdirekt.  The delivery of scarce German articles in humanities and social science fields was a remarkable gain for specialized American researchers, but there was also an unexpected demand for articles in the natural sciences.  Differences in the interpretation of copyright law and payments eventually made this system untenable and it had to be shut down.  After awaiting for some years a resolution of legal issues that would enable GBVdirekt to be revived for some years, GNARP decided to suspend this working group in 2007.  Individual libraries are able to provide document delivery services (and interlibrary loan of returnables) on a bilateral basis, for which GNARP is not needed.

The Bibliographic Control Working Group served as a forum for consultation among German and North American catalogers for several years.  The group completed a translation of Anglo-American Cataloging Rules II into German, and also sponsored a dialogue on German and American cataloging cultures at the Frankfurt conference.  After these events, however, we had to conclude that the most important German-American discussions and decisions were taking place in other bodies.  The experience with the Digital Libraries Working Group was similar: it pursued useful German-American discussions about standards for digital libraries, but decisions were being made elsewhere.  Much of the digital library work for German resources in North American libraries was being achieved through GNARP licenses in fact.  Therefore it was decided in 2007 to suspend the Bibliographic Control Working Group and to fold Digital Libraries into the Collection Development Working Group.  The latter has found its work continues to be focused on database licenses, while the role of the contact partnerships has fallen short of expectations.

4. Current Bylaws and the Reconfiguration of the Working Groups

The first bylaws of GNARP, and the new version ratified in 2008 under the Chairmanship of Jim Niessen of Rutgers, provide for flexibility in the creation and suspension of working groups as need arises.  GNARP and the other members of the Global Resources Program now operate under the auspices of the Center for Research Libraries, a membership organization aimed at the sharing of resources.  In order to support administrative overhead by CRL and tie members more closely to the mission of the parent organization, GNARP now collects modest annual dues of its institutional members in North America, but not in Germany.  GNARP has taken the opportunity of attendance at annual librarians’ congresses in Germany (Deutsche Bibliothekartage) to explore potential areas of activity for which GNARP can serve a useful role for our German colleagues.  A new Librarian Exchange Working Group arose in 2008 and presented its new clearinghouse for potential internship hosts in North America at the Bibliothekartag in Erfurt in June 2009.  The GNARP business meeting in Erfurt elicited renewed interest in a proposed working group for American Studies librarians.

5. Past Chairs of GNARP and its Working Groups

2015-2016  Brian Vetruba, Washington University
2015           Erika Banski, University of Alberta
2014-2015  Elizabeth Chenault, University of North Carolina
2010-2014  Kizer Walker, Cornell University
2006-2010 James Niessen, Rutgers University
2002-2006 Jeff Garrett, Northwestern University
1999-2002 Louis Pitschmann, University of Alabama

GNARP Vice Chair
2015           Brian Vetruba, Washington University
2014-2015  Erika Banski, University of Alberta
2012-2014  Elizabeth Chenault, University of North Carolina
2010-2012 Thea Lindquist, University of Colorado, Boulder
2008-2010 Dale Askey, Kansas State University
2004-2006 James Niessen, Rutgers University 

GNARP Collection Development Working Group Chair
2014-2016  Heidi Madden, Duke University
2012-2014 Gordon Anderson, University of Minnesota
2008-2012 Kate Brooks, University of Minnesota
2006-2008 Richard Hacken, Brigham Young University
2004-2006 James Niessen, Rutgers University
2003           Barbara Walden, University of Minnesota
2000-2001 Thomas Kilton, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
1999           Michael Olson, Harvard University

GNARP Librarian Exchange Working Group
2013-2017 James Niessen, Rutgers University
2008-2013 Brigitte Doellgast, Goethe-Institut, New York
2008          Jeff Garrett, Northwestern University 

GNARP Digital Libraries Working Group
2006-2008 Sebastian Hierl, Harvard University
2004-2006 Richard Hacken, Brigham Young University
1999-2004 Michael Seadle, Michigan State University 

GNARP Document Delivery Working Group
2002-2006 Lynn Wiley, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
1999-2001 Sem Sutter, University of Chicago

GNARP Bibliographic Control Working Group
2006-2008 Charles Croissant, Saint Louis University
2002-2006 Roger Brisson
1999 Karl Fattig, Bowdoin College

SEEMP Preserves WWII Cossack Newspapers

The Slavic and East European Microform Project has microfilmed several newspapers published during World War II for Russian Cossack soldiers that fought on the side of Nazi Germany.