PAPR II Summit Looks at the Future of Print in North American Libraries

Thursday, July 2, 2015
Amy Wood -

On June 25, CRL convened Preserving America's Print Resources II: a North American Summit, at the University of California, Berkeley.  The one-day “summit” assembled representatives of major print archive and shared print programs in the U.S. and Canada and other thought leaders.  The purpose of the gathering was twofold: to obtain input on how CRL could further support the archiving and sharing of print serial collections by North American libraries; and to foster a common vision for the further development and growth of shared research library collections.

As background for discussions at the PAPR II summit, CRL produced and circulated Print Archiving and Shared Print in North America: A Preliminary Analysis and Status Report.  The report and a list of attendees are available on the meeting site.  Later this month CRL will also post an expanded version of the report, and the PowerPoints from the presentations. 

Several points of consensus emerged in the discussions.  One of those was that, despite the significant resources and effort invested in cooperative print preservation to date, only a minute portion of the overall corpus of print serials has been archived.  At the same time, attendees were skeptical about the prospects for increasing library support for print archiving to any significant degree.  Attendees agreed that several things must happen: 

  1. Greater coordination of the archiving strategies adopted by the cooperative print archiving/sharing efforts, to ensure that the most important and endangered materials are identified and preserved;
  2. Sharing and cooperative development of technical capabilities and infrastructure needed to meet the challenge, to prevent siloed development and unnecessary or redundant local investment;
  3. Creation of better metrics and tools for evaluating the models and conditions of archiving adopted by archive programs, to provide actionable information for local and regional collection decisions and investment;
  4. Achieving synergies between archiving and other major collection investments that generate metadata and support validation of holdings, such as digitization and collection management projects.

Prompted by the PAPR II discussions, CRL is now holding more focused conversations with representatives of the major print archiving efforts, key CRL partners, and funders, to refine and focus its agenda and to identify specific ways CRL can promote and support concerted action.  New action will build upon the development of the PAPR registry, CRL’s support of the Print Archive Network Forums, and other recent CRL initiatives. 

The summit was made possible by the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the CRL community of member libraries.