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The Collective Collection

Last week, OCLC Research issued a compilation of its work to understand the “collective collection” and help libraries develop improved opportunities for managing this remarkable resource. This compilation, published as Understanding the Collective Collection: Towards a System-wide Perspective on Library Print Collections, contains a number of studies on the opportunities and implications of digitization, the print to electronic transition, and the ways in which the preservation imperative is changing. Many of these individual pieces will be worthy reading for anyone charged with collection development, management, or preservation responsibilities either at an institutional level or on behalf of multiple libraries.

Lorcan Dempsey begins his introduction by noting, “As the network continues to reconfigure personal, business and institutional relationships, it is natural that we also continue to see changes in how library collections are managed: changes in focus, boundaries and value.” These reconfigurations are ones that Ithaka S+R has been examining through our Faculty Survey, What to Withdraw: Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization, and in upcoming projects. We also collaborated with OCLC’s Brian Lavoie to write “Books without Boundaries: A Brief Tour of the System-wide Print Book Collection,” one of the pieces in this compilation.

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