OCLC Research Reports

  • Understanding the Collective Collection: Towards a System-wide Perspective on Library Print Collections

Understanding the Collective Collection: Towards a System-wide Perspective on Library Print Collections

An OCLC Research Report by:

Lorcan Dempsey, Brian Lavoie, Constance Malpas, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Roger C. Schonfeld, JD Shipengrover, and Günter Waibel

With an introduction by Lorcan Dempsey,
The Emergence of the Collective Collection: Analyzing Aggregate Print Library Holdings

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Key highlights:

  • Interest in shared print strategies has had several drivers: Google Books; the digital turn: changing patterns of research and learning; the opportunity costs of current use of space; efficient access to materials; and a general move to collaboration.
  • The network turn is leading to changes in the focus, boundaries and value of library collections.
  • Libraries and the organizations that provide services to them are devoting more attention to system-wide organization of collections—whether the "system" is a consortium, a region or a country.
  • Libraries are beginning to evolve arrangements that facilitate long-term shared management of the print literature as individual libraries begin to manage down their local capacity.
  • A system-wide perspective signals a real shift in emphasis.
  • A range of first-ever calculations providing quantitative estimates and analyses of the system-wide collection. For example,
    • ". . . given any two Google 5 libraries—or, if the Google 5 results can be extrapolated to a larger context, given any two large research libraries—eight out of ten books in their combined collections will be unique." (p. 43)
    • ". . . post-1923 materials collectively account for more than 80 percent, or about 12.6 million, of the US-published print books in WorldCat." (p. 73)
    • "If the current growth trajectory of the HathiTrust Digital Library is sustained, we can project that more than 60% of the retrospective print collections held in ARL libraries will be duplicated in the shared digital repository by June 2014." (p. 80)
    • For ARL libraries, cost avoidance of $500,000 to $2 million per year and space savings of more than 45,000 assignable square feet could be achieved through shared print provision. (p. 81)

Understanding the Collective Collection: Towards a System-wide Perspective on Library Print Collections brings together the important work that OCLC Research has done for the community in providing a quantitative, analytic, system-wide view of library collections. This body of work has established an evidence base that has allowed and encouraged libraries to begin the shift from local provisioning of library collections and services to increased reliance on cooperative infrastructure, collective collections, shared technology platforms, and "above-the-institution" management strategies.

OCLC Vice President, Research, and Chief Strategist Lorcan Dempsey describes why OCLC Research has had a major interest in the "collective collection"—a term he coined to describe collective development, management and disclosure of collections across groups of libraries at different levels. He also provides the context for this work in the report's introduction, The Emergence of the Collective Collection: Analyzing Aggregate Print Library Holdings, which is also available as a separate document [pdf]. In this introduction, Lorcan describes OCLC Research's three broad interests around better understanding the existing collective collection and supporting the optimal evolution of reconfigured collections:

  1. Understanding the characteristics of the collective print collection
  2. Supporting policy and service decision-making with good intelligence based on WorldCat and other data resources
  3. Understanding patterns or trends within the scholarly and cultural record.

This work is an output of OCLC Research's focus on Understanding the System-wide Library. It has changed the way in which libraries think about where they source their needs and the scale at which they must organize to deliver new and traditional services. It also embodies the way that the OCLC cooperative both serves and helps shape the library community of which it is part.

For more information:

Lorcan Dempsey
Vice President, Research, and Chief Strategist
OCLC
dempseyl@oclc.org
+1-614-761-5335

 

Quick links:

Understanding the Collective Collection: Towards a System-wide Perspective on Library Print Collections

  • Report publication announcement [link]
  • Download the report (.pdf: 68.6MB/232pp.) [link]
  • Order a print publication of the report [link]

Suggested citation:

Dempsey, Lorcan, Brian Lavoie, Constance Malpas, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Roger C. Schonfeld, JD Shipengrover, and Günter Waibel. 2013. Understanding the Collective Collection: Towards a System-wide Perspective on Library Print Collections. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research. http://www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/2013/2013-09.pdf.

Introduction: The Emergence of the Collective Collection: Analyzing Aggregate Print Library Holdings

  • Download the report (116KB/10pp.) [link]

Suggested citation:

Dempsey, Lorcan. 2013. The Emergence of the Collective Collection: Analyzing Aggregate Print Library Holdings. http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/research/publications/library/2013/2013-09intro.pdf. In: Dempsey, Lorcan, Brian Lavoie, Constance Malpas, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Roger C. Schonfeld, JD Shipengrover, and Günter Waibel. 2013. Understanding the Collective Collection: Towards a System-wide Perspective on Library Print Collections. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research. http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/research/publications/library/2013/2013-09.pdf.


OCLC Research work theme, Understanding the System-wide Library [link]

We are a worldwide library cooperative, owned, governed and sustained by members since 1967. Our public purpose is a statement of commitment to each other—that we will work together to improve access to the information held in libraries around the globe, and find ways to reduce costs for libraries through collaboration.