Individual academic libraries and independent research libraries are under intense and growing pressure to reduce the subscription and collection management costs for their print collections.
In response, a number of innovative collaborations are developing, not the least of which is the five-year strategic partnership that began July 1 between The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) and the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology (LHL).
The CRL-LHL partnership, which was three years in the making and funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will preserve, provide access to, and further develop the two institutions’ combined collections of printed source materials, covering more than 50,000 journal titles, in the fields of science, technology, and engineering. CRL and LHL will make the material available electronically and through interlibrary loan (ILL) and document delivery to researchers through more than 260 CRL libraries in the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong.
“The most significant thing is that the partnership enables the academic libraries community to leverage the considerable historical investment and collection resources of a major independent research library, while supporting the further development and growth of those collection resources,” said Bernard Reilly, the president of CRL, which is based in Chicago. “At its core, this is a collection development partnership.”
Reilly said one of the driving forces “was the excellence and wide scope of the Linda Hall Library’s historical collections.”
According to the CRL website, LHL will provide the following services to CRL and its member libraries:
- Maintain the designated collections on the premises of its facility in Kansas City, MO, under appropriate security and climate control.
- Maintain subscriptions to designated serial holdings titles currently subscribed (as long as LHL’s acquisitions budget can accommodate the associated costs, or unless discontinuation is mutually agreed upon by CRL and LHL).
- Deliver to CRL on an annual basis holdings information on the designated serial titles at the issue level, for inclusion in the Print Archives Preservation Registry (PAPR) database (which became available online this month) and other relevant CRL databases. The interchange format will be MARC21 and holdings information will be provided at the issue-level.
- Provide document delivery of articles to CRL libraries through the RapidILL document delivery service.
- Digitize single volumes in the collection to fulfill requests from scholars at CRL libraries. Digital files of those materials will be delivered to CRL via FTP for subsequent posting on the CRL DDS server to be accessed by CRL-authorized users through the CRL OPAC and World Cat.
Reilly called the business model “entirely original” and was excited about its potential.
“The biggest challenge was reconciling the interests of academic libraries on the one hand, whom CRL represents, with the needs of an independent research library like Linda Hall,” he said. “The biggest challenge will be to forge a collections strategy that satisfies both needs.”
A six-member steering committee will guide the future development of the designated collections. CRL will also eventually contribute to LHL materials from its own holdings to fill gaps, and those materials will become part of the LHL designated holdings. CRL and LHL will also acquire, if funding allows, appropriate historical monographs, serials, and related materials of interest to scholars at CRL libraries.
“The Linda Hall Library is extremely pleased to be working with CRL, and to be in a position to make its carefully curated historical resources available to the large CRL research population,” said Lisa Browar, the president of LHL.
The collections covered by the partnership include:
- Current and back file STE print serials from Elsevier, Wiley, Springer, and other publishers;
- Historical science serials published by the Russian Academy of Sciences and other learned societies in Europe, Asia, and the U.S.;
- Foreign serials in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, and Engineering received through the Library of Congress Cooperative Acquisition Program.
- Engineering specifications, technical reports, standards, and other publications of U.S. and foreign government agencies;
- Other retrospective serials held by CRL and LHL (aside from those in the Linda Hall Library rare book collections).