Research Agenda

The Partnership’s goals in undertaking research:

  1. Support an evidence-based approach for decision-making and best practices for shared print and collective collection management.
  2. Support the collaboration among shared print monograph initiatives and collections in North America in providing cost-effective retention and access to shared print monograph collections.
  3. Support the preservation and long-term accessibility of print resources.
  4. Expand the collective of shared print programs and the value they provide.

Tier One Priorities

What is the corpus of content we are looking to protect/preserve as part of Partnership programs?  What is not being retained (or potentially over retained)? (supports goals 1,2,3,4) 

It is difficult to know the ‘universe’ of print monographs and how best to expand shared print programs to further protect and preserve this universe. Acknowledging that there are unknown gaps in the corpus of works in systems such as OCLC WorldCat, Gold Rush and ExLibris, it seems feasible to at least start working with one or more of these vendors or a group of libraries to identify unretained or under retained materials. This unretained material could be looked at through various lenses, including institutions/libraries, geography, (global) publishers and DEI. 

There are also known gaps in titles retained by shared print programs based on types of materials that academic libraries are reluctant to commit to long term, e.g. reference, textbooks, computer manuals, and travel guides. Partnering with a group such as the Internet Archive to create collections of these materials may have merit.  The same is true of popular fiction, where there may be opportunities for collaboration with public libraries as well as with the Internet Archive.

Finally, some titles may already be over retained, particularly across shared print programs.  Further analysis of collection might allow a better balance.

With a growing emphasis on access, how does an individual library as well as a shared print program best identify candidates for digitization to further protect print and to expand access options? (supports goals 1,3) 

Developing methodologies for identifying digitization candidates. Possible criteria could include risk and gaps identified in the preceding priority. Use and condition may also be important considerations. There is a need to be able to identify what has already been digitized and what levels of access are available. 

It will be important to understand the current landscape and where digital materials are being retained, e.g. in local IRs, HathiTrust, Internet Archives, etc., what is considered a trusted digital repository and what levels of validation as well as access are possible. 

Once the digitization landscape is better documented, there may be opportunities to build on this to better understand the relationship between shared print and digital initiatives such as controlled digital lending (CDL) in support of further access to shared print content.

Discussion with programs/member libraries on their plans, and determine if there is work that could be funded at the national level.

Tier Two Priorities

The relationship between shared print and special collections (supports goal 1)

Most shared program programs initially assumed special collections (which are defined in many different ways in different institutions) are already protected, but are increasingly realizing this is not always the case. In addition, a title that may be in special collections in one library may well be in circulating collections in others. As more libraries look to share special collections, what is their role in shared print? Can including them in shared print encourage libraries to provide more sharing?

Working with programs that have begun to explore retaining special collections, we can better understand monograph holdings within special collections and which such materials are rare and not currently retained. Some level of collection analysis could support this understanding. 

Explore library acquisitions and investments between print and e monographs and implications for preservation and prioritizing prospective print projects. (supports goals 1,4)

As libraries move toward e preferred acquisitions, what does this mean for long term preservation, both of e and print resources? Should shared print programs encourage purchase if print titles that are mostly acquired in e format? What might that look like?

Shared Print Impacts on Resource Sharing (supports goals 2,3)
Look into the impact that shared print has on resource sharing and use.   

Potential Future Research Areas 

What’s the ‘right’ period for retention commitments? (supports goal 1)

What is it that informs a retention period, and with what implications for long term preservation?

Partnership completed research projects:

Risk model for optimal number of copies (supports goals 1,3) (Paper to be published Sept ’23 in CRL)

Last Updated January 2023