Best Practices for Resource Sharing & Access

Note: This Best Practice uses the Good, Better, Best, Aspirational terminology

Access to materials and resource sharing is a critical part of any shared print program and should extend beyond the library’s shared print program. Since resource sharing is an established practice internationally, shared print programs should follow documented best practices for their already established shared collections and workflows1. Both access and resource sharing within a shared print program should be defined in the MOU (see MOU Best Practice for those considerations). The role of the shared print program is to encourage the following:

Each level below presumes all checks of any/all preceding levels.

Best Practice

Good

  • Resource sharing should be considered as a component of the shared print program. 

Better

While resource sharing services may vary by program, in general

Best

Although access and resource sharing options vary by program, there are certain practices that if adopted would enable greater access to shared print items. These include

  • Resource sharing should enable access to shared resources, including digital surrogates of public domain materials, for users across the globe.
  • Libraries should share reciprocally so there are no fees associated with accessing materials. 
  • Materials that are part of a shared print commitment circulate as openly as possible and have little to no restrictions locally or once lent. 

Aspirational

  • Shared print programs facilitate access to digital surrogates readily available through the first sale doctrine.2
  • Shared print programs are strongly encouraged to invest in the development and implementation of discovery systems3 and/or resource sharing systems that support discovery and resource sharing for the collective collections.

Summary TableGoodBetterBestAspirational
Resource sharing should be considered as a component of your shared print program.x
Materials should be in a condition that enables circulation. If the copy is no longer in a condition that supports resource sharing and access, follow the Best Practice for Transferring Commitments or Materialsx
Materials should be discoverable and available for use across shared print programs when possible (See Best Practice for Discovery and Disclosure of Items in Local Systems). To encourage a true collective collection, shared print programs are strongly encouraged to provide lending to all libraries. This includes physical or digital loans of items and photocopies.  x
Resource sharing should enable access for users across North America. x
When lending an item, the retention library may set local restrictions on an item’s use within a borrowing library as needed for special collections, rare, and/or restricted access materials.x
Borrowing libraries are responsible for shared materials from the start of the transaction until the item is returned to the lending library. Borrowing libraries take responsibility for replacing lost or damaged materials in compliance with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ (IFLA) International Resource Sharing and Document Delivery: Principles and Guidelines for Procedure and/or the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States.x
Resource sharing should enable access for users across the globe.x
Libraries should share reciprocally so there are no fees associated with accessing them. x
Materials that are part of a shared print commitment circulate as openly as possible and have little to no restrictions locally or once lent. x
Libraries should make digital surrogates of public domain materials openly accessible.x
Shared print programs facilitate access to digital surrogates readily available through the first sale doctrine.4x
Shared print programs are strongly encouraged to invest in the development and implementation of discovery systems5 and/or resource sharing systems that support discovery and resource sharing for the collective collections.x

Last Updated: September 2021


  1. See International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ (IFLA) International Resource Sharing and Document Delivery: Principles and Guidelines for Procedure and  the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States.
  2. For more information see the First Sale Doctrine Wikipedia Page and more information on Controlled Digital Lending
  3. See Best Practices for Shared Metadata and Records
  4.  First Sale Doctrine Wikipedia Page
  5. See Best Practices for Shared Metadata and Records