Scarcity and Abundance: the cooperative imperative in special collections

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Slides from panel presentation on collaborative management of special collections (with Jackie Dooley, Elizabeth Joffrion and Sean Quimby) at RBMS 2012 .

Text of Scarcity and Abundance: the cooperative imperative in special collections

  • 1. RBMS Futures!, 21 November 2012 #RBMS2012Scarcity and Abundance:the cooperative imperative inspecial collectionsConstance MalpasProgram OfficerOCLC Research@ConstanceM The worlds libraries. Connected.

2. Old forms, evolving functions This is an early American spout cup. . . a pouring vessel somewhere betweena pap boat and a tea pot. My aim today:dispense more bitter stimulant than soothing pabulumPickman, D. Leavitt. (1938). Pouring vessel vagaries. Cambridge, Mass.: The Mythology Company.The worlds libraries. Connected. 3. A view of the futureRick Anderson. The Portal Problem, Part 2: The Plight of the Library Collection ScholarlyKitchen Blog (April 16, 2012)The worlds libraries. Connected. 4. Or maybe its something else.ARLCNI Forum, October 2011Louisiana State University President, John LombardiWhen solicited for university funding, his first question is: What will that project do to make the university more competitive?If you cant persuade me that the work youre doing is going to make us more famous, were not going to be interested in investing in you, he said.Is that wise and profound and good? No. Its stupid. Butthats the way it is. worlds libraries. Connected. 5. In manyOpen WebPurchased materials Licensed E-Resources collections Resources Licensed Commodity Exotic Goods & Services Instruments Purchased High LowStewardship StewardshipNew Republic of Hereditary DuchyInstitutional of RBMS Impact Special CollectionsIn few Research & LearningLocal DigitizationMaterialscollectionsOCLC Collections Grid. Credit: Dempsey, Childress (OCLC Research. 2003) 6. Redirection of library resourceIn Many Collections Licensed Purchased High LowStewardship today+5 yrs StewardshipEmerging shared services New skill sets Renovated value proposition In Few CollectionsOCLC Research, 2010. 7. So, whats the problem?Cooperative infrastructure developed to supportefficient management of commodity collectionswidely-held print publications cooperative cataloging shared print collections approval plans on-demand purchasinglicensed electronic resources group licensing knowledge base maintenance shared digital preservationnot necessarily extensible to special collections The worlds libraries. Connected. 8. Moreover . . . Limited institutional incentives to share inprestige of ownership Cooperative agreements for joint custody,shared stewardship, coordinated acquisitions,etc. are rarely and/or imperfectly memorialized Special Collections mostly focused on managingscarcity; the network economy is governed bythe principle of plenitude. Abundance =opportunity, not threat.The worlds libraries. Connected. 9. What makes us special is changing In many academic research libraries, 30 to 50% ofcollections, including special collections, are off-site. For ARLs, 30% or more print collection has alreadybeen digitized even if the library hasnt scanned asingle book. For Oberlins, the rate is even higher (>40% median). Among IRLA, rates are variable but can exceed 50%. A substantial portion of the digitized titles in eachlibrary are also relatively abundant in the librarysystem (30%-90%). The worlds libraries. Connected. 10. Pre-1850 imprints in HathiTrust >175K unique (discrete) titlesCf. Dooley et al. (2010) report avg. specialcollections print volume count ~80K Median holding libraries per title = 7scarce supply in native print format 99% designated as (US) public domain [B]now embedded in an economy of abundanceOCLC Research analysis of HathiTrust snapshot data, May 2012. The worlds libraries. Connected. 11. A monumental opportunity Marcel Breuers design for St Johns Abbey, Collegeville MN, ca 1958.Preserving and providingaccess to the monumentaldimension of digitizedmaterial is a vital task forlibraries. Roger Chartier, June 2012Stoddard, W. S. (1958). Adventure in architecture: building the new Saint Johns. [1st ed.] New York:Longmans, Green.The worlds libraries. Connected. 12. New service frameworks are needed A further stage in the evolution of pouring vessels: the milk carton as a tool formassively coordinated discoveryEnabling the creative re-use of contentin special collections is a tremendoustechnical and cultural challenge. We Lucilemust embrace it.AKA My muse as aLaviniamilk carton kid by Foxtongue remixed with illustration from a public domain version of Lucile, sourced from HathiTrust.The worlds libraries. Connected. 13. Citation, scholarly work, scaleThe historian cites sourcesso that the past may bemade present.R. Chartier (2012)What should be cited?} The manifestation or theoriginal item?The worlds libraries. Connected. 14. Content vs. container: our vessels weepRedefining citation practices will not be thework of librarians alone it will require collaboration with the communities thatcreate and use our collectionsThe worlds libraries. Connected. 15. In closingMaximizing the scholarly value and institutional relevance of special collections will require new forms of collaboration: Within and across institutions, to establish common service frameworks for managing content creation, dissemination and re-use Among repositories and donors to broaden the collective collection and more effectively reveal its underlying connective tissue In partnership with scholars who are defining use cases not supported by traditional library infrastructure, service portfolios or personnelThe worlds libraries. Connected. 16. Constance Thanks for your attention.Questions, comments? The worlds libraries. Connected.