Monday, January 17, 2011

shop talk

On the heels of this NYT article about America's lack of progress toward creating a national digital library (compared to Europe and Japan), last week OCLC released a report called Cloud-sourcing Research Collections: Managing Print in the Mass-digitized Library Environment. Findings from the year-long study conclude:

  • There is sufficient material in the mass-digitized library collection managed by the HathiTrust to duplicate a sizeable (and growing) portion of virtually any academic library in the United States, and there is adequate duplication between the shared digital repository and large-scale print storage facilities to enable a great number of academic libraries to reconsider their local print management operations.
  • The combination of a relatively small number of potential shared print providers, including the US Library of Congress, was sufficient to achieve more than 70% coverage of the digitized book collection, suggesting that shared service may not require a very large network of providers.
  • Substantial library space savings and cost avoidance could be achieved if academic institutions outsourced management of redundant low-use inventory to shared service providers.
  • Academic library directors can have a positive and profound impact on the future of academic print collections by adopting and implementing a deliberate strategy to build and sustain regional print service centers that can reduce the total cost of library preservation and access.
At one of the two community colleges where I'm adjunct faculty, I work as a database & systems librarian -- a position I share with a tenured librarian, a PhD, who would prefer if the majority of our collection was digital. Particular to the demographic our school serves, it's an opinion I've come to share.

For my birthday this year, Lei bought me a Kindle. On my mental list of Needful Things, an e-reader didn't rank very high, but I'm really enjoying it -- the convenience, portability, the dwindling pile of books on my nightstand. There is less dust in my bedroom.

I'm seriously considering a move come early summer -- just a little east, probably Echo Park or Silver Lake. I keep looking around my apartment and seeing nothing but things that will need to go into boxes. Heavy boxes filled with so many books I will never read again.

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