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The Library is committed to a collective of print materials by partnering with member institutions.
Shared Print is the practice of libraries forming a collective to define a corpus of print material that the member institutions will agree to retain and make available to members for a specified period of time. Shared Print is often seen as a solution to the common library problem of increasingly limited space as it can enable libraries to remove copies of titles that another library has committed to retaining, thus distributing storage responsibilities and recovering space. As Shared Print agreements have developed and matured, they are also seen as a way to define canonical collections. Many Shared Print agreements are based regionally, so there is often a local interest and history component. The Claremont Colleges Library has been a participant in Shared Print efforts since about 2010, and has and is playing a leadership role in these efforts.
In the beginning, there was WEST:
The Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST) is a distributed retrospective print journal repository program serving research libraries, college and university libraries, and library consortia in the Western Region of the United States. Under the WEST program, participating libraries consolidate and validate print journal backfiles at major library storage facilities and at selected campus locations. The resulting shared print archives ensure access to the scholarly print record and allow member institutions to optimize campus library space. This collaborative regional approach to managing library collections represents an important step, when joined with other initiatives, toward development of a network-level shared print archive.
One of the most appealing aspects of the WEST program is that the commitments are so well distributed that the participation efforts can be very modest. The Claremont Colleges Library is a bronze holder for seven titles. Our title number may be small, but we have made a large contribution to a bigger picture.
After advances in journal-focused Shared Print, the library world turned its attention to monograph strategies. The Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium, SCELC, is a regional group in which The Claremont Colleges Library is quite active. SCELC’s membership is comprised of private academic libraries. From the SCELC project website:
The SCELC Shared Print Program began in late 2013. Following a survey of members, the completion of a feasibility study, and the development of an implementation plan, as of September 2016 SCELC is embarking on a distributed, retrospective shared monograph collection that will enable libraries to manage their print collections collaboratively.
In 2016, the Library joined HathiTrust, which provides access to digitized books. HathiTrust is conducting its own Shared Print program, based on the HathiTrust corpus. Hathi’s statement:
Fifty HathiTrust member libraries have proposed retention commitments totaling more than 16 million monograph volumes to be retained for 25 years under the HathiTrust Shared Print Program. These volumes correspond to more than 4.8 million individual book titles held in the HathiTrust Digital Library (about 65% of all HathiTrust digital monographs), which is a significant step toward a primary goal of the program: to steward print copies of all HathiTrust digital holdings.
- Secure retention commitments for print holdings that mirror book titles in the HathiTrust digital collection
- Maintain a lendable print collection distributed among HathiTrust member collections
- Reflect support by and provide benefits to all HathiTrust members
- Build on existing shared print and resource-sharing arrangements and avoid disturbing members’ other affiliations.
The Claremont Colleges Library joined immediately. Hathi’s approach is that the libraries make voluntary commitments rather than assign titles to each library to preserve. The Library’s commitment of 22% of its collection compares well to other Shared Print project across North America—20-25% is the average commitment, according to OCLC’s Shared Collection Services. The Library has taken a leadership role in Shared Print efforts in the region and nationally, and this role dovetails with our strategic goals centered on our print research collections.