Librarians are often asked, “Isn’t everything online?” And the answer is no. While available content in the form of e-books or digital subscriptions continues to grow, print remains an essential part of library collections. The purpose of this work is to ensure the ongoing preservation and ready availability of print for users.
Yes and no. Trends in the growth rate and quality of digital resources underscore known disciplinary differences related to research or pedagogical requirements for print copies in collections. That is one reason why print collection management continues to be a balance of honoring local campus priorities and leveraging a larger network. For example, a campus library may choose to leverage shared print collections to provide access to users in a discipline that is well-supported with ready digital access to necessary collections. This allows the campus library to devote on site print collection space to support users in a discipline where digital content is not readily available or where research methodologies lean to print resources. What is true across the board is that the preservation and ongoing availability of original print resources is a fundamental component and value of library collections now and into the future, and collaborating across libraries to preserve print and make it easily available means that UC can offer an even broader collection to its users.
Shared print encompasses projects and initiatives among libraries where participants agree to share responsibility for retaining and providing access to original print resources. Shared print collections are typically subject to formal agreements where participating libraries have committed to maintain and provide access to specific titles through a specific date. UC’s shared print collections include books, journals, microform, and art slides.
The UC Libraries employ a number of strategies to ensure print copies continue to be available. Campuses determine locally what print collections are essential to have on hand to support their local users. All the UC Libraries work together to ensure that at least one print copy of content with ongoing relevance is retained and preserved in one of the two UC Regional Library Facilities. The UC Libraries also work with a large network of libraries across the country to establish agreements to ensure that there are sufficient print copies available and to broaden the diversity of print resources available to UC users.
At a basic level, collective collections are the combined holdings of a group of institutions. In some contexts, the term “collective collection” is used synonymously with “shared print”, but it can also mean something much more broad and varied. For example, the UC Libraries participate in a number of formal shared print programs through which we make commitments to retain and provide access to specific print collections. But, UC Libraries also consider collections across the system as part of the “one UC collection” – a collective collection including, but not limited to shared print collections.
The UC Libraries participate in shared print initiatives at three levels: (1) within the UC library system – building shared print collections primarily housed in the Regional Library Facilities; (2) in the western region of the United States through a collaboration hosted by the California Digital Library – the Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST); (3) at the national and North American level through the Rosemont Shared Print Alliance, the Partnership for Shared Book Collections, and the HathiTrust Shared Print Program.
All UC shared print collections are available via UC Library Search! Shared print collections held by our partners in WEST, HathiTrust, the Rosemont Alliance, and the Partnership are discoverable via WorldCat and available for borrowing via interlibrary loan.
UC Library Search is the new discovery tool which allows you to search for materials from your own campus collection and also across all UC locations. Using this single search interface you can search for materials across the whole UC collection and use your campus single sign on account to check out and renew materials. Using enhanced inter-library borrowing features of UC Library Search, you are able to request items from other UCs to be sent to any campus for pickup. You can also travel to any UC Library and check out items using your campus library card.
The Regional Library Facilities are cooperative library storage facilities, hosted by the UC Berkeley and UC Los Angeles campuses, that house physical materials for the UC Libraries in a secure and environmentally regulated space. The RLFs house the majority of UC’s shared print collections and are, in and of themselves, collective collections available to all UC users.
The RLFs store materials in a high-density, environmentally regulated, and secure manner, which maximizes space and the preservation of the physical materials. Campus library collections are generally open to users, which allows for easy in-person browsing, but also poses some risk to the preservation and security of the collections.
All UC users. There are some Special Collections housed in the RLFs that have very limited access because of the rarity or fragility of the materials, but generally, collections housed in the RLFs are meant to serve users across the UC system. In accordance with our collaborations with other libraries beyond UC, RLF collections are also shared with users beyond the UC system.
The RLF collections are designated as “persistent.” The items will be retained long-term.
Generally not since the collections are “persistent” and meant to be kept long-term. However, in order to ensure that space is available to continue to build highly diverse and expansive collections, the UC Libraries limit the duplication of titles held in the RLFs. At this time, only duplicates (extra copies) within the RLF collections may be selectively weeded in order to support the ongoing growth of the stored collections.
There are some kinds of materials that the UC Libraries generally do not send to the RLFs. Examples include: out of date reference materials, worksheets, forms, problem sets, computing manuals, etc. The campuses also try not to send duplicate material to the RLFs. We are also now exploring methodologies that take into account the number of retained copies of a title that reside with our shared print partners (i.e. that are guaranteed to be retained into the future).
Special Collections have not historically been included as part of shared print initiatives and agreements. In UC Libraries, Special Collections are also not subject to the same kind of frameworks that regulate duplication in the RLFs. They are, in a word, special. Indeed, part of the underlying reasoning for collaborating in the management of more general collections is to create more space (literally and in terms of resources) for the ongoing development of Special Collections in UC.