June 2011

CIC Universities to Co-invest in a Shared Print Repository

Over the past 150 years, the CIC libraries have built print collections of extraordinary breadth, depth and diversity. Collectively, these libraries hold some 85 million print volumes, the overwhelming majority being held multiple times across our campuses.  

As scholars increasingly rely upon electronic access to needed resources, libraries everywhere are seeking ways to preserve access to the printed volume, while at the same time redirecting resources—dollars, staff and space—to the management of increasingly digital collections. 

To better steward library resources, the CIC Library Directors have made a commitment to sharing the costs of storing and managing lesser-used print materials.  They recognize that more secure conditions can be maintained, and better user services supported, if some bodies of print content are held in common across the CIC libraries.  Such co-investment in a shared collection will relieve each individual school of the obligation to retain and independently manage its own legacy print collection. 

The Directors’ plan calls for building a shared collection of 250,000 journal backfile volumes at the Indiana University’s Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF).  The ALF is a state-of-the-art, purpose-built, high-density storage facility with a total capacity of more than 6 million volumes.

A working group of collection librarians from participating libraries has recommended that initial attention be directed to securing as complete runs as possible of Elsevier, Wiley and Springer journals, estimated at approximately 150,000 volumes, all of which are electronically accessible as licensed digital archives.  

IU has committed to ingesting, retaining and servicing this journal collection for at least 25 years, and beyond that for as long as the CIC libraries continue to offset the costs of storage.  Once procedures are developed for ingest and service, it is likely that additional CIC host sites will be recruited to house other resources on behalf of CIC libraries and scholars, thus growing the collection beyond the initial target of 250,000 volumes.

This commitment to build a CIC-Shared Print Repository means that the CIC Libraries will be one of a small number of regional consortia (WEST, ASERL, WRLN, RECAP, etc.) committed to the long-term retention of scholarly print materials.  These regional programs, in turn, are working to build a national framework for print preservation and access by developing strategies and tools for communicating and coordinating best practices, holdings, and terms of access.  

CIC Universities participating in the storage initiative are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.  Collectively, these institutions will pay in $1.75 million to support the initial collection of 250,000 journal volumes for a period of 25 years.  

Project oversight will be provided by the Directors of the partnering university libraries, with substantive input offered by several appointed working groups, and operational direction provided by IU staff and a Steering Committee whose initial membership includes Brenda Johnson, Barbara Dewey and Paula Kaufman. 

For more information about the CIC Shared Print Repository, please contact Mark Sandler (msandler@staff.cic.net) or Kim Armstrong (karms2@staff.cic.net).