Building a Shared Digital Collection: The Experience of the Cooperating Libraries in Consortium
The Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Research Planning and Review Committee’s 2010 report (ACRL) includes the conflicting trends of increased opportunity for libraries to pursue new roles and services for their institutions at the same time that their budgets remain in stasis, at best, and dwindle, at worst. In the past ten years, digital libraries and digital collections have emerged as one of the main vehicles of opportunity. Due to
the maturation of digital asset management software (DAMS) and increased interest in the concept of knowledge management, which is concerned with storing and providing access to local intellectual resources, many libraries have started to explore how these tools might augment and improve their services (Branin 2004). Until recently, smaller schools have lacked the resources needed to provide these services. As a result, larger institutions have led the way in digital collections (Markey et al. 2008). The resources necessary to support these kinds of services are large and require smaller intuitions to depend on shared efforts, demonstrated by other consortia such as Liberal Arts Scholarly Repository (LASR), HELIN, or state consortia like OhioLink and Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), to implement and maintain them (Byrd 2010; Nolan and Costanza 2006; Xia and Opperman 2010). Thus, as the opportunities to reach beyond one’s local library community multiply and the digital technologies available continue to improve, directors and their staffs are looking for creative ways to collaborate with other like-minded institutions in order to offer enhanced services while maximizing the impact of their limited budgets.