Optimising storage and access in UK research libraries [pdf], a report commissioned by The Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL), in the UK, and the British Library, has been made available. It is addressing an issue which is arising now across the library community, and is being addressed in various regional, national and other policy regimes: are there sensible ways of managing the accumulating print collections in collective ways? This is becoming critical, both because of the pressure on library space, and the cost of redundantly managing print collections. The focus here is on serials but monographs are also considered. Some notable points:
- The report estimates that by 2015, CURL libraries would need as much as an additional 350KM of shelving to accommodate growth.
- There is a brief review of collaborative storage approaches in other parts of the world. CARM is noted especially: this is a scheme run by Caval in Australia.
- The authors present several scenarios, but come down to recommending that an approach be based on the British Library holdings. They suggest that a National Research Reserve could be built on this basis, with libraries contributing materials that the BL does not have.
The British Library Document Supply Centre was established as a logistics hub for the UK library community. It was built to efficiently process inventory, a large number of requests, and distribution in the mail system. It is interesting to see how this logistics role might be revisited in the context of discussing how best to manage the collective CURL collection.
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