Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Presidential message

I would like to use this space to tell about some of the discussions that took place in late November during the Fall meeting of the Latin America Northeast Libraries Consortium (LANE), hosted by Angela Carreño of the New York University Libraries. The meeting was noticeably different from previous ones because the group had previously agreed to dedicate most of the time to discussing new models and possibilities for cooperative collection development among the members.

During the day-long discussion, we learned about how small groups of libraries within LANE (Brown and Dartmouth, Columbia and Cornell, and BorrowDirect consortium members, for example) are currently exploring and even starting to implement new models of cooperation. We also took time to map the collecting areas within each institution that have or are likely to be adversely affected by budget cuts. The idea was that by identifying those areas and sharing the information, the consortium would be better prepared to coordinate future decisions about collection development priorities and directions.

We also discussed the impact that electronic books might have on our Latin American and Iberian collections, and how could those fit into new models ofcooperative collection development. It was fascinating to hear how some libraries are beginning to incorporate e-book collections in different ways. Some, for example, are encouraging and financially supporting emerging ventures in this area, hoping that their support will be an incentive for the development of better digital products in the near future. Other libraries are proceeding more cautiously and are concerned about costs aswell as about the effect that the trend might have on the future quality of their collections. Interestingly, what did not seem to be possible to answer at this point in time was whether e-books would represent a replacement or a supplement of print.

Additionally, we learned about the 'Cloud Library' pilot project currently being conducted by New York University and OCLC Research. The objective of the project is to explore the cost-effectiveness of sourcing a significant proportion of NYU's local collection through the combination of large scale digital repositories and off site, shared print repositories. We also heard about the impact that the recent study released by Ithaka S+R, "What to Withdraw? Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization" (available at http://bibpurl.oclc.org/web/37738) ishaving in some libraries.

I describe the nature of these discussions to the broader SALALM community because the topics are tremendously relevant to the 2010 conference theme and I would like to encourage members to propose papers, presentations and/or workshops that relate to them. Something that became immediately apparent during our discussions was that more data and analysis are necessary to implement new cooperative collection development models that can both, sustain future research and teaching, and preserve the scholarly record. If SALALM, through its committees and its individual members can help to generate some of the data and the analysis that is relevant to Latin American Studies scholarship, the organization would possibly be making a very important contribution to the field.

Fernando Acosta-Rodriguez
Princeton University Library

No comments:

Post a Comment