Collective Collections: Advantages & Challenges
Collective collections represent the amalgamation of library holdings across different institutions, functioning as a unified resource. These collections are increasingly crucial in a networked environment where collaboration and shared access are vital. They embody a strategic shift from localized, independent collections to a more systemic approach to collection management. Below is an outline of the principal characteristics, advantages, and challenges in assembling collective collections, with specific attention to the Big Collection work with the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA):
Scale and Scope:
- Encompasses materials from multiple libraries, creating a vast and diverse repository that surpasses the capacity of individual institutions.
- The scale affects the redundancy and uniqueness of holdings, with the potential for both horizontal (variety of subjects) and vertical (depth within subjects) growth.
Redundancy and Rarity:
Increased Access and Efficiency:
Preservation of Scholarly Record:
Strategic Collection Development:
Support for Digital Transition:
Coordination and Governance:
Data Integration and Quality:
Balancing Local and Collective Needs:
Sustaining Financial Models:
Cultural and Institutional Hurdles:
The Big Collection work with BTAA illustrates many of these characteristics, advantages, and challenges. The BTAA initiative focuses on creating a shared infrastructure for the management of print collections, enhancing resource sharing, and ensuring the preservation of the scholarly record. It exemplifies a strategic and system-wide approach to library collections, emphasizing the need for scale, collaborative stewardship, and the efficient use of space and resources. However, it also faces challenges such as coordinating policies across member institutions, balancing local autonomy with collective benefits, and establishing a sustainable financial model for the long-term.