Center for Library Initiative’s Shared Print Repository Holds Three Miles of Journals (So You Don’t Have To)

Center for Library Initiative’s Shared Print Repository Holds Three Miles of Journals (So You Don’t Have To)

Center for Library Initiative’s Shared Print Repository Holds Three Miles of Journals (So You Don’t Have To)

Aug 13, 2014, 10:05 AM

There are many, many articles predicting the death of the printed book as we rely increasingly on electronic access to information. Whatever the future of the book may be, libraries can definitively agree that history was bound in print. A lot of print.

CIC libraries together hold some 113 million items, making one of the largest collective collections in the library world. And while that means scholars have access to tons of information, it also means libraries have to house and maintain literal tons of volumes. Library collections continue to grow, despite all constraints of construction and real estate. And as students, faculty, and researchers turn increasingly to digital access to resources and dependence on collaborative library information and instruction services and work spaces, many libraries are left reevaluating how best to use their valuable campus space to serve users.

High-density book storageThe CIC’s Shared Print Repository (CIC-SPR) is one way libraries can maintain a commitment to keeping resources available while also freeing up desirable space in central campus buildings. A program of the CIC’s Center for Library Initiatives, the CIC-SPR is committed to providing print access to a shared collection of journal backfile volumes to member institutions. The first phase of this initiative is now underway, with plans for securing 250,000 volumes over five years.

The CIC-SPR stores collocated shared print volumes supplied by member libraries in a centralized storage facility. The collection includes a single print copy of widely held, seldom-used print volumes, with access assured to all fifteen CIC members and their campus affiliates. Currently some 95,000 volumes are aggregated in the host site at Indiana University, including titles supplied by Ohio State University and the University of Michigan as well as Indiana’s own contributions. Ohio State has also supplied thousands of volumes intended to fill in gaps in incomplete holdings; as other participating libraries follow suit, the CIC-SPR will compile complete runs of legacy titles. These libraries retain ownership of all items supplied to the joint collection, ensuring long-term stability and collaboration.

In the next year we will build the collection of journal backfiles, increasing the number of volumes in the repository and the number of schools providing content. The working groups and governance committees that guide the project are continuing to evaluate suitable materials for collection. Member libraries are working to help support each other in the logistical challenges of making the content known to library staff and to library patrons. And we are continuing to look for more efficient ways to analyze and compare the collections of such a large multi-institutional collection.

The 95,000 volumes we’ve retained so far amount to an estimated 15,833 feet of shelf space. That’s three miles of volumes committed to shared availability. With the CIC-SPR to provide reliable access for older items, libraries may be able to reduce duplication in their own collections, increasing space for instructional spaces and computers and collaborative services. Or even for more print volumes—as long as the printed book isn’t dead by then.

More information, including policies and recent updates, can be found