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Library Buildings and the Building of a Collaborative Research Collection at the Tri-College Library Consortium

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Report to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Judy Luther, Linda Bills, Amy McColl, Norm Medeiros, Amy Morrison, Eric Pumroy, and Peggy Seiden
April 2003


Copyright 2003 by the Council on Library and Information Resources. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transcribed in any form without permission of the publisher. Requests for reproduction should be submitted to the Director of Communications at the Council on Library and Information Resources.

About the Authors


Executive Summary

I. Overview

II. Collection Assessment

III.Trends in Electronic Publishing

IV. Understanding Student and Faculty Use

V. Space Planning Options

VI. Exploring New Models

VII.Appendixes [links to]

  1. Grant Proposal to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  2. Focus Group Questions for Faculty and Students
  3. Examples from the FileMaker Database of Tri-College Collection Statistics
  4. Report of R2 Consulting Services
  5. Report of October Ivins and Marilyn Geller on E-Journals and report appendixes:
    • Publisher Surveys: List of Participants
    • Publisher Survey: Cover Letter
    • Review of Mellon Digital Preservation Planning Projects for E-journals
    • Advice to Librarians from Publishers
    • Selected References



About the Authors

Judy Luther is president of Informed Strategies, a consulting company in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Before founding Informed Strategies, she was Director of North American Sales for the Institute for Scientific Information and worked for the Faxon Company in sales and product development. Her library experience includes serving as the Library Director at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Documents Librarian at Stetson University. Author of the White Paper on Electronic Journal Usage Statistics, published by CLIR in 2000, she serves on the Board of The Charleston Advisor, where she is a frequent contributor, and on the Board of UKSG Serials. Her articles on electronic publishing issues appear in Against the Grain, Information Today, and Smart Libraries (formerly Library Systems Newsletter).

Linda Bills is the Special Projects Librarian for the Tri-College Consortium. As a joint employee of the Colleges, she collaborates with librarians and computing staff on projects ranging from digital asset management to the replacement of the ILL system. Before September 2001, Ms. Bills was the Consortium Automation Coordinator, responsible for managing the ILS and other shared systems, and for promoting cooperative projects. Linda attended the 2000 Frye Institute. She has recently coauthored articles on "Managing Administrative Metadata" (Library Resources and Technical Services) and "Subject Web Page Management without HTML Coding" (Information Technology and Libraries)

Amy M. McColl is the Assistant Head of Technical Services for Monographs, Special Collections, and Preservation at Swarthmore College. She is also responsible for coordinating collection development activities in the library and represents Swarthmore in the Tri-College Consortium Collection Managers group. Ms. McColl was previously employed at the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries, and the University of Pennsylvania Biddle Law Library. Her publications include the NACO Participants' Manual (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, Cataloging Distribution Service, 1994).

Norm Medeiros is Coordinator for Bibliographic and Digital Services at Haverford College. He oversees acquisitions, cataloging, and serials processes, coordinates the library's digital initiatives, and serves as economics bibliographer. His research interests include electronic resource management, metadata harvesting, and the changing role of technical services administrators. He authors a column in the quarterly journal OCLC Systems & Services, chairs the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) Cataloging and Classification Section (CCS) Policy and Research Committee, and was a presenter at the recent Association of College and Research Libraries' National Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. His most recent publication, "Managing Administrative Metadata," coauthored with four Tri-College colleagues, appears in the January 2003 issue of Library Resources & Technical Services.

Amy Morrison, Associate College Librarian at Swarthmore College, focuses on issues relating to physical space in libraries, collection management and assessment, and Special Collections. She is involved in Tri-College cooperative activities in staff development and collection management. She has attended the Higher Education Resources Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education.

Eric Pumroy, Director of Library Collections and Seymour Adelman Head of Special Collections in the Bryn Mawr College Library, is responsible for coordinating the library's collection development activities. He also serves on the Directors' Advisory Board for the Tri-College Consortium and is involved in Tri-College cooperative activities in collection development and digital collections. Before coming to Bryn Mawr in 1999 he was Director of Programs and the Library at the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in Philadelphia.

Peggy Seiden has beenÊCollege Librarian at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania since 1998. Previously, she held the same position at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. She serves on the American Library Association Council and on the Board of the Research Libraries Group. Her most recent publication, which she coauthored with other members of this grant project group, is "Should Three College Collections Add Up to One Research Collection? A Study of Collaborative Collection Development at Three Undergraduate Colleges," forthcoming in Resource Sharing and Information Networks.


This report has value to institutions of higher education far beyond the three colleges that compiled it. The conditions their libraries face—rising costs and dwindling space—confront many colleges and universities. The findings of their investigations into several subjects—electronic publishing trends, the needs and behaviors of library users, options for saving money on space and acquisitions—have relevance to multiple institutions. And solutions the Tri-College Consortium is considering—collaborative collecting, weeding, and storing—have wide potential applicability. So do the likely obstacles that this report identifies.

But beyond the practical value of the report, it stimulates thinking about the future of academic libraries overall—or more precisely, about the future of scholarly resource acquisition, preservation, and accessibility. Academe as a whole is facing a shortage of resources for storing and providing access to the materials on which scholarship and teaching depend. Librarians in general are struggling to understand and meet needs for both traditional and electronic resources. And given the demonstrated convenience, potential ubiquity, creative transmutability, and increasing demand for the latter, it seems clear that we must massively digitize library collections, not just in the hope of ultimately saving money, but to realize technology's potential for transporting the world's libraries to anyone, anywhere, with a computer. As this report suggests, collaborations among our institutions as well as among librarians, publishers, faculty members, and information technologists within them are absolutely essential.

To me, this modest report takes a substantial step toward determining what really is possible in that vision and how it could be approached. If Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore expand their collaboration by attempting to implement this report's suggestions, they may be pioneering for us all. I hope readers will use this report to consider possibilities for their own institutions, and to consider the future of cultural resource development as a whole.

Deanna B. Marcum
President, CLIR

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