Thursday, February 14, 2013


In last week's post about the PAN Forum at ALA Midwinter, I described what I understood to be the origins of the group. It turns out that there is more to the story. Prompted by a message from Jim Michalko in the OCLC Research, I looked a little further back. Good people have been plowing the fields of shared print for even longer than I had realized. So let's give credit where credit is due. A good place to start: the North American Storage Trust (NAST).

Take a look at this useful brief history of the NAST project. It is clear that ASERL (Association of Southeastern Research Libraries), in an initiative led by Paul Gherman (Vanderbilt), and Paul Willis (University of Kentucky) began grappling with these issues back in 1999. Significant data comparisons were done in 2003 and 2004, accompanied by early discussions of "shared virtual storage" and related strategies. ASERL, OCLC Research, and RLG all played major roles in this important work. Policy frameworks and data requirements for large-scale shared print were developed and reported in 2007. This groundwork continues to benefit all of us now working in this space.

Interestingly, meetings tied to ALA conferences were also occurring around this work, and in many ways these are the real antecedents to PAN. Among the invitees in a December 2006 email are some of the same people who continue to make major contributions to shared print efforts today:
And others, including people from JSTOR, OCLC, Harvard, the Library of Congress, and the University of California system. These few, along with some of their colleagues, recognized early on the need to think collaboratively about our print collections. As a community, we owe them a vote of thanks.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Pipes of PAN

The estimable Mr. Kieft
The Print Archive Network (PAN) Forum began in 2007 as an informal meeting of a few people interested in the fate of print collections in a digital age. Conceived by Bob Kieft, College Librarian at Occidental College and a long-time writer and speaker on shared print monographs, PAN meetings were initially supported by LYRASIS and subsequently by the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). Bob's idea has clearly struck a chord among academic libraries. The PAN meetings, customarily held on the Friday morning before each ALA and still chaired by the estimable Mr. Kieft, have grown steadily in attendance and agenda.

In Seattle two weeks ago, 70-80 people attended a 3-hour session that called to mind some new type of Big Heads meeting. There were even round-robin reports distributed in advance by ASERL, University of California's Shared Print program, University of Florida/FLARE, Maine Shared Collection Strategy, Connect New York, and others. A compilation of these reports and a selection of presentations are available at the PAN website, hosted by CRL. They are well worth some time for anyone interested in shared print activities. A few highlights follow.

This meeting's theme was 'Data & Tools for Print Archiving' and included presentations from:
  • COPPUL (Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries), a group of 20 Canadian libraries working on shared print under a 'light governance agreement.' The group initially focused on 1,700 low-risk journal titles to build trust and develop techniques.
  • GWLA (Greater Western Library Alliance), with 33 members (mostly ARLs) is looking to develop a batch approach to identifying, sharing, and carefully reducing some of its 90 million combined volumes.
  • California State University (represented by Rick Lugg of SCS, CSU's vendor partner for collection analysis) reported on its 'Libraries of the Future' Task Force, a Chancellor's Office initiative looking at (among other things) system-wide management of print collections.  The first phase of data analysis, which involved 6 libraries and 3.7 million monograph records, was completed in October and is being reviewed.
  • OCLC's Kathryn Harnish brought the group up to date on plans for a new version of WorldCat Collection Analysis, with a focus on 'machine access to pre-processed comparison data.'
  • SCELC (Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium) has begun a shared print preservation project involving 57 libraries and 2.2 million book records.SCELC plans to host and manage the data on behalf of its members.
  • ASERL (Association of Southeastern Research Libraries), working with the University of Florida, has developed two tools for managing tangible Government Document collections: a Disposition Database and a Gap Analysis tool. Both are open-source and available to other libraries.
  • Lizanne Payne, on behalf of OCLC, CDL, and WEST, described progress on metadata guidelines for print archiving, and in particular the use of the MARC 583 Action Note. All libraries in print archiving programs are encouraged (at minimum) to use this field to communicate retention commitments.
  • CRL (Center for Research Libraries) highlighted the need to review archived journal issues for completeness and condition, and demonstrated the high level of detail needed to resolve inconsistencies in holdings records and to perform issue-level validation. The CRLJSTOR Print Archive Tool was also demonstrated. Print archiving tools need to be developed for mobile platforms.
  • CIC (Committee on Insitutional Cooperation) reported on its journals and Government Documents initiatives. They also plan to begin work on monographs, beginning with Ohio State, using the OCLC 'mega-regions' analysis as a framework.
We really are an acronym-happy lot, aren't we? Regardless, when next the pipes are calling, follow where they go ;-).