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.

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