The Challenge: We are living in a complex environment in which information is delivered in both physical and digital formats. Traditional materials co-exist and interrelate with virtual resources. As researchers and students adopt new methods, their expectations of libraries are changing. New formats bring new challenges around collecting, ownership, usage and lending rights, and preservation. The increasing ubiquity of electronic versions raises questions about the need for extensive, duplicate print collections. Users expect born-physical collections spanning millennia to have the same functionality as born-digital materials (and vice versa) as libraries seek to integrate their digital collections with a rationalised physical estate to serve researchers and students more effectively.


Work towards a shared approach to the management of print, manuscript and archive collections across RLUK

  • Compile a comprehensive and accurate view of collections held by RLUK members through further development of collection and item-level metadata
  • Determine a collaborative programme for the joint stewardship of a rationalised and distributed print collection across RLUK members
  • Identify issues around intellectual property rights that impact on the use and re-use of materials for scholarly use.
  • Agree best-practice to allow further collecting collaboration between archives and establish a coordinated strategy for preservation and access to research resources of high value


Campaign for an ethical and effective market for subscribed and purchased material

  • Ensure robust negotiating processes for the purchase of subscribed material to secure best value for the higher education community
  • Establish clarity of ownership and usage rights for licensed content
  • Advance seamless and sustainable national document supply systems
  • Promote good practice in COUNTER-compliant statistics demonstrating the use of electronic materials


Coordinate and rationalise digital collections across RLUK

  • Work with national and international partners to minimise redundancy in digitisation
  • Develop new business models for digitisation, establish criteria for defining digitisation priorities, and identify new funding streams
  • Develop a sustainable model for a coordinated infrastructure to allow for the curation, integration, discovery, presentation and preservation of digital collections
  • Promote the integration of both born-digital collections and digitised material into research and learning
  • Explore the role of digitisation in stewardship


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Top image courtesy of the University of Bristol Library