Monographs and Shared Storage

You wait for ages and then, suddenly, monographs are everywhere!

In the past week there’s been:

The monograph really does seem to be having its moment in the spotlight.

But that’s not all. I also spotted two stories about collaborative shared storage and deposit services.

Both are from the US and the first is entitled: Winning the Space Race and describes the inexorable decline in library shelf space and the shared depositories that are emerging as a result. It highlights that the depositories are no longer just used for legacy collections of low use materials, but

 In the age of learning commons and makerspaces, many of them now find that high-density shelving can no longer be restricted to older or less-used materials. Some send substantial numbers of newly acquired volumes directly to an offsite facility, often because they are relatively arcane materials that are still of value to the research collection.

The second story came via Twitter

“The Five College Consortium will soon begin construction of a 2.5-million-volume library annex”

— lorcan dempsey (@lorcanD) October 3, 2014

This announcement describes the Five College Consortium’s plans in the US to begin construction of a 2.5-million-volume library annex that will provide shelving to supplement the capacities of the on-campus libraries.

These are interesting in the context of the monograph strategy.

While space was one of the priority challenges institutions highlighted, the answers proposed tended not to focus on building more local or shared space and/or storage.

While space was a problem, more space wasn’t necessarily seen as the solution. 

Instead, much of the focus was on the ability to use data to enable institutions and their libraries to make more informed local decisions locally.

The storage effectively gets spread across the libraries themselves.

The ideas from NMS were focused more on developing a national collection – and strategy – which could help alleviate some of the pressure locally, while building a national research collection.

Of course, access still has to be provided to the books that are held in other libraries. And additional space may be needed.

But, the community didn’t start at space.  It doesn’t see space as the only answer, or more space, or more… and more.

Monographs Knowledgebase


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