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Sharing digital resources in the cloud is feasible, says report

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‘There is sufficient material in the mass-digitised library collection managed by the HathiTrust to duplicate a sizeable (and growing) portion of virtually any academic library in the United States,’ concludes a new report into the feasibility of outsourcing management of low-use print books held in academic libraries to shared service providers.

The report found that there is adequate duplication between the shared digital repository and large-scale print storage facilities to enable a great number of academic libraries to reconsider their local print management operations. It also found that a relatively small number of potential shared print providers, including the US Library of Congress, was sufficient to achieve more than 70 per cent coverage of the digitised book collection and that substantial library space savings and cost avoidance could be achieved if academic institutions outsourced management of redundant low-use inventory to shared service providers.

The year-long study was designed and executed by OCLC Research, the HathiTrust, New York University's Elmer Bobst Library, and the Research Collections Access & Preservation consortium, with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.