Reorganizing the Research Library: a system-wide perspective

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Presentation at the University of Pittsburgh, January 2011.

Presentation at the University of Pittsburgh, January 2011.

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  • With that as background, I’d like to offer a prediction about the future of shared print, and that’s our attention will begin to shift to pooled management of the retrospective print book collection. With this shift, I think we will see the emergence of a relatively small number of larger service hubs providing just-in-time delivery and longterm preservation services on a subscription basis. Individual academic libraries will contract with those service providers because they offer a cost efficient alternative to local operations and more importantly because they allow the library to redirect its attention and resources to renovating its service portfolio. As a result, I think we will see a progressive rationalization of the systemwide print book collection.I belive mass digitization of retrospective print collections will be a primary driver in this transition, preceding a broader shift to commercial provisioning of e-books.
  • How big is this shift likely to be and on what timeline? Over the last year we have studied the mass digitized book corpus in the context of systemwide print holdings and have found that a substantial part of the average academic library is already substantially duplicated. This scatter chart provide a simple but effective visualization of an important pattern that this project has revealed: that is, that the risks and opportunities associated with moving collection management ‘into the cloud’ are uniformly distributed across the research library community as a whole. [CLICK] This is a picture of the ARL membership (a microcosm of the larger research library community) that shows the level of duplication between individual library collections and the mass digitized book collection in Hathi. Over the course of this project, we have seen the rate of duplication between locally held print and mass digitized books increase steadily and significantly. In June of last year, an average of 20% of monographic titles in an academic library were duplicated in the Hathi repository; today that figure is about 30% (up to 40% for some institutions). [CLICK] In real terms, this means that rate of digital replication is exceeding the pace of growth in monographic acquisitions in most academic institutions. We estimate that the rate of duplication has increased by about 8% per library in the past year. Monographic acquisitions typically grow at about 2% per year in research libraries.A very low standard deviation (variance of ~4%), and across the population very little movement outside this range: 2/3rds of ARL community falls within standard deviation. [CLICK] We project that in a year’s time, many academic libraries are liable to find themselves “underwater,” holding a massive inventory of over-valued assets.Library directors will be called to account and expected to respond to questions about how an increasingly redundant local print collection is serving the educational and research mission of theparent institution. We need to be preparing for a world in which just-in-time, print on demand delivery is an option for a large share of the retrospective book collection.
  • Another major finding of our study is that the mass digitized book corpus is substantially ‘backed up’ in one or more large-scale storage collections. As I mentioned earlier, we have a very incomplete picture of what’s currently in storage, so this figure may actually be quite a bit higher. The figures here are based on just 5 major repositories The important point is that we seem to have the beginnings of what I characterized earlier as a ‘strategic reserve’ of print that could significantly offset the costs of local operations. As you can see here, the proportion has remained relatively stable over the course the past year. As of this month, about 2.5 million of the 3.5 million digitized books in Hathi are also held in one or more of 5 large scale shared print repositories.
  • This is where the rubber meets the road. I mentioned that there has been increased attention to the long-term costs of acquiring and retaining low-use print materials. This is especially true for retrospective print collections that have been digitized. On recent study by the Dean of Libraries at the University of Michigan suggests that it costs about $4.25 per volume per year to store a book on campus, and less than a third as much to manage it off-site. This means that the Pennsylvania State University is currently spending between $750 thousand and $3.7 million dollars each year to retain copies of books that are preserved in the HathiTrust repository. Which Penn State is also paying for. The library is not accountable for these costs – they are not charged to the library budget – but is in some sense responsible for them.
  • This is a model we have used to frame some discussions about library collections and operations in the past. The horizontal axis is a measure of the stewardship or curation efforts that have traditionally been needed to manage these materials in libraries. The vertical axis is a measure of how widely held the materials are in the library system: at the top are resources that are abundant in the library community, at the bottom are materials that relatively rare.In the upper left quadrant are the materials that libraries traditionally purchased and increasingly are leasing. Below that are special collections, rare books and manuscripts. The bottom right includes research outputs and teaching materials. The upper right includes a wide variety of resources found on the Open Web – web sites, discussion lists, blogs etc.Libraries may be interested in all of these areas, but not equally. Traditionally, library acquisitions and operations have focused on the upper left quadrant: published materials in print. Licensed resources were a secondary focus. And, except for research and academic libraries, there was limited attention to managing rare books and manuscripts, instructional course materials, or Web archiving.Increasingly, [click] we have seen this attention shift to licensed electronic materials, which are now more ubiquitous and also require less local management effort.
  • Increasingly, [click] we have seen this attention shift to licensed electronic materials, which are now more ubiquitous and also require less local management effort. At the same time,
  • There are a number of important changes in the academic library environment that we should be paying attention to. First, the shift to reliance on externally sourced, licensed content is accelerating – this is no longer just about e-journals but e-books as well.Secondly, print collections aren’t delivering the value they once did. There is increasing attention to the long term cost burden of acquiring and retaining low-use print books.Finally, special collections are not universally perceived to be a key part of the library’s service mission in higher education. They may contain a few items regarded as treasures by the university, but the acquisition of rare books and manuscripts is rarely viewed, or funded, as a core library function.
  • Here, transition into a story about why academic libraries are beginning to reconfigure their collections and service portfolio.There are three main drivers I want to call out here, though one could certainly point to others. First, there is general agreement that the traditional library value proposition -- acquiring and amassing a comprehensive or substantially representative physical corpus of material for local use – is no longer perceived to be relevant.Second, the nature of the scholarly record has changed and is no longer adequately captured in traditional print and licensed collections. There is increased attention to the need for managing ‘upstream’ research outputs and traditional print operations are viewed as something of a distraction from this.Finally and most importantly for the purposes of our discussion to day is the impact of mass digitisation on the discoverability of and perceived ‘location’ of library collections. Digitized books are no longer regarded as the property of individual libraries but instead considered part of the network.
  • At Penn State, the university libraries have historically been underfunded compared to peers. I was interested to read (in Michael Bezilla’s history of PSU) that, in early 1960s, the library accounted for about 1.4% of the institutional budget. For many years, one could hold that figure up as evidence of the need for increased institutional support of the university libraries. Yet, when we look at aggregate spending on college and university libraries in the US, it would appear that an investment of less than 1.5% of total institutional spending is the norm today. This chart shows that while total institutional investment in higher education has increased dramatically in the past 30 years, proportional spending on academic libraries has been on a steady decline. If this trend continues, we can project that the university allocation to libraries will fall below 1% by about 2013. This has something to do with the increasing costs of educational infrastructure – spending on laboratories and technology has grown much more rapidly than spending on library infrastructure. So while library expenditures have increased each year, they represent a diminishing part of the university’s total spending in support of research, teaching and learning. This is a trend that is driving a certain amount of change in the academic library environment, encouraging a shift to collaborative sourcing of collections and services, increased attention to the return on library investment, and a stern focus on identifying and eliminating operational inefficiencies.Here at Penn State, there has been a tremendous effort to improve and expand the university libraries, supported in recent years by a stunningly effective development campaign and some exceptionally committed individual donors. At the same time, there has been a serious reassessment of traditional library operations – guided by a very thoughtful Strategic Plan – and a reallocation of effort and resources in support of a new vision of library excellence. All of this is very impressive. I want to emphasize, however that the trend toward diminished support for academic libraries is not a new phenomenon and it is not merely a knock-on effect of regional or institutional economic pressures. It is a reflection of much broader changes in the higher education environment, including funding mandates that create incentives for increased institutional attention to science and engineering, a decline in the number of students pursuing advanced degrees in the humanities, and new models of educational provisioning -- including distance learning – that are no longer reliant on locally-sourced collections or infrastructure.
  • In the US, the last five years have been marked by significant growth in for-profit education market, dominated by online universities. These institutions are not reliant on traditional physical infrastructure of the library. Their success is forcing traditional HE institutions to compete for students and to revitalize their institutional reputations. The core library operations associated with print based collections do not have much relevance here. We see the impact of this shift called out in the University’s strategic plan, which acknowledges increased competition for the hearts and minds of the next generation of Penn Staters.
  • Over the same 3 decade period, we’ve seen US academic library spending grow steadily, from just over a billion dollars in the mid ‘70s to about $7 bn in 2008. This is not a reflection of growing library infrastructure – or “new library starts” – since as you can see the total number of academic libraries has remained relatively stable. So, think about this for a moment: in an environment where total higher education spending is increasing both in absolute terms and as a proportion of the US GDP, total investment in academic libraries is declining, yet the academic library system as a whole looks almost unchanged.
  • In the US, a majority of research libraries are already spending more than half of the library materials budget on licensed resources. Print is no longer at the center.Pitt spending 65% of materials budget on e-resources
  • In fact, more and more of it is at the periphery.In the past 25 years, massive growth in off-site library storage infrastructure in the US.
  • So why is so much of the print inventory at major research institutions managed off-site? Why does a work as important and useful as Religion and the Decline of Magic live ‘outside the building’? It’s not a matter of space pressures in academic libraries – as we so often say – but of priorities. As Lorcan remarked yesterday, the time when a large mountain of books signified academic prowess is over. We no longer live in that world.
  • Cf CA, largest US state economy and 8th in the world.(GSP) is about $1.85 trillion, which is 13% of the US GDP
  • As we look to the future, it is clear that the academic library environment as a whole is changing. Here I have plotted projections for the duplication of academic print collections in the HathiTrust Digital Library for a range of academic libraries in the state of Pennsylvania. The blue and violet lines at the top of the stack represent smaller academic institutions . We predict that 50% of their library holdings will be duplicated within the coming year. At research intensive institutions, that watershed moment will occur somewhat later. At top tier institutions like Penn State, it may take another year or two before redundant print inventory begins to look less like an asset and more like a liability. But this change is coming, and we need to plan for it.


  • 1. Reorganizing the Research Library:University of Pittsburgh 26 January 2011 a system-wide perspective Constance Malpas Program Officer, OCLC Research
  • 2. Roadmap • OCLC Research • (Re) organization of the research library • Boundaries and service bundles • Reconfiguring academic collections • System-wide trends: from outside-in to inside-out • The view from here: Pennsylvania in perspective
  • 3. OCLC Research: what we do Supports global cooperative by providing internal data and process analyses to inform enterprise service development (R&D) and deploying collective research capacity to deepen public understanding of the evolving library system Special focus on libraries in research institutions: in US, libraries supporting doctoral-level education account for <20% of academic libraries;>70% of library spending changes in this sector impact library system as a whole; collective preservation and access goals, shared infrastructure, &c.
  • 4. OCLC Research: who we are • ~45 FTE with offices in Ohio, California and the UK • Sponsored by OCLC and a partnership of research libraries around the world that share: • A strong motivation to effect system-wide change • A commitment to collaboration as a means of achieving collective gains • A desire to engage internationally • Senior management ready to provide leadership within the transnational research library community • Deep and rich collections and a mandate to make them accessible • The capacity and the will to contribute
  • 5. Our collaboratorsThen: Now:• ARL set the tone; size • Nimble matters and this is filler institutions, unburdened to adjust spacing by legacy print mandate• Collections of distinction • Distinctive purpose• Doing the same, better • Transforming the portfolio• Change is possible • Change is imperative A new coalition is needed to advance the research library agenda
  • 6. OCLC Research: current portfolios
  • 7. System-wide organization Research theme addresses “big picture” questions about the future of libraries in the network environment; implications for collections, services, institutions embedded in complex networks of collaboration, cooperation and exchange • Characterization of the aggregate library resource Collections, services, user behaviors, institutional profiles • Re-organization of individual libraries in network context Institutions adapting to changes in system-wide organization • Re-organization of the library system in network context „Multi-institutional‟ library framework, collective adaptation
  • 8. Defining characteristics of SO activities • Emphasis on analytic frameworks and heuristic models that characterize (academic) library service environment as a whole • Identifying and interpreting patterns in distribution, character, use and value of library resource; implications for future organization of collections and services • Provides context for decision-making, not prescriptive judgments about a single, best course of action • Shared understanding of how network environment is transforming library organization on micro and macro level
  • 9. Exemplar:Re-organization of the (individual) library • Boundaries of the Academic Library • Application of economic „theory of the firm‟ (Coase) • Transaction costs determine how services are sourced • Framework for thinking about future re-organization of libraries and library services • Organization of economic activity within the library • „Unbundling‟ the library (Singer, Hagel) • A shift in focus from back-office processes, routine workflows to customer relationship management, innovation
  • 10. Boundaries of the Library (Lavoie, Dempsey) “An academic library is a bundle of information-related resources and services that a university has chosen to provide internally, rather than transact for with external parties. A crucial factor in determining which resources and services to provide internally, and which to transact for externally, is the prevailing pattern of transaction costs. . . In this way, the boundaries of the library are established: the demarcation between the information-related services the university chooses to provide internally, and those that it transacts for externally. As the pattern of transaction costs change, so too will the ... boundaries of the library as the optimal mix between internalized and externalized services shifts accordingly.” OCLC NextSpace issue 17 (January 2011)
  • 11. Boundary work at PittExternalization of ‘core business’ operations: From infrastructure to customer relationship management:A new emphasis on innovation and moving ‘into the flow’: Excerpts from C. Gill “Library of the Future” Pitt (Winter 2007)
  • 12. Exemplar:Re-organization of library system • Externalization of print repository function facilitates redirection of institutional resources; new scholarly record • Cloud Library analysis (OCLC, Hathi, NYU, ReCAP) • Case study in de-composition of library service bundle: “cloud sourcing” research collections • Data-mining Hathi and WorldCat to determine where cost- effective reductions in print inventory can be achieved for individual libraries (micro economic context) • Characterizing optimal service profile for shared print/digital service providers; collective market for service (macro economic context) • Exploring social and economic infrastructure requirements; technical infrastructure a separate, secondary challenge
  • 13. Prediction Within the next 5-10 years, focus of shared print archiving and service provision will shift to monographic collections • large scale service hubs will provide low-cost print management on a subscription basis; • reducing local expenditure on print operations, releasing space for new uses and facilitating a redirection of library resources; • enabling rationalization of aggregate print collection and renovation of library service portfolio Mass digitization of retrospective print collections will drive this transition
  • 14. A global change in the library environment 60% Academic print book collection already substantially 50% duplicated in mass digitized book corpus% of Titles in Local Collection June 2010 40% Median duplication: 31% 30% 20% 10% June 2009 Median duplication: 19% 0% 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 Rank in 2008 ARL Investment Index
  • 15. Mass-digitized books in print repositories ~3.5M titles 3,500,000 ~75% of mass digitized corpus is ‘backed up’ in 3,000,000 one or more shared print repositories ~2.5M 2,500,000 Unique Titles 2,000,000 1,500,000 1,000,000 500,000 0 Sep-09 Oct-09 Nov-09 Dec-09 Jan-10 Feb-10 Mar-10 Apr-10 May-10 Jun-10 Mass digitized books in Hathi digital repository Mass digitized books in shared print repositories
  • 16. A third of titles held in Pitt Libraries are duplicated in the HathiTrust Digital Library ~2.67 million Pitt ULS (PIT) holdings in WorldCat 93,275 titles Full View 778,187 Limited View titles ~870K duplicated in HathiTrust Digital LibraryOCLC Research. Analysis based on HathiTrust and WorldCat snapshots. Data current as of December 2010.
  • 17. Subject distribution of Pitt ULS-owned titles duplicated in HathiTrust Digital Library Communicable Diseases & Misc. Unknown Classification Medicine By Body System Health Facilities, Nursing Physical Education & Recreation Agriculture Preclinical Sciences Chemistry Medicine Medicine By Discipline Psychology Health Professions & Public Health Anthropology Computer Science Public domain Geography & Earth Sciences Mathematics In copyright Biological Sciences Performing Arts Physical Sciences Law Music Education Represents approximately Engineering & Technology Library Science, Reference Sociology 10 miles of library shelf space Political Science Art & Architecture Philosophy & Religion Government Documents Business & Economics History & Auxiliary Sciences Language, Linguistics & Literature 0 50,000 100,000 150,000 200,000 250,000 Titles / EditionsOCLC Research. Analysis based on HathiTrust and WorldCat snapshots. Data current as of December 2010.
  • 18. System-wide print distribution of Pitt ULS titles duplicated in HathiTrust Digital Library Market for shared print provision increases Value of Hathi preservation increasesOCLC Research. Analysis based on HathiTrust and WorldCat snapshot data. Data current as of December 2010.
  • 19. Stewardship and sustainability: a pragmatic view Using recent life-cycle adjusted cost model* for library print collections, $4.25 per volume per year --- on campus $ .86 per volume per year -– in high-density storage the University of Pittsburgh is spending between [870K titles * $.86 =] $750K to $3.7M [= 870K titles * $4.25 ] annually to retain local copies of content preserved in the HathiTrust Digital LibraryThe library is not financially accountable for these costs but it is responsible for managing them Paul Courant and M. “Buzzy” Nielson, “On the Cost of Keeping a Book” in The Idea of Order (CLIR, 2010)
  • 20. Collections Grid In many Open Web Purchased materials Licensed E-Resources collections Resources Licensed Purchased High Low Stewardship Stewardship Special Collections In few Research & Learning Materials Local Digitization collectionsCredit: Dempsey, Childress (OCLC Research. 2003)
  • 21. Library attention and investment are shifting In many collections Licensed Less attention Purchased High attention Occasional High Low Stewardship Stewardship Limited Limited Aspirational Intentional In few collections
  • 22. Academic institutions are driving this change In Many Collections Licensed Redirection of library resource Purchased High +5 yrs Low today Stewardship Stewardship Univ. library spend on e-resources in 2008: Total US ARL = $627M US (41% total library exp.) In Few Collections
  • 23. Change in Academic Collections • Shift to licensed electronic content is accelerating Research journals – a well established trend Scholarly monographs – in progress • Print collections delivering less (and less) value at great (and growing) cost Est. $4.25 US per volume per year for on-site collections Library purchasing power decreasing as per-unit cost rises • Special collections marginal to educational mandate at many institutions Costly to manage, not (always) integral to teaching, learning
  • 24. An Equal and Opposite ReactionAs and increasing share of library spending is directedtoward licensed content . . . Pressure on print management costs increasesFewer institutions to uphold preservation mandate Stewardship roles must be reassessed Shared service requirements will change
  • 25. What factors are driving this change? • Erosion of library value proposition in academic sector institutional reputation no longer determined (or even substantially influenced) by scope, scale of local print collection • Changing nature of scholarly record research, teaching and learning embedded in larger social and technological networks; new set of curation challenges for libraries • Format transition; mass digitization of legacy print Web-scale discoverability has fundamentally changed research practices; local collections no longer the center of attention
  • 26. A long term, system-wide trend US Academic Library Expenditures vs. Total Spending on Post-Secondary Education $400,000,000 3.00% $350,000,000 2.50% $300,000,000 2.00% $250,000,000 $200,000,000 1.50% $150,000,000 $6.8 billion in 2008 1.00% $100,000,000 0.50% $50,000,000 $0 0.00% Aggregate US Spending on Post-Secondary Education US Library Operating Exp. as % of Ed. SpendingOCLC Research. Derived from data reported in NCES Digest of Education Statistics: 2008.
  • 27. Shift in provision of higher education Distribution of Post-Secondary Educational Institutions Distribution in Post-Secondary Educational Institutions of the United States by Source of Funding (derived from NCES data) in the United States by Source of Funding 3,000 No. of Institutions 2,500 2,000 For P 1,500 Public 1,000 Privat Distribution of Post-Secondary Educational Institutions 500 in the United States by Source of Funding (derived from NCES data) 0 3,000 No. of Institutions 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 2,500 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 2,000 For Profit 00 1 02 03 04 05 06 07 0 1,500 Public 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 1,000 Private Not-for-ProfitOCLC Research. Derived from data reported in NCES Digest of Education Statistics: 2008. 500 0
  • 28. A limited population, growing economic pressure US Academic Libraries & Operating Expenditures 1977-2008 Operating Expenditures Libraries $8,000,000 4,500 $7,000,000 4,000 3,500 $6,000,000 3,000 $5,000,000 2,500 x 1000 $4,000,000 2,000 $3,000,000 1,500 $2,000,000 1,000 $1,000,000 500 $0 0OCLC Research. Derived from data reported in NCES Digest of Education Statistics: 2008.
  • 29. In US research libraries, a tipping point … 100 Majority of research libraries shifting toward 90 e-centric acquisitions, service model Licensed Content as % of Library Materials $ 80 70 Center of gravity 60 50 40 30 Harvard 20 Yale Shrinking pool of libraries with mission and resources 10 to sustain print preservation as ‘core’ operation 0 $- $5,000,000 $10,000,000 $15,000,000 $20,000,000 $25,000,000 $30,000,000 $35,000,000 $40,000,000 Library Materials Expenditures (2007-2008) OCLC Research. Derived from ARL Annual Statistics, 2007-2008
  • 30. … the books have left the building 140,000,000 In North America, +70M volumes off-site (2007) 120,000,000 ~30-50% of print inventory at many major universitiesBuilt Capacity in Volume Equivalents (2007) 100,000,000 ~25% of Pitt ULS holdings managed in LRF . . . 80,000,000 60,000,000 40,000,000 20,000,000 Growth in library storage infrastructure 0 1982 1986 1987 1992 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Derived from L. Payne (OCLC, 2007)
  • 31. It‟s not about space, but priorities • If the physical proximity of print collections had a demonstrable impact on researcher productivity, no university would hesitate to allocate prime real estate to library stacks • In a world where print was the primary medium of scholarly communication, a large local inventory was a hallmark of academic reputation We no longer live in that world.
  • 32. Pennsylvania • 6th largest economy in the US; 18th in the world • GSP $553 billion in 2008 • 194 academic libraries in 2008 • 5% of all academic libraries in the US • 4 AAU members (PSU, Penn, Pitt, CMU) • Total academic library spending in 2000: $245 million; est. $343 million in 2008, or %.06 of GSP
  • 33. Shrinking public purse Academic Libraries in Pennsylvania by Control & Funding Public Private 250 200 150 71% 81% 100 50 29% 19% 0 2000 2008OCLC Research. Derived from NCES Academic Libraries Surveys, 2000 and 2008 .
  • 34. Diversity of educational mandates Academic Libraries in Pennsylvania Less than 4-year 73 Highest level of degree Bachelors 24 Masters 49 Doctors 48 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80OCLC Research. Derived from NCES Academic Libraries Survey, 2008 .
  • 35. Declining use of print by academic sector Community Colleges Highest degree: Baccalaureate Highest degree: Masters Highest degree: Doctoral All academic libraries 35 Keep your eyes on the base . . . 30 25 20Axis Title 15 10 5 0 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000OCLC Research. Derived from NCES Academic Libraries Surveys, 1992-2000.
  • 36. Academic libraries in the Keystone State: a common trajectory, different timelines The next few years are critical Jul „11 Nov „11 Aug ‟12 Aug ‟13 * * * *OCLC Research. Projection based on HathiTrust and WorldCat snapshot data, Jun 2009 – Dec 2010.
  • 37. Academic print: it‟s not the end . . . but it’s no longer the means Ongoing redefinition of scholarly function and value of print will entail some loss and some gain in library relevance“Archive of the available past” photograph by Joguldi. Abandoned books at the Detroit Central School Book Depository (6 May 2009) Flickr
  • 38. Thanks for your attention. Comments, Questions? Constance Malpas