UC Libraries Next-Generation Technical Services


Shared Collection Services: 4 Success Factors

The NGTS Power of Three (POT) group 6 is charged with developing system-wide models for collection services operations. To do so, and as part of its initial phase of identifying and implementing pilot projects for such operations, the POT formed a Lightning Team to gather information on shared technical services arrangements involving multiple UC campuses as well as on noteworthy examples of similar arrangements outside of UC.

Xiaoli Li from UC Davis, who served as convener of the Lightning Team, James Soe Nyun (UCSD), and Manuel Urrizola (UC Riverside) identified a total of thirty-nine examples of such arrangements and then conducted phone interviews with key contacts from about half of them (listed below). They gathered information on the scope of the projects undertaken, project planning and operations, and overall evaluation—the project’s strengths and weaknesses, and whether or not it was deemed successful.

Based on their interviews, the Lightning Team concluded that success of a service depends on attention to these critical factors:

  • planning
  • communication
  • funding
  • management

Sufficient planning early on is often key to a successful shared service; lack of planning usually led to pitfalls and hurdles to overcome.

Timely communication kept providers and recipients of shared services on the same page and helped to clarify reporting mechanisms; lack of communication slowed down services or brought the service to a halt.

Stable funding is necessary to the viability of any shared service, especially ongoing services; many of the shared services lacked stable funding.

Ultimately, the successful management of a shared service depends on supportive library administrations—not just economic support, but moral, cultural, and political support as well.

These success factors are neither surprising nor groundbreaking: they are bread-and-butter to the success of any project or undertaking. For shared services in particular, however, where multiple boundaries (of time, place, culture, institution, among others) must be traversed, it is essential that all involved realize and actively commit attention to these four aspects.


The Lightning Team conducted interviews for these shared services projects:


UC CONSER Funnel Project (Status: Ongoing)

  • A UC-wide cooperative agreement that facilitates contributions to the national CONSER database for institutions that are not full CONSER members.

Music CD copy cataloging: UCSD for UCSB (Status: Ongoing)

  • Catalogers at San Diego copy catalog compact discs for Santa Barbara.

Thai language cataloging: UCR for UCB and UCSB (Status: Ongoing)

  • One cataloger at Riverside provides regular cataloging of Thai language materials for Santa Barbara and Berkeley.

German language monograph cataloging: UCB for UCSD (Status: On Hold)

  • One cataloger at Berkeley cataloged German monographs for San Diego.

Electronic California documents cataloging pilot: CAMCIG initiative (Status: On Hold)

  • Five campuses performed original cataloging for documents issued by 28 California agencies; cataloging records were harvested and distributed by the Shared Cataloging Program (SCP).

Elsevier/ACM pilot: UCSD and UCLA cataloging for the ten campuses (Status: Concluded)

  • A large planning effort in 2002-3 developed workflows to process single print items received in conjunction with CDL license agreements for Elsevier journals and various physical formats for ACM Print Archive monographs. UCLA did Elsevier and UCSD did ACM titles as part of the pilot to compare the cataloging experiences at different institutions and to compare the effectiveness of cataloging at a more distant institution that didn’t have the same integrated library system (ILS) as the Southern Regional Library Facility (SRLF).


Management of UC shared print journal archives (Status: Ongoing)

  • UCLA maintains cataloging records, checks in, and processes issues of single copy of shared print journals acquired as a Tier 1 resource. Licensing arrangements include that this copy will be provided.

Management of Springer e-books shared print copies (Status: Ongoing)

  • Merced receives, processes and houses shelf-ready print versions of Tier 1 Springer e-books on behalf of UC. Springer finances shelf-ready physical processing through YBP while Merced covers incidental local processing costs. Processing mirrors local workflows and is totally successful.

SILDRN [San Diego and Imperial County Libraries Disaster Recovery Network] (Status: Ongoing)

  • In the area of disaster preparedness, UC San Diego is the lead institution in the 16 member organization. This group maintains a mutual aid agreement in case of disasters affecting library and museum collections, as well as commonly accessible and maintained caches of emergency response supplies.

Preservation microfilming service: UCB for UCD (paid) (Status: Ongoing)

  • In this ongoing arrangement Berkeley provides preservation microfilming services to Davis for various serials including Sacramento newspapers and journals focusing on viticulture and enology.

Preservation imaging service: SRLF for southern campuses (Status: Ongoing)

  • Begun as a microfilming service for the southern campuses, SRLF now has broadened its offerings to include digitization. Current workload focuses on newspapers and dissertations, and list of customers includes some non-UC institutions.

Digital preservation for the UCSD Libraries’ Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) content (Status: Ongoing)

  • The preservation of DAMS contents is realized through a partnership with the San Diego Super Computer Center’s Chronopolis Digital Preservation Repository. Chronopolis is a large, grant-funded project to explore distributed backup strategies for digital assets; resulting strategy was then used for library’s DAMS.

UCLA Conservation Lab repairs damaged items for UCSB (Status: Concluded)

Digitizing special collections: UCM for UCSF (Status: Concluded)

  • A fee-for-service project where Merced digitized approximately 200 cholera-related pamphlets for San Francisco.

California Audio Visual Preservation Project (Status: Concluded)

  • Nineteen institutions participated in this grant-funded project where Berkeley digitized and managed the digitization of audiovisual resources. A second year of the project—with entirely separate funding—is proceeding.

Shared Licensing: UCD negotiates license for several UC campuses (Status: Concluded)

  • All Tier 2s are licensed at the campus leading the Tier 2. Licensing expertise and willingness to undertake this activity varies from campus to campus. The willingness to negotiate on certain license issues varies from campus to campus.

Canadian Literature Project: UCLA and SRLF for the ten campuses (Status: Concluded)

  • Anglophone Canadian materials were acquired and cataloged centrally to avoid duplication and provide access to the materials.


2CUL (Status: Ongoing)

  • Initially supported by a grant ($385,000) from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the libraries at Cornell and Columbia started to collaborate in the following areas: 1) Technical services (acquisitions, cataloging, e-resource management); 2) Collection development/global resources collecting; 3) Technology infrastructure/digital preservation.

Orbis Cascade demand-driven acquisition e-book pilot (Status: Concluded)

  • A successful non-UC project that looked at patron-driven acquisitions over the entire consortium so that the titles could be shared with all members; the pilot is morphing into an ongoing workflow. Used EBL and YBP as vendors. Adjusted trigger to initiate a purchase (to fewer short-term loans). Experienced some issues related to OCLC updating their knowledge base only monthly.

Ohio State University, Columbus Law Library/Main Library Collaborative Cataloging Project (Status: Concluded)

  • The main library contracted out its cataloging services to the law library, a completely different administrative unit; process involved sending some catalogers on-site to the library being served (which was on the same campus).

Orbis Cascade Foreign Language Cataloging Pilot (Status: Concluded)

  • In this non-UC pilot project, six members of the Orbis Cascade Alliance explored centralizing the cataloging of books in Chinese and Japanese at University of Oregon and those in Arabic at University of Washington.