Volume 26, Number 3, Fall 2004

ASERL Launches New Concept for Virtual Storage

John Burger

The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) recently took preliminary steps in creating the nation’s first regional virtual storage system among research libraries. The project, which has not yet been named, would result in a new level of cooperation among libraries and could pave the way for future collaboration on collection development issues.

“The excitement level about this concept is extremely high; my ASERL colleagues and I are eager to do what we can to make this vision a reality,” commented Paul Gherman, University Librarian at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and leader of the project’s development team. The first phase of the project is an accounting of overlapping monograph titles held in remote storage by the participating libraries. OCLC is conducting the study on behalf of ASERL; results will be released at a project summit on October 5 in Nashville. Additional developmental tasks will depend on the study results.

“If we can make this storage system work among our consortium, I have hopes that similar regional storage centers will be created around the country. And with that in place, perhaps we can make some real gains one day in large-scale cooperative collection development,” added Gherman.

Founded in 1956, ASERL is the largest regional academic library cooperative in the country, with thrity-seven research libraries and six state libraries. Among many programs, ASERL offers a shared catalog system, competency guidelines for research librarians, and delivery services for interlibrary loan materials to member libraries. ASERL played a key role in founding the Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET) and established SOLINET’s cooperative database licensing program, which today is one of the largest of its kind in the country.

For information about ASERL’s programs, please visit www.aserl.org or contact John Burger.