Volume 29, Number 4, Winter 2007

ASERL and CRL to Study Cooperative Digitization Options

The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) has signed a consulting agreement with the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) to study options and formulate recommendations for future cooperative high-volume digitization projects within ASERL.

“ASERL members have debated how we could best work together to contribute to the growing body of scholarly knowledge that is becoming available online,” said Louis Pitschmann, Dean of Libraries at the University of Alabama and president of ASERL's board of directors. “We are fortunate to have an array of models available to us. CRL will share its expertise to help us determine a plan that best fits our members' interests and needs.”

Pitschmann's sentiments were echoed by CRL President Bernie Reilly. “We at CRL are happy to support the efforts of ASERL libraries to make their collections more widely available for research and learning,” said Reilly. “This study will leverage the experience CRL has gained in the last few years in providing digital delivery of its own collections.”

The ASERL-CRL study will focus primarily on digitizing materials not bound by copyright restrictions and working with partners that offer the greatest latitude for openly sharing the materials and ensuring their long-term preservation and access.

For more than 50 years, ASERL libraries have banded together to provide improved services and greater economies of scale on commonly desired products and services than could be achieved individually. John Burger, ASERL's executive director, sees this latest agreement with CRL as a natural extension of ASERL's path. “ASERL and CRL share the same basic philosophies for providing value to members,” Burger said. “We'll team with CRL to formulate a plan that can increase the amount of scholarly information that is available online, that allows costs to be shared equitably among ASERL members, and can greatly improve access to the world-class collections housed within ASERL's member libraries.”