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CONTACT: Diane Manuel, News Service (650) 725-1945;

Stanford signs agreement with two other university libraries

Librarians at Stanford University, the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Texas at Austin have signed an initiative and agreement to foster regional cooperation in the areas of collections, services and digital projects.

The new Research Library Cooperative Program makes it possible for all three institutions to offer significantly expanded coverage of Latin American monographic and serial output of interest to research libraries in North America.

"This agreement will produce results of consequence because of the similar intensities of programs in the libraries of Berkeley, Stanford and Texas/Austin and because of our commitment in common to build a deeper, richer collection parsed among the three institutions than any one of the three could build alone," said Michael A. Keller, university librarian at Stanford.

The first step will be the allocation of collection responsibilities for Mexico in particular and Latin America in general, with each institution assuming responsibility for a specific geographical and/or subject area. The agreement also makes the circulating collections and some special collection materials of all three institutions available to faculty, graduate students and academic staff through an expedited document delivery program and on-site visits.

Collection specialists in other subject areas also will explore the possibilities of developing cooperative agreements for their respective areas.

There are several innovative aspects of the program. One is an agreement by the participants to continue funding levels or to give adequate notice should significant reductions in funding become necessary. In the past, similar collaborations were founded only on good will; this agreement has performance specifications. Another innovation is an explicit commitment to bringing in institutional partners from Latin America not just for cooperative collection building and access, but for digitizing and electronic publishing programs. These three institutions are committed to fuller relationships with like-minded universities in Latin America.

Harold Billings, director of general libraries at the University of Texas at Austin, said he was "particularly excited to see this as the first thrust toward a broader initiative among our libraries that includes other area studies programs that our institutions share in common."

"I am also interested in the prospective remote sharing of human expertise, in addition to collections and other information sources. This will be an especially viable concept to test in the Latin American cooperative effort, already firmly based on digital library foundations," Billings said.

Peter Lyman, university librarian at University of California-Berkeley, said the agreement "initiates a new level of institutional cooperation among research libraries, enabling the three institutions to control collection costs yet at the same time to provide unprecedented new depths of information to our students and scholars."

Lyman said the agreement will allow Berkeley's Bancroft Library to focus its collecting "on those areas of Mexico in which it is already strong, while maintaining access to other areas of Latin American literature through the complementary collecting efforts of our partner institutions."

Bibliographers, inter-library loan and circulation staff at each institution are moving quickly to implement the program. The Statement of Principles of the Research Library Cooperative Program will be available on the web ( as will the common collection development policy document.


By Diane Manuel

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