sharing information like consortial purchasing, collaborative remote storage, and collaborative
purchasing have emerged. We have a challenge in how we measure such concepts.
Key aspects of collaborative relations may be described only in qualitative terms in the future.
For example, in the recently published commemorative volume of ARL’s 75th anniversary, Celebrating
Research, the editors include library overviews and profiles for the rare and special collections available
for use in research libraries.15 The ARL Statistics and Assessment Committee members are moving
forward with the challenge of constructing profiles for entire research libraries and rendering them as
succinct descriptions that will be analyzed to determine the elements of standardized ways for
measuring research libraries in both qualitative and quantitative terms.
The complexity of research libraries in the digital future is hard for us to capture in the
beginning of the 21st century. We seek to define new ways for describing research libraries that will have
the enduring value that has historically characterized the ARL Statistics.
Philip N. Cronenwett, Kevin Osborn, Samuel A. Streit, eds., Celebrating Research: Rare and Special Collections from the
Membership of the Association of Research Libraries (Washington DC: ARL, 2007), http://www.celebratingresearch.org/.