SPEC Kit 324: Collecting Global Resources · 11
Executive Summary
The purpose of this survey was to identify trends,
practices, and challenges in collecting global resources
in North American research libraries at a time of po-
litical and economic change, on the one hand, and of
significant change in scholarly communication and
collection management strategies, on the other.
For this survey, global resources was defined as
print and electronic library materials that are pub-
lished outside the United States and Canada in any
language on any topic. This may include, but is not
limited to, traditional area studies materials, and it is
not limited to resources typically associated with the
field of Global Studies. A global resources librarian was
defined as a librarian working with global resources
as described in this survey.
We consider the term “collecting” widely to in-
clude issues such as collection management/develop-
ment, access, digitization, preservation, and public
Accordingly, to obtain information on these issues,
the survey was organized into several broad sections:
Global Resources Collections (including an overview
of expenditures, collecting trends, sources of funding,
and acquisition strategies), Staff and Organizational
Structure, Preservation Strategies, and Discovery,
Public Service, and Outreach. The following summary
outlines the survey results for each of the sections.
Survey respondents provided a wealth of fascinating
data, which is reflected in the actual survey respons-
es and extensive comments sections. We encourage
interested readers to peruse the responses in more
The survey was conducted between March 7 and
April 8, 2011. Seventy-two respondents at 67 of the 126
ARL member libraries completed the survey for a re-
sponse rate of 53%. Forty-five replies came from public
university libraries, 21 from private university librar-
ies, and one from a government institution. These
institutions are geographically distributed across the
United States and Canada. Not all responding insti-
tutions answered all questions, accounting for the
discrepancies in the number of responses throughout
the survey.
Global Resources Collections
Sixty-four respondents reported that their library
holds significant research collections in at least one
global collecting area. These collections include books,
serials, maps, microforms, audio/visuals, and digi-
tized materials. More than half of these respondents
hold collections relating to Western Europe, Latin
America, East Asia, and Slavic and Eastern Europe.
More than a third hold significant collections on
African, Jewish, South Asian, Islamic, and Middle
Eastern studies.
Print monographs predominate in these historical
collections, followed closely by print and electronic
serials and microforms. Thirty-six respondents (56%)
reported that they have e-books in at least one of their
global collections. E-books for East Asian, Western
European, and Latin American studies were reported
most frequently. E-books for Tibetan, African, South
Asian, Middle East, and Central Eurasian studies are
still developing. More than half of the respondents
(34) reported that they hold or provide access to digi-
tized collections, although both availability and dis-
tribution vary considerably by world area.
Sixty-eight respondents reported that their li-
brary actively collects now in at least one global area.
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