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219 20 THE CALIFORNIA DIGITAL LIBRARY Gary S. Lawrence The California Digital Library (CDL) was conceived as a strategic component of the tencampus University of California system and its libraries. The CDL is therefore inextricably linked with the University and its ten campus libraries and their governance, budgeting and operations. Rather than operating as a self-contained digital library, the CDL serves the UC system as an essential link between the print and digital worlds – developing and providing access to digital collections and services for the UC system, facilitating systemwide access to the rich print holdings of the campus libraries, and helping to explore the potential synergies between the print and digital environments. To understand the business planning factors that influenced the development and operation of the CDL, then, it is first necessary to say a few words about the University of California and its libraries. The Libraries of the University of California The University of California library system comprises more than 100 libraries on the ten UC campuses supporting the University’s teaching, research and service missions. Collectively, the UC libraries make up one of the largest research/academic libraries in the world, with nearly 36 million volumes in their holdings and significant digital collections. While the University is a single corporate entity, as a practical matter the ten campuses operate as a federated system. As a result, the campus libraries are accountable to their campus Chancellors and are capable of operating largely independently of each other. However, for more than 25 years the UC libraries have chosen to work together to realize a vision in which collections available at any one library are available to the patrons of all. A significant landmark in the University’s collaborative strategy for libraries was a formal comprehensive library plan published in 1977, in which the University made strategic use of emerging technologies, including an online union catalogue known as Melvyl®, support for the automation of circulation and cataloguing operations, and the shared physical infrastructure provided by two regional library facilities for storage of little-used materials (University of California, 1977). These innovations leveraged the libraries’ resources to improve efficiency and service to users while containing costs. The strategic emphasis on multi-campus collaboration, the application of new technology, and expanded University-wide sharing of the information resources within UC library collections has been successful in applying the leverage available to a multi-campus system of strong and distinguished institutions in order to maintain high-quality research collections and services in the face of rising costs and other challenges to traditional library models. BPDG_opmaak_12072010.indd 219 13/07/10 11:51 Gary S. Lawrence 220 Despite these accomplishments, by 1996 the combined and cumulative effects of unfunded inflation in the costs of library materials and growth in enrolments and academic programmes had significantly eroded the quality of collections, problems which were exacerbated by significant cuts to the University budget beginning in 1990‑1991. To respond to these pressures, the Library Planning and Action Initiative (LPAI) was launched in September 1996. The report of its advisory task force, released in March 1998, ushered in a further period of library collaboration, one which has focused on the shared development of digital collections and the further application of technology to enhance library services (University of California, 1998). Specifically, the LPAI made seven recommendations to achieve comprehensive access to scholarly and scientific communication for all members of the University community: “1.  UC should seek innovative and cost-effective means to strengthen resource sharing. 2. UC should establish the California Digital Library. 3.  UC should sustain and develop mechanisms to support campus print collections 4.  UC should seek mutually beneficial collaboration with libraries, museums, other universities and industry. 5.  UC should develop an information infrastructure that supports the needs of faculty and students to disseminate and access scholarly and scientific information in a networked environment. 6.  UC should lead the national effort to transform the process of scholarly and scientific communication. 7.  UC should organize an environment of continuous planning and innovation.” The California Digital Library As one of the seven strategic directions recommended by the LPAI, the CDL joined an existing portfolio of system-wide library services, including the Melvyl Catalog, the regional storage facilities, and expedited intercampus print resource sharing services, as a key element of UC’s long-term strategic approach. From its very beginnings, then, the CDL has operated not solely as an independent library, but as a partner with the ten campus...


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