Princeton University Library expands catalog by 5 million records

Posted: Monday, 25 September 2017 - 4:35pm

ReCAP storage facility

An extraordinary expansion of searchable content is now available on Princeton University Library’s catalog.  Five million new records have been added through the launch of a Shared Collection Service developed by the partners of ReCAP (the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium), a collections preservation facility jointly owned and operated by Princeton, Columbia University, and the New York Public Library.

Starting this September, Princeton’s patrons will be able to search Princeton's library catalog and seamlessly discover and request items from Columbia and NYPL’s ReCAP holdings in addition to Princeton’s own holdings. The launch of the Shared Collection Service is the culmination of a cooperative initiative to integrate the records of borrowable portions of the partners’ collections, stored separately at ReCAP. The three institutions worked togethter to develop a shared software system that allows for up-to-the-minute live information on the availability of ReCAP holdings. Funding for this project was made possible through a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Integrated shared discovery and request systems are a growing trend in academic libraries services. “This is the wave of the future,” said David Magier, Associate University Librarian for Collection Development at Princeton University Library. “Access to these integrated records adds a powerhouse of content to support our researchers and scholars.”

As a member of the Ivy Plus Libraries, Princeton has been central to discussions as to how to “collectively collect” with its peer institutions. These strategies, which require concerted communications between institutional subject experts, allow for the reduction of redundancies, cost savings and a greater expansion of the richness and uniqueness of collections.

Sharing resources is one of the many ways in which academic libraries are transforming to meet the research needs of today’s scholars. Commenting on the launch, Anne Jarvis, Robert H. Taylor 1930 University Librarian, said, “The launch of the ReCAP Shared Collection Service is just the beginning of what’s possible for Princeton and our peer institutions when we work collaboratively to share our diverse and distinctive collections. This kind of innovative cross-institution library initiative is what allows us to remain at the forefront of meaningful content expansion.”

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A note for Princeton University Library patrons:

The five million new records will be accessible through the Library’s “New Catalog.” The catalog titled “Main Catalog” will not include these titles. This 20-year-old catalog will be retired in late January 2018, allowing for a consolidation and streamlining of online search services.  By the start of the spring 2018 semester, PUL will offer a single Catalog.

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Above image: ReCAP storage facility, Forrestal Campus, Princeton University

Contact: Barbara Valenza, Communications Manager