UK Distributed Print Book Collection (Parallel Paper)

25th May 202310:55Harbour Suite 5


Research Libraries UK (RLUK) is a consortium of 39 research libraries in the UK and Ireland, with a number of networks and working groups including the Collections Strategy Network (CSN).

In May 2022 the RLUK Board of Directors endorsed the CSN’s vision for a UK Distributed Print Book Collection (UKDPBC) as part of the ‘Collective Collections’ strand of the RLUK ‘Transforming Libraries’ strategy. It is envisaged that this shared print collection will extend beyond RLUK libraries with SCONUL libraries, national libraries, special libraries and Jisc all playing a role. The UKDPBC builds on previous work relating to collective collections, including the successful UKRR service.

The UKDPBC will support sustainable collection management through ensuring preservation of, and access to, shared print book holdings in the UK for current and future users. The UKDPBC will enable individual libraries to reduce their own print collections through strategic decision-making, with the positive environmental impact of reducing the size of local collections stores, and without the risk of limiting access to print book content. 

We are planning to begin the process to implement the UKDPBC in 2023, with the distributed collection managed through the use of retention statements added to metadata records uploaded to the National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK). The NBK includes records created from the holdings of 141,426,076 records contributed by 190 institutions, with holdings discoverable through Jisc Library Hub Discover. It is envisaged that individual libraries will add retention statements as local collections analysis and projects are carried out. We are also working with Jisc to analyse NBK data to identify potential ‘last copies’ of titles to proactively ensure sustainable access to at risk content.

We are excited about the role of the UKDPBC in supporting sustainable collection management and access to library resources.