Cornell University Library

Report of the Task Force


Evaluating Cornell's Membership

in The Center for Research Libraries (CRL)

Submitted: 20 January, 2000

Members of the Task Force:

Sarah How, Joseph Luke (until July 1999), Caroline Spicer, Yoram Szekely, Ali Houissa (Chair)


Executive Summary

The Task Force's charge was to evaluate the benefits of Cornell's membership in CRL and offer recommendations as to whether it should be continued. Our report begins by reviewing briefly the history of CRL and Cornell's involvement with it, based on CRL documents, past Cornell Library annual reports and the 1985 study of CRL membership prepared by Marcia Jebb.

Then follows a brief overview of CRL's programs, services and costs. There are basically two categories of membership, determined by size of collection and annual materials expenditures: full (voting) members and associate (non-voting) members. The collections consist mostly of low use materials not widely held elsewhere, with emphasis on long runs of older and foreign serials and newspapers, (many in microform), government documents and foreign dissertations. Access to these collections, either through unlimited borrowing or the opportunity to purchase microfilmed serials at low prices, is the most prominent benefit offered. Another benefit is having a say in what is acquired through the Purchase Proposal and Demand Purchase services. Participation in cooperative Area Studies programs is separate from membership.

The Task Force made concerted efforts to solicit CUL staff opinions. A questionnaire was sent to all public services and collection development staff, followed up by meetings with selection teams and public services groups. The overall picture that emerges from this input is that awareness and utilization of CRL is not universal among the staff, although there are many who do consider its collections in their reference or collection development work. Access to the collection is clearly viewed as the chief benefit of membership. There was strong consensus, shared even by those not regularly utilizing CRL, that Cornell should not cancel its membership, both for service and political considerations. It is likely, however, that because of uneven awareness and utilization, Cornell is not deriving the maximum benefit from its financial investment.

Since borrowing was widely viewed as the chief benefit of membership, the Task Force undertook a close analysis of the data from one year's activity (FY 1997/98). It tabulated them under several categories including type and age of material, length of loan, amount of material borrowed and requestors' academic field. All titles were then searched to determine how many could have been obtained elsewhere. The analysis indicates that CRL loans accounted for only 2% of all borrowing during the year and of that nearly two thirds could probably have been obtained from other libraries. It confirmed the usefulness of CRL's longer loan periods in that nearly three quarters of items were kept for longer than four weeks, but disproved the alleged utility of CRL's willingness to lend larger batches of material in that over 90% of loans consisted of fewer than five pieces.

Based on its information and analysis the Task Force concludes that the Library could move in one of three directions. 1. Renew membership without any action to increase awareness and utilization. This has the advantage of continued access to CRL's collection without additional staff effort, but the disadvantage of continuing to pay the high fee without deriving the maximum benefit from it. 2. Renew membership but with a commitment to more intensive engagement both internally and externally through a number of concrete measures. Advantage is not only continued access to the collection but also more effective and extensive utilization. Disadvantage is continued payment of high fees plus additional direct and/or indirect costs of added activities. 3. Cancel membership. Saving of membership fee is counterbalanced by the serious disadvantage of removal of access to a major collection of proven utility, plus the potential for political fallout.

Balancing all pros and cons the Task Force recommends that option 2 be adopted, but with two provisos. First, that as part of its increased involvement in CRL's governance as envisioned by this option, Cornell propose that CRL examine the feasibility of changing its revenue structure. Second, that membership be reviewed again in three years to assess what progress has been made towards greater awareness and utilization of CRL's services at Cornell and towards CRL's financial restructuring.


I.    Impetus for and Mandate of the Task Force

II.  Background

         A. What is the Center for Research Libraries?

        B. Early History of the Center for Research Libraries

        C. Founding of the Midwest Inter-Library Center (MILC)

        D. Significant Changes since the 1960s

        E. Cornell University and CRL

        F. Membership Categories

III. Membership Benefits and Obligations

        A. CRL Collections

        B. CRL Services

        C. Area Programs

IV. Cornell as a CRL Member and User

        A. Survey of Public Services Staff and Selectors

        B. Views of Public Services Staff

        C. Views of Selectors

                C.1. Views of Humanities Team Members

                C.2. Views of the Social Sciences Team Members

               C.3. Views of Area Team Members

          D. Interlibrary Loan: CUL Borrowing Patterns From CRL


V.   CUL and CRL - Options for the Year 2000

VI.  Recommendations

VII.  Bibliography

VIII.  Appendices

I. Impetus for and Mandate of the Task Force

In January 1999 Deputy University Librarian Ross Atkinson appointed a Task Force to evaluate the current benefits of Cornell University Library's membership in the Center for Research Libraries and provide data and empirical evidence to justify continuation or termination of membership [text of charge: Appendix 1]. In order to compare benefits with the cost of membership, the Task Force investigated the services and programs the Center provides, with particular emphasis on interlibrary loan transactions, the most obvious and quantifiable measure of return on membership.


II. Background

A. What is the Center for Research Libraries?

In its Mission Statement the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) defines itself as "an international not-for-profit consortium of colleges, universities, and libraries that makes available scholarly research resources to users everywhere. CRL is governed by the major research libraries of North America, and is funded by fee, grants, and contributions." Historically, CRL has emphasized collection building, developing extensive collections in clearly defined areas.

B.  Early History of the Center for Research Libraries

In 1940, thirteen Midwestern university presidents formally looked into the design, costs, collections and administration of a cooperative deposit library. The Carnegie Corporation that year financed a survey to study the possibility of establishing a cooperative storage and distribution center for "little-used" books from the collections of thirteen university libraries: The University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, Indiana University, Iowa State College, the State University of Iowa, the University of Kentucky, Michigan State College, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, and the University of Wisconsin. The results of the survey were summarized in a report entitled "A Proposal for a Middle West Deposit Library." It considered the issues of transferring books to and from a cooperative storage facility, designing plans and cost information, and drafting of the articles of incorporation. The survey concentrated on the arguments for establishing a storage facility, but included the idea that the deposit library eventually would have cooperative purchase and preservation programs. The primary economic benefits of cooperative storage were that institutions could defer construction of library buildings and use the savings to develop other library services; removing little-used materials from library stacks would reduce recurring maintenance costs.

Although the thirteen university presidents agreed that the deposit library would solve local space problems, the university librarians were cautious about the impact of a cooperative collection development on their own libraries. Since the idea of the library was predicated on the assumption that the land and money for construction would be donated-and such funding was not secured-the deposit library discussion was postponed until 1947. That year, the librarians formulated a plan with four programmatic aspects: collection policies coordination, centralized cataloging, cooperative storage of little-used materials and cooperative acquisitions. Centralized cataloging and coordination of collection policies proved unworkable.

C.  Founding of the Midwest Inter-Library Center (MILC)

The Center was officially founded in 1949, as the Midwest Inter-Library Center (MILC). It was conceived as a cooperative deposit library for ten Midwestern universities: The University of Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois, the State University of Iowa, Indiana University, the University of Kansas, Michigan State College, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University and Purdue University.

The purposes of MILC, as stated in the articles of incorporation, were:

"To establish and maintain an educational, literary, scientific, charitable and research interlibrary center; to provide and promote co-operative, auxiliary services for one or more non-profit educational, charitable and scientific institutions; to establish, conduct and maintain a place or places for the deposit, storage, care, delivery and exchange of books ... and other articles containing written, printed, or recorded matter, and services with respect thereto, and circulate and distribute any and all educational, literary, scientific or scholarly publications, books, catalogs and periodicals dealing with the books or other material deposited in the said library ..."

Construction of the MILC was completed in Chicago, on land given by the University of Chicago, and the dedication ceremony took place on October 5, 1951. The Carnegie Corporation and the Rockefeller Foundation together donated $1 million for construction. The original building (seven stack floors) was demolished in 1993.

D. Significant Changes since the 1960s

MILC expanded its focus in the mid-1960s from a regional, Midwestern organization to one of national scope. This change was a result of a yearlong study (May 1963-June 1964) to review existing policies and services in relation to the goals that had led to the founding of MILC in 1949. Two library directors from non-member institutions conducted a survey: Dr. Stephen McCarthy, Director of Libraries at Cornell University, and Dr. Raynard Swank, Dean of the School of Librarianship at the University of California at Berkeley. The recommendations of McCarthy and Swank centered around five issues: nationalization, governance, fees, programs and operations. Nationalization included a formal statement of expanded geographic scope and a change of name to the Center for Research Libraries (effective January 1, 1965).

As a result, membership in the Center grew from 33 members in fiscal year 1967/68 to 130 at the end of 1973/74-72 full and 58 associate members. In response to the proliferation of serials titles and escalating subscription prices, the Carnegie Corporation funded a five-year, $450,000 project to increase the Center's subscriptions to journals. New journal subscriptions officially began to be added in January 1973. The program would become the Journals Access Service (JAS) and offer access to the collections of the British Library Lending Division from 1975 through 1987. In 1986 the Center ended its Journals Access Service. Members found it more efficient to borrow directly from the British Library. Due to budget pressure in the eighties there was a decline in membership, which dropped by 59 institutions between 1982 and 1988. The declining trend began to reverse itself in the nineties, with eight new members and a 19% increase in loan requests.

A 1992 strategic planning conference advised that the Center move into new technologies, and become more active in cooperative collection development. In 1993 the CRL catalog became available on the Internet (financed by grants outside of the membership fees)

E.  Cornell University and CRL

Cornell's connection to CRL dates back to the early 1960s, when the University was not a member institution. The Director of Libraries Stephen McCarthy was asked in 1963, along with Raynard Swank, U.C. Berkeley, to conduct a survey of the Center's membership to identify accomplishments and future programs. The McCarthy and Swank recommendations were the basis for the Center's expansion in the mid-1960s. Cornell officially joined CRL in 1967 and continues to be a full member. Annual reports by successive University Librarians included a section or at least some mention of CRL membership [Excerpts from CUL annual reports in Appendix 2]. In September 1985 a study of CRL membership prepared by Marcia Jebb, Resources and Collection Librarian, and titled, The Center for Research Libraries: Cui Bono? was submitted to Dean Alison Casarett. It concluded that Cornell received benefits equivalent to the fees it paid, although the Library was not "taking full advantage of some cost-saving measures." It recommended continuing membership; but the library ought to consider the center's holdings more actively as extension of its collections," inform potential users and put more effort into our selection process." [Summary in Appendix 3] No actions with lasting effects were taken as a result of this report.


F. Membership Categories

The Center has two main classes of members: Voting Members and Associate Members.

1. Voting Members:

Libraries that have over 1,200,000 volumes and spend more than $2,000,000 annually on acquisitions and binding. They vote to approve the membership eligibility, to elect the Board of Directors, to approve the total budget of the Center, to change the by-laws, and to advise the Board of Directors. Each Voting Member is represented by two councilors: the head librarian and a non-librarian who is usually a faculty member or an administrative officer.

2. Associate Members:

Libraries that have fewer than 1,200,000 volumes and spend less than $2,000,000 annually on acquisitions and binding. They do not have voting rights.

In addition, to these categories, a number of smaller institutions participate as Affiliate Members. The center describes them as organizations "with a special relationship to CRL." They include many institutions participating through the OhioLINK group membership--OCLC and The Association of Research Libraries are also Affiliate Members.

Cornell is a Voting Member by virtue of its holdings and annual budget. Therefore, it does not qualify to be an Associate Member.

Access for non-Members

As spelled out in CRL Loan and Document Delivery Policies [] (sic.), non-members are limited to 10 filled requests per year. (A "request" is defined as a per title maximum of: 12 reels of microfilm, or 24 sheets of microfiche, or 4 physical volumes and photocopies up to 50 pages). Further loan restrictions include:

In addition, the use of the reading room by individuals connected with non-member institutions is subject to a per request fee identical to the fee for non-members who request material to be used off-site: $25.00 a request. This practice is a change that took effect on 1 September 1999.


III.  Membership Benefits and Obligations

A. CRL Collections

Historically, CRL has emphasized development of collections of low use or less commonly held materials. Despite some diversification through new types of collaborative projects and services during the last decade, these collections, and the opportunities they provide for member libraries still fundamentally define CRL. Detailed information about CRL holdings can be found in the CRL Handbook (Olin Ref Z733.C39) and on the CRL website, (sic!).

The cataloged portion of CRL's collections, over 500,000 records, is available through the Library Gateway and on the Web. Several significant collections are uncataloged; these include foreign dissertations, college catalogs, state publications, and U.S. imprint textbooks.

CRL's collections have been built by deposit from member libraries, by subscription, by purchase (for example, by the Shared Purchase ballot procedure), and by exchange with foreign institutions. Many of CRL's collections are so extensive as to constitute national or international resources. Some of the major collections include:

Member-driven acquisition is one of CRL's core services. There are four routes by which materials are added to the CRL collections. The Purchase Proposal service manages expensive purchases (over $1,000) by ballot, with decisions by majority vote. The Shared Purchase service manages requests for materials that don't meet purchase proposal criteria. Demand Purchase services obtain for certain categories of materials, for example foreign dissertations, archival materials, U.S. and foreign newspapers. Finally, members may arrange to deposit materials in the Center, although space constraints now limit the number of deposits accepted.

In recent years, CRL collections have been reviewed, with this review resulting in changes in collection development policy and in the withdrawal of portions of CRL's collections. These reviews were conducted in collaboration with member libraries and with communication with other players in the library community. For example, the collection of children's books, comprehensive for the years 1951-1988, was no longer maintained by deposit and was uncataloged and transferred from CRL to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1994. Another example: by the 1990s, U.S. state documents had become more widely cataloged on national utilities and available to users. The decision was taken to retain pre-1951 state documents, distribute recent documents to interested libraries, and stop building this collection.

B. CRL Services

From its inception, CRL has provided interlibrary loan services. While expanding somewhat over the years, CRL's services have always been secondary to collection building. Cornell librarians appear to be aware of ILL and the existence of CRL's online catalog, but not with the full range of services available to members.

The menu of services includes the following:


C. Area Programs

There are six Area Studies microform projects: Cooperative Africana Microform Project (CAMP), Latin American Microform Project (LAMP), Middle Eastern Microform Project (MEMP), Slavic and Eastern European Microform Project (SEEMP), South Asia Microform Project (SAMP), and Southeast Asia Microform Project (SEAM). Each project has its own governance, by-laws, and fees. Each project selects material to preserve and collect according to their own guidelines. In general, non-members of the Center who are not subscribers to Area Studies microform projects will have access to these materials through CRL's non-member interlibrary loan service and through on-site use in the Center's Reading Room. According to James Simon, a CRL Program Officer and Area Studies Council contact, CRL membership is not a requirement to participate in the Area Microform Projects. In some cases (MEMP, for example) the annual dues are different for CRL members and non-members. However, for the most part, the dues are the same for CRL members and non-CRL members alike. One can therefore be a MEMP member without being a CRL member. That institution would not be allowed to borrow CRL material but can borrow MEMP material. We note that borrowing of Area Studies materials accounted for 2.5% of all borrowing requests in FY97.


IV. Cornell as a CRL Member and User

A. Survey of Public Services Staff and Selectors

As a current member of CRL, Cornell University Library can regard the Center's holdings as an extension of its own. In addition to interlibrary loans, the Center provides other services such as "demand purchase," e.g., acquisition on request, of certain types of archival material, foreign dissertations and newspapers, etc. While the mere access to CRL records via the local online catalog or the Gateway is a reality, awareness by selectors and public services staff of the Center's services was thought to be of particular importance by the Task Force. To appraise staff awareness and knowledge a questionnaire was sent to selectors and reference services personnel campus-wide in February 1999 via e-mail [Form and full answers in Appendix 4].

The seven questions posed revolved around familiarity with CRL programs and holdings. The questionnaire's results show that about half of the 35 respondents (out of an estimated 83) were familiar only in general terms with the kind of material CRL selects. 34% are rather well familiar with it. A majority of 62% stated they never made purchase decisions based on CRL's holdings or collection development policy, and 57% never participated in CRL's Demand Purchase program. CRL is integrated in library instruction classes by 28% of the respondents. About 43% however stated that, occasionally, they search CRL online catalog themselves or refer patrons to it.

B. Views of Public Services Staff

In an effort to get more input from staff than that provided by a survey in February 1999, representatives of the Task Force met with Olin/Kroch/Uris Reference Services and ILR Reference. Phone and e-mail contacts were also made with Mann Reference and Management Reference. A series of discussion questions were distributed in advance together with a list of CRL services. The Task Force solicited and obtained written statements from staff in the Interlibrary Services units in O/K/U, Mann and Law [See Appendices 15-17].

Group discussions highlighted the service and collection development issues that lie behind any statistical analysis this Task Force can provide. What follows is a digest of the opinions voiced at these meetings.

Not surprisingly, the most positive responses to CRL services came from experienced reference staff in the humanities and social sciences who had worked with faculty in identifying unique research resources. These contacts went beyond determining that a known item was available on interlibrary loan and extended to informing users, especially faculty, of the breadth and depth of CRL collections. For example, British and U.S. diplomatic papers at the Center complement many of our large microform sets. CRL' s broad range of U.S. and foreign newspapers have been accessed by users in Africana Studies, City and Regional Planning, Economics, English, Government, History. The U.S. Population Schedules for a wide range of places and dates have provided primary source material for researchers in many departments who are tracing historical, economic and social trends. Users across all disciplines have made constant use of CRL's collection of foreign dissertations. It was clear, however, that since most newer staff have limited knowledge of CRL collections and services, this issue needs to be addressed through training and timely sharing of information. Specific suggestions for promoting staff and user awareness were mentioned in both discussion sessions and the staff survey.

Quality of service was a key issue for reference staff. The importance of CRL functioning as an extension and backup to our own collections was stressed. Staff can now assure users of ready access to CRL resources. If we were to discontinue membership there would inevitably be a diminution of service. Users would potentially have to wait longer for interlibrary loans, work with shorter and possibly non-sequential runs of microform serials, and receive shorter loan periods. The most significant loss would be inability to secure uniquely held materials. While the value of availability, time and convenience to an individual researcher is not quantifiable, it must be given serious consideration in evaluating membership benefits.

Maintaining consortial relationships and connectivity within the broad library community was mentioned as particularly important at a time when there are new initiatives in international cooperation and digitization. CRL is initiating digital projects such as collecting foreign Official Gazettes, archiving journals issued only in electronic format, cooperating with ARTFL in digitizing materials on the French Revolution of 1848. Digitized Brazilian government serial documents are already available. CRL is also exploring a potential role as an electronic resources/data aggregator and as a mediator/gateway to electronic resources for members.


C. Views of Selectors

C.1. Views of Humanities Team Members

Membership in CRL was a discussion item at the December meeting of the Humanities Selectors Team. Librarians participating in this discussion included David Brumberg, Martha Hsu, Susan Palmer, Katherine Reagan, Patrick Stevens, Yoram Szekely, and Sarah How. Lenore Coral's comments provided via e-mail are incorporated below.

During this discussion, selectors described a wide range of personal knowledge and professional experience with CRL's collections and programs. For example, while one admitted no knowledge of CRL collections and programs and has had no contact or relationship with CRL, another relies heavily on CRL holdings in selection decisions. This range of experiences strongly suggests that selectors gained their knowledge of CRL outside of Cornell, rather than receiving orientation to CRL or guidance as to best practices from within the Library.

The following points were made in the discussion:

C.2. Views of the Social Sciences Team Members

Membership in CRL was a discussion item at the December meeting of the Social Sciences Selectors Team. Librarians participating in this discussion included Phil Dankert, Susan Greaves, Janie Harris, Martha Hsu, Greg Lawrence, Katie Margolis, Brenda Marston, Susan Palmer, Don Schnedeker, Bill Walthers, Sarah How, and Caroline Spicer.

Discussion was lively and, as with the Humanities Team, disclosed wide variance in participants' knowledge of CRL. Many team members were unaware of CRL's collections and services. It seemed clear to all that for best utilization across campus, the CRL collection needs more promotion to staff and patrons.

The following points were made in this discussion:


C.3. Views of Area Team Members

CRL membership was discussed at the January 11 meeting of the Area Selection Team. Present were: David Block, Charles D'Orban, Ali Houissa, Ved Kayastha, Fred Kotas, Allen Riedy, Wanda Wawro, and Ross Atkinson, Sarah How and Caroline Spicer.

There was a strong shared perception that CRL is an important resource for area studies and that area selectors do consider its holdings when making selection decisions. The following points were made during the discussion:


D. Interlibrary Loan: CUL Borrowing Patterns From          CRL

Since access to borrowing materials from the Center's collections is a major factor in Cornell's membership, the Task Force felt it would be important to gain a closer understanding of this activity. It wanted to understand what types of materials are being borrowed, who are the users served and to what extent is CUL utilizing special lending features offered by CRL but not by most other lenders, such as longer loan periods and greater number of items that can be borrowed simultaneously. It analyzed the borrowing records (i.e., actual ILL transaction forms) for FY 1997/98, the last full year for which the information was available. It was felt that one full year's worth of transactions represented a reasonable compromise between a meaningful sample size and one that could be pulled together and analyzed within the Task Force's available resources and timetable. Similarly, since research patterns vary from year to year, it represents only an example of the types of materials that are being borrowed from CRL.

There were 319 CRL borrowing transactions, of which 237 were in Olin, 57 in Mann and 25 in Law. CRL borrowing by the Medical, Veterinary and Geneva libraries was statistically insignificant and therefore disregarded. Transactions were tabulated by category of material (e.g., newspapers, dissertations, photocopies of articles etc.), by publication dates (pre-1900, 1900-1950 and post-1950), by length of time the material was held by the Cornell borrower (longer or shorter than 4 weeks), requestors' status (faculty, Ph.D. candidates, etc.) and requestors' departmental affiliation within Cornell. Generally data provided by the Mann and Law records was somewhat less detailed than Olin's. For full data of the analysis, see Appendices 6-8.

Based on the analysis, the following may be observed.

1. Categories of materials borrowed. Not surprisingly, serials accounted for the bulk of the borrowing, 198 transactions out of 319 (62%), divided more or less evenly among the three subcategories newspapers, other serials and photocopies of individual articles. There were 77 monographs transactions (24% of the total), divided evenly between foreign dissertations and other monographs.

2. Format. Considering that a high proportion of research level materials tend to be in microform, microforms did not constitute a particularly large part of the transactions. This is perhaps reflective of Cornell's large microform collections. There were 114 microfilm loans and 12 microfiche loans, totaling 126 loans (39.5% of the total). The balance was evenly divided between bound volumes and photocopies.

3. Vintage. Transactions were almost evenly divided between pre-1950 and post-1950 imprints.

4. Length of holding period. CRL's willingness to lend for 6 months, as opposed to the 4 weeks which is allowed by virtually all other libraries has been noted as one of the chief advantages of borrowing from CRL, since the types of materials borrowed are typically needed for medium to long term research projects. The data support this view in that of the 195 returnable loans for which information was provided (there were 56 non-returnable photocopies), 141 (72.3%) were kept for longer than 4 weeks.

5. Amount of material borrowed. Another often cited advantage of borrowing from CRL is its willingness to lend larger amounts of material at once than virtually all other libraries, e.g., long runs of microfilmed newspaper files as opposed to the usual limit of 5-10 reels per loan imposed by other libraries. Again, this is considered important for research projects in which large amounts of material may need to be surveyed. The evidence here is somewhat less supportive. Of 114 microfilm loans for which relevant data were supplied (all Olin), 89 (78%) requested fewer than 5 reels. Of 12 microfiche loans, 8 (66%) requested less than 5 fiche. Of 54 paper volume loans for which breakdown was provided (all Olin), 51 (94.4%) requested fewer than 5 volumes.

6. Requestor's status. Not unexpectedly graduate students account for the majority of requestors, 170 out of 316 (53.8%), of whom 149 (88%) were doctoral candidates whose depth of research typically exceeds the holdings of all but the most comprehensive collections. The relatively small share of faculty, 69 of 316 (22%) may reflect the degree to which Cornell's collections have managed to stay attuned to known research interests of current faculty and variations in faculty research from year to year.

7. Requestor's departmental affiliation. Requestors represented 62 colleges, departments and programs across the University. Spread appears to be fairly even across the humanities, social sciences and sciences.

8. Overall level of activity. Given the general esteem in which CRL's collections and services have traditionally been held, it is surprising that borrowing from it accounted for only 2.1% of the total successful borrowing for the year, 319 out of 15,114 loan requests filled.

The Task Force also wished to try to determine whether the kinds of materials borrowed from CRL could be obtained from other US libraries.

Once again, a sampling approach was chosen, using the same sample of 319 items borrowed from CRL in FY 1997/98. The goal was to ascertain which of these are held by and thus presumably, borrowable from at least three institutional libraries in the United States and Canada other than CRL and the Library of Congress. Excluded from the searching process, although not from the final tabulation and analysis, were single-volume monographic items, which were already known at the time of the transaction to be held by three libraries (even though actual borrowing was from CRL). Serials and monographic multi-volumes were searched in the catalogs of individual libraries even if such additional holdings had been recorded on the transaction logs, to ensure that any additional locations held not just the title but the specific volumes/years needed. Searching consisted of checking each item against the RLIN database and then, if three locations were not found, in OCLC, National Union Catalog and, in case of newspapers, Newspapers in Microform [See Appendices 9-12 for specific details of the searching procedure].

Results of the searching were as follows: of the 319 items in the sample, 150 or 47% were held by at least three additional libraries other than CRL, LC and CUL. 47 items (14.8%) were held by two additional libraries and 20 (6.2%) were held by a single additional library. 102 items (32%) were held only by CRL. For serials, where CRL's more generous lending terms may be more of a factor, 121 items out of 221 (54.8%) were held by at least three additional libraries, 42 (19%) by two additional libraries, 15 (6.8%) by a single additional library and 43 (19.4%) by CRL only. (For full data see Appendices 13-14).

Even if we exclude items held by only a single additional library on the assumption that the chances of successful borrowing from a single library would be low, the fact remains that 61.8% of items borrowed from CRL, or close to two thirds, were held by two or more other libraries. Virtually all of these are large academic or public research libraries, which presumably would not decline to lend to a peer institution such as CUL. In terms of the overall borrowing activity for the year, this means that only 122 items out of 15,114, or 0.8%, could not have been obtained elsewhere and absolutely had to be borrowed from CRL.

As noted at the beginning of this section, working with a one year example was the best the Task Force could do within the limitations of its resources and timetable. While it is perfectly true that it might be risky to draw definitive conclusions about long term trends from a single year, the Task Force attempted to be as careful and thorough in its analysis as possible and the methodology developed in the course of the process could readily be applied to a larger example. Were this to be done, it is quite possible that the results would be similar. One clue is the consistency over ten years (1988/99-1997/98) of the ratio between overall borrowing and CRL borrowing in OKU. Over this period CRL loans accounted on average for 4.01% of the activity, not that far off from the 3.36% for 1997/98.


V. CUL and CRL - options for the year 2000

Based on its discussions and review of the available documentation the Task Force has identified three options for CUL regarding its future relationship with CRL. The following listing reviews briefly the perceived benefits and costs/drawbacks of each. The actual recommendation as to which option should be selected is made in the subsequent section.

Option 1. Renew membership without any additional activities to promote utilization of available CRL programs.

Description. Cornell has been a member in CRL for several decades, and over this long period has adopted a largely passive stance in term of publicizing and utilizing CRL's services. With the exception of steady borrowing from CRL's collections and participation in some of the Area Studies cooperative microfilming projects, few services have been used with any consistency. There has been little awareness of CRL beyond the limited circle of ILL staff plus some reference staff, or among CUL's users. There is evidence that CRL's collections are generally not considered when making CUL selection decisions, and it is likely that even borrowing is not utilized to its full potential. This option involves the continuation of this passive stance.

Benefits. CRL's collections would continue to be available to CUL's users on the same basis as heretofore, meaning access to research level materials not held elsewhere and on terms generally not available from other institutions. No additional CUL staff time and effort would be required beyond what has traditionally been expended.

Costs/drawbacks. Most obviously, the expenditure of ca. $57,000 in FY 1999/00, amounting to ca. .8% of the total appropriated budget. A passive approach also prevents CUL from deriving the maximum benefit from this investment. For example, lack of widespread awareness of CRL and its activities has often resulted in ignorance of major changes in its collecting activities that could have a direct impact on borrowing, such as the transfer of its extensive childrens' literature collection to the University of Illinois in 1994 or the dispersal of its holdings of post-1950 state documents in 1998. Those documents were available on request to any interested libraries and CUL possibly missed the opportunity of adding some to its collections. Finally, a passive stance precludes Cornell from playing a leadership role at a pivotal time in CRL's history.

Option 2. Renew membership, but with a commitment to more intensive engagement with CRL.

Description. The overall purpose of greater engagement would be to maximize the service benefit derived from the financial investment. It would need to be done on two fronts. Externally, institute greater participation in CRL affairs through more consistent communications, attendance at meetings and conferences and two way visits. Internally, increase awareness of CRL among library staff and users, which would result in more extensive borrowing from its collections, and integrate CRL's collection formally as a factor in selection decisions, especially for purchases of expensive items. The most effective measure to these ends would probably be integration of CRL's records into the OPAC, thus treating the CRL collection as a virtual extension of our own and allowing staff and users much greater opportunities to discover the materials. Additional measures could include prominent display of CRL's handbook, routine inclusion of CRL in bibliographic instruction presentations, routine dissemination of CRL information electronically and in paper, training/information workshops and regular monitoring of CRL activities. Assigning these matters to specific staff might ensure more effective implementation [See also Appendix 5].

Benefits. With this approach CUL will continue to have full access to CRL's rich and unique research collections under the favorable terms available under full membership. Increased awareness and utilization would clearly enhance CUL's primary mission of supporting teaching and research at Cornell. For example, primary source materials such as newspapers, government documents and archival records are increasingly used in undergraduate courses in a broad range of disciplines, but faculty are often hampered in their choice of topics by the limitations of Cornell's holdings. Greater awareness of CRL's rich collections of such materials would provide faculty with increased flexibility in structuring their courses. British parliamentary papers for 1801-1899 and American ethnic newspapers are two recent examples of such situations.

Costs/drawbacks. The high annual fee is again the obvious direct cost. Beyond that, there are indirect costs in staff time and effort, which inevitably occur when new activities are undertaken. The magnitude of such indirect costs and how much of them is one time or recurring will depend on what measures are adopted. It could include actual cash outlays, e.g., if CRL's records are loaded into the OPAC, if increased involvement with CRL activities results in increased staff travel, or if a new coordinator position is established. It could involve the indirect cost of some other activity being reduced or discontinued as staff effort is directed to CRL related work.

Option 3. Canceling membership.

Description. Because of the size of its collection and annual materials budget CUL is eligible only for full membership and could not opt to become an Associate Member (at significantly lower annual fees). Memberships in CRL's Area Studies microfilming projects are paid separately and additionally to the general CRL membership, and thus could be retained if the general membership is cancelled.

Benefits. A significant annual saving, ca. $ 57,000 in FY 1999/00. It could either be directed to other CUL purposes or deployed towards compensating for the lack of access to CRL's collection by purchasing some materials that would have been borrowed from CRL and/or adding ILL staff to handle the more complicated work of borrowing from other libraries materials more simply obtainable from CRL From a strictly financial perspective it could be argued that $ 57,000 is a high price to pay for borrowing the approximately 125 items that in the sample year 1997/98 could not be obtained elsewhere and had to be borrowed from CRL. This works out to an average cost of ca. $ 450 per transaction, not including indirect cost in CUL staff time, compared for example to the $25/transaction for the 10 annual loans available to non members.

Costs/drawbacks. Canceling membership would remove access to a rich collection of research level materials that has proven its utility to Cornell users over the years. The ten loans available annually to non members would not constitute a practical alternative since the hard core of items that could only be obtained from CRL is estimated at more than tenfold that, ca.100-150 per year. While numerically CRL loans amount to only a small percentage of CUL overall annual ILL borrowing, CUL's primary mission is to provide materials in support of teaching and research at Cornell, and the value of such service cannot always be measured meaningfully in strictly quantitative or financial terms;

supporting the work of a single researcher is not necessarily less important than doing so for a hundred others. Withdrawing access to CRL's collection would thus run counter to CUL's service mission. Removing a long established service without providing a full equivalent also has the potential of involving the library in political difficulties on campus. Finally, regardless of whether we accept that as a major research library CUL has the obligation within the library community to support major cooperative ventures such as CRL, withdrawing from membership will no doubt send a signal of no confidence in CRL and in its newly appointed director. It might encourage other members to withdraw, adversely impacting CRL's finances and operations.


VI.  Recommendations

Of the three options described in the preceding section the Task Force recommends that CUL adopt Option 2, but with additional provisos as outlined below. This represents a compromise between outright cancellation and automatic renewal, and reflects the Task Force's view that the situation is somewhat complicated. On the one hand, the cash cost of membership has been increasing steadily over the years, usually at a rate above the rate of general inflation. The Library has not derived the maximum benefits from this outlay because there has been little involvement in CRL's affairs and services beyond borrowing from its collection. Even the level of borrowing, although steady, has been too low to justify continued expenditure at present levels. On the other hand, CRL has over the years been a reliable source of a core of materials not obtainable elsewhere. This core may be small, but removing access to it would run counter to CUL's primary mission of providing materials in support of instruction and research, a mission whose costs and benefits are not always readily quantifiable. Also, serious political and "ethical" questions could result if a library of Cornell's general stature and senior standing within CRL were to leave an organization widely recognized as a leading and successful example of collaboration in the research library community.

Therefore, the Task Force recommends that Cornell renew its membership for CY2000, but with a commitment both to more intensive engagement with the Center and to an internal effort towards maximizing the benefits from the financial investment. The specific recommendations fall under three headings:


1. Measures towards greater utilization and involvement

2. Finances and fees

The Task Force believes that Cornell, and the other CRL members as well, should be concerned about the past patterns of annual fee increases, which have typically exceeded the corresponding rate of general inflation. Therefore, it recommends that in the context of its increased involvement in CRL governance Cornell propose a feasibility study to investigate alternative funding structures that would have the dual aim of putting the organization's finances on a more businesslike footing, as well as providing better long term security than exclusive reliance on ever increasing fees from a small number of institutional members. One possibility is switching from a membership based revenue stream to a fee-per-use based revenue stream. Another possibility is a campaign to create an endowment large enough to support at least core operations.

3. Future review

The Task Force recommends that Cornell's membership in CRL be reviewed again after three years, i.e., in 2003. As a minimum, the review should address the following questions:


VII.  Bibliography

Center for Research Libraries. Annual Report. Chicago, 1 - 1949/50 - .

Center for Research Libraries. Handbook/Center for Research Libraries. Chicago: The Center, 1996.

Center for Research Libraries. [Web Site] [sic.]

Cornell University Library. Annual Report of the University Librarian. [Title varies] 1965/66-1984/85.

Finch, Herbert. "Study of CRL Membership." Memorandum to Dean Alison Casarett, September 13, 1985. [Forwards the Jebb report]

Focus on the Center for Research Libraries. Chicago: Center for Research Libraries, 1981- .

Jackson, Mary E. Measuring the Performance of Interlibrary Loan Operations in North American Research & College Libraries. Washington, D.C.: Association of Research Libraries, 1998.

______________. "A spotlight on high-performing ILL/DD operations in research libraries" ARL: a Bimonthly Newsletter of Research Library Issues and Actions 198, 6-8.

Jebb, Marcia. "The Center for Research Libraries: Cui Bono?" Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Library, 1985. Unpublished report.

McCarthy, Stephen A. and Raynard C. Swank. The Midwest Inter-library Center; Report of a Survey, May 1963 to June 1964. [Chicago? 1964]


VIII.  Appendices

1. Charge to the Task Force

2. Excerpts from Cornell University Library Annual Reports, (1965/66--1984/85) Relating to CRL

3. Memorandum (13 September, 1985) : From AUL for Collections H. Finch to Dean Alison Casarett Summarizing a Study of CRL Membership by M. Jebb

4. Questionnaire Sent to Public Services and Collection Development Staff with Tabulated Responses

5. Best Practices for Member Libraries at CRL

6. ILL Requests Filled by CRL For OKU, 1997/1998

7. ILL Requests Filled by CRL For Law Library, 1997/1998

8. ILL Requests Filled by CRL For Mann Library, 1997/1998

9. Searching Procedures For CRL Project: Monographs

10. Searching Procedures For CRL Project: Serials

11. Searching Flowchart, Monographs

12. Searching Flowchart, Serials

13. Checklist, Searching Results of ILL Requests (Work Form)

14. Summary of Searching Results, CUL ILL Requests Filled by CRL in FY 1997/98

15. Statement / Julie Copenhagen (OKU)

16. Statement / Nancy Moore (Law)

17. Statement / Cindy Golos (Mann)

Appendix 1

Charge to the Task Force

Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 14:19:42

CRL Evaluation Task Force.

The purpose of this Task Force will be to evaluate the current benefits of CUL's membership in the Center for Research Libraries, so that we can compare those benefits with the costs of membership. The aim should be to provide us with empirical evidence, which can be used to assist the determination as to whether CUL should continue its CRL membership.

Specifically the Task Force should consider:

a. The amount of ILL borrowing from CRL in recent years. If we had not been able to borrow this material from CRL, would we have been able to borrow it from any other library?

b. The extent to which users are led to CRL resources by reference staff or through the catalog. What measures have we taken to ensure user awareness and use of CRL resources? To what extent are faculty aware of the availability of CRL materials? Are there ways we could improve such user awareness and use in future?

c. The effect of our membership in CRL on selection decision-making. How does our membership in CRL influence what and how we select? What specifically are selectors not purchasing, because we belong to CRL?

d. Our membership category. We are currently full, voting members of CRL.

I believe we are not qualified to be associate members--but this should be confirmed. If we could be associate members, how would that affect our payments to CRL and the services we receive?

e. The effect of canceling our membership. If we dropped our membership in CRL, it is my understanding that we would be able to borrow ten items per year for an ILL transaction cost. This also needs to be confirmed. Would that be sufficient for our needs? Could we continue to be participants in the area microfilming projects (e.g., LAMP, SAMP), if we were not full, voting members of CRL? What would be the cost (including hidden costs such as staff time) of obtaining such information for our users, were CUL not a CRL member?

f. The effect on CRL. What would be the effect of our membership cancellation on CRL? If all other libraries followed our example and dropped their membership, what would be the effect on CRL services?

g. Other information. Please gather any other information available about the value and utility of our CRL membership.


Appendix 2

The Center for Research Libraries:

Excerpts from Cornell University Library Annual

Reports, 1965/66--1984/85

(Compiled April, 1999)

Since 1985/86, Cornell University Library has issued annual statistics in lieu of reports. Annual reports from earlier years were reviewed, and all mention of CRL is captured below.

1985/86 - The Annual Report was prepared by the Acting University Librarian; there is no mention of CRL.

1984/85 - "We are in the midst of a complete review of our relationship with the Center for Research Libraries. We spent $32,700 on membership dues last year plus fees for special projects. We certainly got some benefits, but we must decide if there are possibilities for expending these benefits or whether the cost is just too great. I expect to make some recommendation by the first of November."

1983/84 - no mention of CRL

1982/83 - "Other than RLG, our most important -- and expensive -- cooperative activity is the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago. Of late, the cost of participating in the acquisition and lending programs of the Center has become substantial, while the services provided faculty and students at Cornell have diminished. There is agreement among staff and the Library Board that 1983/84 will see a decision about our continued participation in what historically has been one of the major cooperative efforts of academic and special libraries in this country. It may be that it has fulfilled its purpose and that it should be superseded by or merged with other cooperative enterprises. If there are indications, however, that its programs are central to research libraries and that those programs can be maintained with cost effectiveness, we undoubtedly shall continue as members."

1981/82 - "Our RLG-related work, however, was far from the only cooperative undertaking to occupy our attention. The Center for Research Libraries, now in its new and larger home near the University of Chicago campus, continues to provide access to important but lesser used research materials. Under its new director, the organization of the Center has improved, and better access to bibliographic control of its collections is being achieved. The center, however, must realize that the cost of membership is now reaching a maximum for some of the larger university libraries, like Cornell, and that its future depends on the provision of improved and, to some extent, new programs of service which will clearly justify member expenditures. It may be that the center will have to look to a somewhat larger definition of its activities if it is to serve the needs of the research libraries which brought it into being and continue to sustain it."

1980/81 - "We continue our membership in the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago, which provides access to many relatively little-used research materials. The cost of membership in the Center continues to rise, however, and we must carefully review our use of the Center's resources in light of the annual membership fee."

1979/80 - "The Libraries continues its membership in the Center for Research Libraries, which is undergoing an expansion of its facilities and services. Membership in the Center is not inexpensive, costing over $20,000 per year, but the collections and the interlibrary loan services, both from its collections and from abroad, are invaluable. It is our hope that some conjunction of the activities of the Center and those of the RLG can be effected to the profit of the members of both organizations. Most RLG members also are members of the Center."

1978/79 - no mention of CRL

1977/78 - no mention of CRL

1976/77 - "The 'Journal Access Program' of the Center for Research Libraries has to a lesser extent not lived up to the promise of its first year of operation. Although Cornell's commitment in this program does not involve anywhere near the investment we have in the OCLC system, it did appear to offer a major opportunity for resource sharing within a national program. Plans for incorporating this program within a National Periodical Lending Library with assistance from the Library of Congress may enable the current problems to be successfully overcome."

1975/76 -- "Efforts to strengthen and improve links with national networks and resources have shown substantial success. The journal access service implemented in 1975 by the Center for Research Libraries has been increasingly used to fill requests for periodicals not available in the Cornell collections. Response time and the proportion of requests filled have been highly satisfactory. We are supporting the further development of this service toward becoming a national periodical lending library."

1974/75 -- "The Center for Library Resources[sic], of which Cornell is a member, announced during the year a new program for building a comprehensive collection of journals in science, technology, and social science. This will be monitored closely by the FAUL libraries to determine its impact on local costs for collection development and possible cost benefits."

1973/74 - "In previous reports there has been adequate attention given to our working arrangements with ... the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). Relationships with all the agencies continued smooth and effective throughout the year...."

1972/73 - no mention of CRL

1971/72 - "Physical access to recorded knowledge was provided by the Library in other ways.... Special effort was made to obtain such materials from institutions to which we relate contractually such as ... the Center for Research Libraries. ..."

1970/71 - "The staff toiled assiduously throughout the year to seek effective ways of improving services and reducing costs through inter institutional cooperative mechanisms. These efforts revolved largely around participation in four different programs, as follows: (1) the Center for Research Libraries, an effort of eighty large libraries nation-wide to acquire and store in Chicago one copy each of very seldom used books for our joint use; ..."

1969/70 - "Librarians believe that the need for scholarly information, both locally and in the larger community, can be most successfully met by collective action, and we at Cornell have been both the seeker and the sought in a current ambient quest for broader and more nearly sufficient operating bases. On the national level we have come to participate vigorously in, and to rely heavily upon, the Center for Research Libraries, a 'library's library" of seldom used material based in Chicago. Esoteric items purchased there once for the joint use of all its forty-odd university members need not thereafter be duplicated in forty other locations, including Ithaca. We pay to belong to the CRL, and we thereby make accessible to Cornell scholars a wider range of research resources than we could deliver otherwise for a like expenditure."

1968/69 - "Now in their third year of membership, Cornell University Libraries continued their participation in the Center for Research Libraries, 'a library's library" in Chicago which concentrates its efforts on the acquiring and servicing of seldom-used research materials in the interests of its thirty-eight members. Our use of the CRL doubled in 1968/69 over the previous year, and my expectation is that our exploitation of its resources will continue over the coming months to rise dramatically. Cornell Vice President Stuart Brown was elected to the CRL Board at its January membership meeting."

1967/68 - "We have finished one year of membership in the Center for Research Libraries without having anything spectacular to show for it. We have contributed suggestions for the common acquisition program, and we have redirected some expenditures for local resources and avoided buying what is at the Center. A few transfer shipments have been sent to the Center. Requests for loans have been most expeditiously filled. Longer membership should bring more tangible results."

1966/67 - "Last year's report noted the reconstitution of the Center for Research Libraries as a national organization. This Center, formerly the Midwest Interlibrary Center, was established as a cooperative undertaking by a group of midwestern university libraries to serve as an agency for cooperative acquisitions, storage and other library services. Over the years its program became national rather than regional with the result that it was reorganized and libraries outside the midwest were invited to become members. During the early part of the past year a library staff committee, chaired by Assistant Director Felix Reichmann, studied the program of the Center for Research Libraries and recommended that Cornell become a member. This recommendation has been carried out."

1965/66 - "The Center for Research Libraries (formerly the Midwest Interlibrary Center) has carried further its plans and programs to serve research libraries by developing acquisitions projects for publications of research value, which are not required in duplicate in many libraries. Cornell has not yet become a member of this cooperative, although it participates in several of the Center's programs. It now appears that the new and more vigorous acquisition program of the Center may warrant Cornell's becoming an active member. Over a period of years this should conserve book funds and space requirements."


Appendix 3

Memorandum (13 September, 1985) : From AUL for Collections H. Finch to Dean Alison Casarett Summarizing a Study of CRL Membership by M. Jebb


Appendix 4

Questionnaire Sent to Public Services and Collection Development Staff with Tabulated Responses

[35 replies/ 83 sent out]

1. Are you familiar with the types of materials CRL selects and acquires?


Only in general terms___18_____

Yes, rather well___12_____

2.Have you made purchase decisions based on CRL holdings, or collection development policy?




3.Have you participated in CRL's demand purchase program?




Don't know what it is_____5___

4. Have you integrated CRL in your library instruction classes?

Never (not applicable) ___25_____



5. Do you search CRL online catalog?




6. Do you refer patrons to CRL online catalog?




7. Do you have an y suggestion to increase CRL awareness among selectors, public service staff, and patrons?

· Load the CRL holdings into the OPAC with CRL as the location.

· The segment of the CRL collection that is used most heavily by Music Library patrons is the foreign dissertation collection. It would be truly wonderful if those dissertations could be added to the online catalog at CRL. There is no way to know if they have something in that collection butto send them a message.

· The other collection which is used heavily here is hte microfilm set of the

Schatz libretti from the Library of Congress. Those have all been

cataloged by the Univ of Virginia in a big NEH funded project -- they are

readily accessible therefore through RLIN.

· We also use the runs of Sotheby and Puttick & Simpson auction catalogues.

· Write an article about CRL for Cite and Byte, and other publications aimed toward library users.

· Our use of CRL is primarily directed toward obtaining copies of foreign theses through ILL. If they have a copy in their collection, CRL will lend it. If not, they will obtain and copy that will subsequently be loaned to us. This service is very helpful.

· No, except to publicize what might be available in the life sciences area.

· It might be a good idea to work up some sort of local presentation on the Center, what it is and what it does-- much like the tour that one gets in Chicago.

· Faculty need to be aware of CRL so that they can refer their students (esp. graduate students) to the CRL catalog.

· Working with reference librarians to show the value would be a great way to

start. I don't know much about CRL.

· Perhaps a panel discussion at Academic Assembly would help. We could

invite a representative from CRL to speak about their services, programs,

resources and future plans.

· I could incorporate a brief session on CRL in our in-house staff training

program, but that's something I would do locally for the OKU Reference

Services Division-- not a suggestion for other staff groups.

· Personal responsibility. This questionnaire will serve as a reminder for

me to reexamine what is there for our patrons to use. Presently, I rarely

use CRL resources to answer patrons' questions or as part of my instruction


· Part of the problem is their fairly unsophisticated interface. While they

have unique materials that are of value, there is often no compelling

reason to go to CRL for them. I am also not aware of any electronic

document delivery from them. And do they plan to introduce a web version

of their catalog?

· Awareness and use come with utility and distinction. CRL has slipped in

significance as other information systems have surpassed them. But perhaps

I just need to be reeducated on their significance and usefulness. A

question for your group, where does or should CRL fit in the spectrum of

information resources, alongside RLIN and WorldCat, or below them (if one

were making a prioritized list)?

· It wouldn't hurt to do a workshop, or at least an extended description with sample searches, etc. This has been treated as an internal tool, more than a public resource, but perhaps that's appropriate.

· Tell all selectors that anything costing beyond a set amount of dollars [?] needs to be marketed and used otherwise it will not be maintained. Someone needs to take ownership of this issue.

· I think I shouldn't be on your mailing list. As a Night Supervisor, I occasionally help with reference questions but I'm not an actual librarian.

· Is it quicker to order from them? we just use RLIN and OCLC, in my experience.

· Perhaps a list of all the collections CRL holds and the number of items we have borrowed over the last year or so could be distributed to selectors and reference staff.

· Include CRL as a regular item in all BI presentations, at least those aimed at graduate and upper class undergraduate students

· Add information about CRL and its holdings to the opening screen of the public catalog saying that it is an extension of our collections, and add a link to the CRL database from our library Gateway.

· This is a good start! Tell us how to search the CRL catalog, where to find it.


 Appendix 5

Best Practices for Member Libraries at CRL


Appendix 6

ILL Requests Filled by CRL For OKU, 1997/1998


Appendix 7

ILL Requests Filled by CRL For Law Library, 1997/1998


Appendix 8

ILL Requests Filled by CRL For Mann Library, 1997/1998


Appendix 9


I. Monographs

A. RLIN--search by author and/or title

1. Exact match required for edition and date. Check LON or FUL/BIB records to verify complete bibliographic info. (If requestor checks "any edition", list all editions with dates and library symbols).

2. Identify up to 3 US or Canadian library locations from MUL records.

3. Record location symbols, excluding those listed below. *

4. For multivols, check PAR records to verify holdings of requested volumes.

If "non-circulating" or "reference" is indicated, get another location.

5. Search online library catalogs if exact holdings not in PAR record.

B. OCLC--search by author/title when:

--additional locations are required

--title not found in RLIN

1. Exact match required (see A1 above)

2. Identify up to 3 US or Canadian library locations from collective records.

3. Record location symbols, excluding those listed below.*

4. For multivols, search online library catalogs (See A4 above).

C. National Union Catalog--search by author and/or title

Use Pre-1956 Imprints, including its Supplement, for pre-1956 publications.

Use NUC 1956-1967 for imprints earlier than 1968, and NUC 968-1972 for imprints earlier than 1973. **

1. Exact match required (see A1 above)

2. For multivols, search online library catalogs (See A4 above).

* Exclusion symbols: AULG, DCLC, ESNG, FRBG, FRLG, GYMG, GYMN, GYMO, ILRC, JGTR, OHCO, OHCP, OHHH, OHLG, OHLY, SZNG, UKBP; vendor records: XBCP, XCAS, XIBE, XPUV, XTOU. Also exclude acquisition records ((XXX a-9115)

** NUC 1956-1967, and NUC 1968-1972, are not limited to imprints of their respective

dates, and thus include earlier imprints as well.

Appendix 10


II. Serials

A. RLIN--search by title and/or corporate author

1. Exact match required. Check LON record to verify complete bibliographic info.

2. Identify up to 3 US or Canadian library locations from MUL records.

3. Record location symbols, excluding those listed below. *

4. Confirm exact holdings of requested issues, volumes from PAR records.

5. Search online library catalogs if exact holdings not in PAR record.

B. OCLC--search by title and/or corporate author when:

-additional locations are required

-title not found in RLIN

1. Exact match required. (See A1 above)

2. Identify up to 3 US or Canadian library locations from collective records.

3. Record location symbols, excluding those listed below. *

4. Search online library catalogs to confirm exact holdings of requested issues,


C. National Union Catalog--search by title and/or corporate author

Use Pre-1956 Imprints, including its Supplement, for pre-1956publications. Use NUC 1956-1967 for imprints earlier than 1968, and NUC 1968-1972 for imprints earlier than 1973. **

1. Exact match required (see A1 above)

2. Search online library catalogs to confirm exact holdings of requested issues,


D. Newspapers in Microform (3 vols at Olin Info Desk)--search by place of publication

and/or title

1. Exact match required, but only brief bibliographic/holdings info in NIM.

2. Search online library catalogs to confirm exact holdings of requested issues,


* Exclusion symbols: AULG, DCLC, ESNG, FRBG, FRLG, GYMG, GYMN, GYMO, ILRC, JGTR, OHCO, OHCP, OHHH, OHLG, OHLY, SZNG, UKBP; vendor records: XBCP, XCAS, XIBE, XPUV, XTOU. Also exclude acquisition records ((XXX a-9115)

** NUC 1956-1967, and NUC 1968-1972, are not limited to imprints of their respective

dates, and thus include earlier imprints as well.


11. Searching Flowchart, Monographs


12. Searching Flowchart, Serials


13. Checklist, Searching Results of ILL Requests (Work Form)


14. Summary of Searching Results, CUL ILL Requests Filled by CRL in FY 1997/98


15. Statement / Julie Copenhagen (OKU)

It is very hard to quantify the erosion of service to Cornell patrons that would occur should we drop out of CRL. This is because a very wide range of unique material is accessed in different ways from year to year. The in-depth evaluation of ILL requests filled by CRL for Olin unit, 1997/98 is a fascinating snapshop of one year's activity. This may be the only way to get at any actual quantitative data. However, to study a representative sample from one fiscal year will never accurately represent the intrinsic value of CRL.

I have listed the main categories which are heavily used below. None of this material is readily available in a comprehensive form anywhere else. Though we may be able to borrow bits and pieces, the loan period is limited to two or four weeks. Usually no more than five items (often less) of a given title can be lent at once. Contrast this to CRL's policy: as much as you want for as long as you want.

1) census microfilm

2) foreign dissertations

3) filmed records from the National Archives

4) reference material

5) microfilmed newspapers - domestic and foreign

6) many large microfilm sets

(2 very heavily used sets are the Schatz Collection of Opera Librettos and Sanborn Maps)

7) journals - hard copy and microfilm

8) the actual guides to their many collections

CRL has proved invaluable to the serious Cornell researcher. Those who use it most heavily are undergraduates working on senior honors theses, graduate students writing their dissertations and faculty members writing books. It would be no exaggeration to say that CRL has played a major role in the success of many of those projects. Though we will always be able to borrow widely held monographs or get photocopy of articles in standard serials through regular interlibrary loan channels, CRL helps us to provide the higher standard of service our patrons have come to rely on and expect.


16. Statement / Nancy Moore (Law)

The Center for Research Libraries, in my opinion, is an invaluable asset. It contains much material that is not easily available anywhere else and that most libraries do not have room to collect. It makes sense to me that large research libraries should support CRL’s efforts if to preserve and maintain material they themselves are not collecting but whose students and faculty are using for scholarly research.

The Center is very good about purchasing materials they do not own. A law student needed a foreign thesis for work he was doing. The only copy I could find was in an Italian library. Knowing that CRL has an extensive collection of foreign theses, I sent an ILL request to them. They did not own this particular thesis, but asked if I wanted them to purchase it. I said yes. About six months later, I was notified that the thesis was available. The student still needed the material and was very happy to have use of the thesis. Without CRL, it is unlikely that the student would have been able to use this material for his work.

Much of the material I get from CRL is for our three law reviews. They usually need material longer that the month that most libraries lend for. CRL lends material for one year. This is perfect for the law reviews and for our graduate students who are usually using material on a long-term basis. Another problem the Center solves for me is copyright compliance. Many times, I get requests to interlibrary loan six or seven articles from the same newspaper. I cannot use the electronic copies of the newspapers that are widely available because the protocol for law reviews is that they must see every item in its original form. Electronic verification is not allowed. Since the number of articles cited often exceeds the copyright guidelines, I can usually borrow as many reels of the newspaper as I need from the Center and avoid copyright fees.

Not belonging to CRL would be difficult. Non-members are allowed only 10 filled requests a year (a combination of both loans and photocopies). Cornell would be counted as one university. They would not take into consideration that there are 6 Cornell libraries that do their own interlibrary loan and let us each have 10 filled requests. Since I can generate more that 10 requests a year myself and I’m a small borrowing unit, Cornell would certainly use up its 10 requests quickly. The loan period for non-members is only two weeks and the loan fee is $25.00, which must be prepaid. It would be almost impossible to gain any meaningful access to CRL’s collection if Cornell was not a member. Also, if other research libraries are considering dropping their membership and the Center isn’t supported, then this important collection will be lost to everyone. It seems to me Cornell and the other big research libraries have a duty to try to preserve material for future users and not just think about short-term costs

Nancy Moore

Interlibrary Loan

Cornell Law Library

Myron Taylor Hall


17. Statement / Cindy Golos (Mann)

October 4, 1999

To the Committee:

In response to the question asked concerning our experiences with CRL, I want to first say that I have been a Mann Library employee since last October. All related situations have occurred within that time frame. I cannot give a history of the quality of services we received from them prior to that date.

When I was first trained in interlibrary borrowing, ILRC was described to me as, "A good resource for a variety of items that are hard to find elsewhere." I have found that to be true in terms of their collection, but we have been disappointed with their services, namely their turn-around time and their inability/unwillingness to address "problem" requests or follow up inquiries.

One example I can give, involved a project our preservation department was conducting with several titles, mainly American Poultry World and Farm-Poultry. The issues we were seeking copies from dated as far back as 1912 and they were the only possible lender we found.

Several requests were submitted for both titles and most we did receive without concerns. However, approximately 10% were not filled. We did not receive any notification on RLIN, not only as to why, but we were not informed by any means that they would not be filled. We contacted them several times to find out if the requests were being processed and after 6 weeks time, we concluded on our own that they were unfilled. There were others that were filled, but came incomplete - missing pages or containing pages that were cut off or illegible. We went on-line to request the faulty or missing pages be resent. We did not receive a response nor any of the requested resends. I eventually sent them a fax containing information on all the outstanding requests specific to the preservation project. I did not receive any correspondence regarding the message. I phoned approximately one week later and explained the situation and also mentioned that I had sent a fax containing all the information. The gentleman I spoke with was not able to offer any explanation but did say he would look into the outstanding requests.

We never received the missing/faulty pages for the incomplete requests nor did we hear back on those that were unfilled. The person in charge of the project eventually left employment at Mann and so the project was resolved without the material. This story highlights what is typical of the services we have received from them in the last year and is not an isolated incident.

It appears that we have a lesser need for CRL membership than other libraries as the bulk of the material requested by our patrons we can find elsewhere. We found their service for the preservation project requests to be less than ideal. Were it not a campus wide membership, it would not seem worth it for Mann to continue being a member due to the lack of demand for material only they can fill, questionable services and the other options we could utilize with them, such as paying per fill.


Cynthia Golos

ILS Coordinator

Mann Library