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Academic Alliance Pulling 15 Institutional Libraries into Single, Shared Collection

Fifteen universities will be managing their library collections as a single, shared entity. Dubbed "BIG Collection," the project is being undertaken by the library deans and directors of the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA), a decades-old group of institutions that collaborate "for the common good."

According to organizers, the objective of the BIG Collection is to create a system in which content will be made "universally available" to all faculty, staff and students in the Big Ten, no matter who produced or purchased the materials. Underpinning the operations will be a shared infrastructure. The work is being overseen by a steering committee, as it works to bridge 15 separate libraries into a single collection.

"The BIG Collection is really about collaboration, impact and efficiency," said Joseph Salem, Jr., Michigan State University dean of Libraries and the newest appointee to the steering committee, in a statement. "Together, the Big Ten Libraries account for 22 percent of the printed word in English. When we coordinate our efforts, we can increase that or more efficiently and economically share that same amount of material across the Big Ten. It's really exciting to think about how a shared system will allow individual libraries to build specialized collections that can be used by everybody affiliated with the BTAA. This will increase access to materials for all of our users. It's just a tremendous initiative!"

Two important aspects of MSU's participation is inclusion of the Libraries' Affordable Textbook Program, which targets high-enrollment courses that have committed to the use of open educational resources; and the related OER Program, which awards grants to instructors and trains them to create or adapt OER course materials.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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