Jul 032013

UK Research Reserve (UKRR), a collaborative programme between the HE sector and the British Library (BL), aims to preserve research material for the community and build up a national research collection in a time of rapid change. By de-duplicating low-use research material together, UKRR members (29 HEIs, led by Imperial College London, details can be found on UKRR’s website: http://www.ukrr.ac.uk/what/default.aspx) are able to dispose of print journals and repurpose newly available space to better meet local demands, without losing access to the content. So far, UKRR members have released more than 70km of shelf space, or 10,700 square metres, and it is estimated that more than £21m capital savings and £8m estate management costs have been achieved.

The HE-BL partnership is supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). It started with an 18-month pilot phase which proved the concept and set the foundation for the programme. Its success resulted in HEFCE’s further investment of £10m to expand the scheme nationally and to encourage more HEIs to take part. UKRR has been further awarded an extension of 12 months to January 2015; it enables us to de-duplicate more material, improve our data, and explore potential opportunities.

The collaborative and coordinated approach we have adopted aims to identify one ‘access copy’ (normally held by the British Library) and two preservation copies distributed amongst the membership. To achieve this, one of the processes we put in place is called scarcity checking (i.e. a process designed to determine if an item offered by one member is available elsewhere within the membership, and if so, at which institutions ), and the collaboration with EDINA helps streamline work flow and save time and staff resources required in the process. Initially, the scarcity checking was conducted by each member institution as they offered holdings to UKRR for de-duplication. It was time consuming and prone to errors and inaccuracy.

A successful pilot was run between the University of Edinburgh (one of UKRR members) UKRR and EDINA. EDINA developed a script which triggered an automatic process to accept a file of records submitted by a UKRR member for searching against the whole SUNCAT database and the local catalogues of the two UKRR libraries which are not SUNCAT Contributing Libraries. This collaboration has contributed to the quality of the data we process, helped reduce associated risks and significantly reduced the time required for checking in member libraries. As a result we have more reliable data to base our final de-duplication decisions on.

UKRR’s work with its partners is key to the programme’s success, and such collaborations further demonstrate synergies that can be created when the community work together. We value the work that EDINA has done for us, and we look forward to continuing working with EDINA and to bringing benefits and values to the community.

Daryl Yang, UKRR Manager