Library Consortia in Europe

Authored by: Tommaso Giordano

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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In the professional literature the term “consortium” covers a great diversity of cooperative situations and experiences according to the different contexts and times in which it was developed. In this entry the term “consortium” will accordingly be discussed with its meaning restricted to structured cooperative activities aimed at acquiring and administering electronic information resources in European countries. More exactly, this definition here includes consortium initiatives in which the main program is focused on activities related to the purchasing of electronic licenses (academic journals, databases, etc.) and handling access to, and archiving of, the collections acquired. Recently library consortium initiatives have shown increasing attention to new issues of major interest for future developments: among these, long-term preservation of electronic resources (including noncommercial publications and institutional repositories), digitalization programs, acquisition of backfiles, etc. Regarding types of libraries, it should be kept in mind that the development of consortia for electronic resource sharing has so far spread chiefly among university libraries, and research and higher education communities. There are also some cases of direct, active involvement of national libraries. One can, however, note almost everywhere the growing involvement of public libraries in consortial activities. This entry focuses on the territory that forms the European Union (currently 27 countries) and some countries which, while not officially a part of this organization, are found within its geopolitical area. The countries of the former Soviet Union have not been included in this study.

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