I have spent the last few days at the RLG Partnership Meeting in Boston. RLG is part of OCLC Research, and since the merger, the RLG staff and members have been transforming the partnership into more of a research organization that is helping libraries improve research information management, to mobilize their unique materials and special collections, to support and manage metadata creation, to improve library infrastructure, to improve system-wide organization, and to develop opportunities for funding and corporate support. This meeting showed that RLG's program is solidifying and beginning to achieve some results. All of the presentations will be on the RLG website very soon.
One of the take-aways for me is along list of projects and websites that show how libraries are approaching data curation or research information management (RIM). For example, RLG's RIM Research Services Project urges academic libraries to take a more significant role in their institutions' mission to support research. In this project, the RLG Partners are developing a list of potential services that an academic library might offer to the institution's younger researchers to assist them.
I plan to take a look at these projects and/or websites such as EthicShare from the University of Minnesota–a collaborative virtual community, The EU's Economists Online which demonstrates full-text access through an institutional repository; the University of Prince Edward Island's Mollusc Health Laboratory; AIRS (Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing); Enlighten–research publications by members of the U. of Glasgow staff that are being integrated into the institution's research system.
A couple of take-aways from a session called Thinking About Copyright are that the University of Michigan has good practices for dealing with digitizing materials published between 1923 and 1963, the OCLC Copyright Evidenced Registry is now online, and a CNI report by Denis Covey Troll published in 2006 shows how much it costs to make a "reasonable" effort to find copyright information . John Wilkin of the U. of Michigan says that finding copyright renewal information is cheap — about $1.70 a title.
WorldCat shows that about 15% of the US imprints, or about 2 million titles) were published between 1923 and 1963. Another study showed that up to70% of imprints in this period are actually in the public domain. that means that about 1.4 million titles could be digitized, which would greatly increase the number of items available. (By the way, 69% of the titles i WorldCat are books published outside the U.S.). This brings up the question of whether doing orphan work investigations are really a worthy investment for research libraries. RLG will focus research based on unpublished materials to find out what to do next with regard to the ability to digitize them.
There are very interesting digital things happening at the National Library of New Zealand — take a look at Digital New Zealand. It's not a portal. Instead you can pull a widget into your own environment and then search across the country for all kinds of content. New Zealand and Australia are collaborating to create a combined search possibility.
Look at the RLG website http://www.oclc.org/programs/default.htm) for much more information shared at the meeting.