Council of New Zealand University Librarians

2013 to 2014

Background and challenges

Council of New Zealand University Librarians (CONZUL) is a Committee of Universities New Zealand, and works collaboratively to improve access to information resources that support teaching, learning and research. As a cost reduction measure they agreed to off-site store their low-use research serial publications to a sole provider. Not only would this free up limited storage space it enable de-duplication as many of the university libraries hold copies of the same serial titles. It was envisaged that universities would be able to reduce their total holdings, and therefore their total storage costs by up to 50 percent. Crucial to this exercise was the ability to create a centralised database that all libraries can access and a methodology for delivery of requested items to any of the participating sites.

The solution

The initial Tender requested physical delivery of retrieved items around the country. As part of post-tender discussions, Crown advised CONZUL to adopt a scan-on-demand service only using physical delivery as an exception. Throughout the entire project Crown had to be sensitive to the requirement for the ongoing care of the items sent to storage. We worked with CONZUL to develop templates for creating a single national database and procedures for the ongoing management of their holding. To date, the holding encompasses just under 20,000 cartons and 450,000 individually tracked volumes. Each university packed the volumes on-site for transfer to storage. Crown provided desktop and physical auditing services until CONZUL were confident that errors were not occurring during the pack process.

The outcome

The initial upload of titles is now nearly complete with only one university yet to commence the transfer process. Volumes will continue to be added in the future but at a reduced rate. As each university moved their holdings to Crown, the other university libraries were able to view the database of titles now held at Crown and discard any duplicated items from their collections. Previously each university independently met their own collection storage costs. They now share the storage costs of a jointly-owned collection of low-use research materials. Now, when end-users request a title, the university library staff order it from Crown who retrieve it, scan it and deliver it back to the library electronically.