7 Million New Items

Through the launch of a Shared Collection Service developed in partnership with Princeton University Library and The New York Public Library, Columbia added over seven million items to its catalog this month. Columbia faculty, students, and staff now have access to the expanded collection through the Columbia catalog, CLIO. Users can locate additional items in CLIO and request direct delivery to campus.

With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (ReCAP) partner institutions - Columbia University, Princeton University, and The New York Public Library (NYPL) - began a project in 2013 to transform the management of the ReCAP offsite storage facility from a shared physical shelving space to a shared collection of materials accessible to all three partners. The project goals were twofold: to better manage and preserve the shared collection, and to create the technical infrastructure necessary to allow cross-partner borrowing between institutions. Upon its completion, the project has enabled each organization to provide its patrons with seamless discovery and direct request of the ReCAP materials of all partners, thus empowering its users with a more diverse selection of resources than ever before. 

"My work in the history of science will benefit tremendously from this expansive new integrated collection," said Pamela Smith, Seth Low Professor of History and Director of the Center for Science and Society at Columbia. "Because NYPL and Princeton have collected in the history of science with a different audience in mind, the variety of materials now available hold great promise for new perspectives and connections in research."

The technical infrastructure was implemented in early fall 2017, integrating more than seven million items from Princeton and NYPL into Columbia’s CLIO catalog for discovery and delivery. Now, faculty, students, and staff of Columbia and its affiliates can request Princeton and NYPL materials directly from the ReCAP offsite facility using the “Offsite Request” link in CLIO, just as they have done with Columbia materials at ReCAP.

"I recently found several sources for my research on Spanish antiquities that were catalogued in CLIO, but not owned by Columbia," said Angel Jiang, a Ph.D. candidate in art history and archaeology. "Fortunately, I was able to use ReCAP and request the materials from NYPL. Everything arrived very quickly, which was a great help."

This project will facilitate not only rapid delivery of material - including electronic delivery of journal articles - but also improves the management of materials, empowering each partner institution to build deeper, broader, and stronger collections.

"This project model has prompted the investigation of other opportunities for similar cooperative arrangements that would allow Columbia researchers direct access to the collections of consortial partners," said Breck Witte, Director of Library Information Technology. "Columbia's ability to quickly add millions of records to CLIO will enable us to build a truly unified catalog that includes content held by these partners as well as direct unmediated request for delivery."

ReCAP was created in 2000 to support its members’ goals of preserving their library and archival collections and providing access to researchers. ReCAP consists of a preservation repository and resource sharing services, jointly owned and operated by Columbia University, the NYPL, and Princeton, and located on Princeton's Forrestal Campus. More than 14 million items are currently in ReCAP's care and used to fulfill approximately 250,000 requests for materials each year, from its partners and from libraries around the world.

For more information about how to use the ReCAP service, visit library.columbia.edu/find/request/off-site or e-mail recap@library.columbia.edu with specific questions.

F17_ReCAP_Facility 2
Opened in 2000, the ReCAP facility on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus has since expanded and now holds more than 14 million items.