46th Liber Conference Presentation – July 5-7, 2017 , Patras, Greece

46th LIBER Annual Conference – ConfTool Pro Printout
European Print Initiatives Collaboration (EPICo)
Daryl Yang , Brigitte Kromp , Wolfgang Mayer , Santi Balagué , Chris Banks , Jean Louis Baraggioli, Jonny Edvardsen , Ulrich Niederer , Pentti Vattulainen

Organisation(s): Imperial College London, United Kingdom; Universität Wien; GEPA; National Library of Norway; CTLes; National Repository Library Finland; Zentral- & Hochschulbibliothek Luzern
Presenting Author: Mayer, Wolfgang wolf.mayer@univie.ac.at
Topics: Strategy and Innovation, Sustainability
Keywords: Print collection, collaboration, archiving, repository, European


There is no doubt librarians of the 21st century work in an exciting era – technological advancement, Open policy, diverse library users, political and economic factors, etc. give us overwhelming information to digest, and unprecedented challenges to find solutions for. We all want to not only meet but exceed users’ expectation, and in the process of that, we have noticed something from the past (and continues to the present) has been calling for our attention.

For most research libraries, print collections are assets that have been accumulated over decades, if not centuries; it costs money to acquire them, and to take care of them. At a time when digital development never ceases to amaze us, it has become a concern, even a burden, for libraries to justify resources required to retain print items and to progress to where they want to be. However, it is also irresponsible to adopt a reckless approach to simply bin all. Librarians across Europe have faced this dilemma for decades, and many, in different countries, have identified a shared-service model as the way forward after years of debates and discussions amongst local communities.

Before and after the turn of the century, the idea of managing print collaboratively and nationally has begun to be adopted in several European countries and various schemes/repository libraries have been developed as a result. As of today, some of these programmes have been in operations and served their local communities for a significant period of time.

As national programmes progress and establish their positions locally, the time feels right to expand such principles and spirit and seek collaborative opportunities at a European level – a vision shared by seven European Print initiatives. In 2015, Shared Archiving Austria, CTLes (France), GEPA (Catalonia), the National Repository Library (Finland), the Repository Library of Norway, UKRR, and ZHB Luzern (Switzerland) sit down together, discussed such vision and relevant issues, and jointly created the European Print Initiatives Collaboration (EPICo).

EPICo believes that ‘a comprehensive and robust research and information infrastructure is essential for Europe’s wellbeing, now and in the future. We are concerned that, at a time of unprecedented change in the ways information is collected, stored and disseminated, there is a real danger that some of the important printed resources in our European libraries may be at risk.’ Regular workshops and meetings have been organised to facilitate information exchange and to identify potential areas for collaboration amongst the group with the goal to provide best practice tool kits, e.g. models for savings/performance indicators for the assessment of print archiving projects.

A sustainable future for print material, we believe, is about working together and sharing. Through the Pitch session, we want to share EPICo’s work so far with attendees, meet other similar initiatives, and invite those who are interested in joining or simply finding out more about EPICo. A LIBER conference offers a perfect platform for EPICo to expand its reach and scope, and to strengthen our work on European print initiative collaboration – we’d be delighted to be there.