The future of print collections is shared. Embedding shared print within the lifecycle of library collections promotes equity of access, enriches the scholarly record and increases opportunities for research and teaching. A well-developed collaborative and interoperable infrastructure ensures we will realize the full potential of our networks and their collective collections.


The California Digital Library, the Center for Research Libraries, and HathiTrust are committed to shared print’s integration into the scholarly ecosystem by developing shared, interoperable infrastructure. We see this collaboration as an opportunity to shift the shared print paradigm so that the work is not tangential to the traditional collection, but fully integrated into the life-cycle of collections (from acquisitions to discovery and resource-sharing). The work we are facilitating will be guided by our principles and centered on our assumptions.


As CDL, CRL, and HathiTrust undertake a facilitative leadership role gathering the threads of the broader shared print community’s considerable efforts in order to advance shared print’s transition to a new phase of integration and interoperability our work will be guided by the following principles:


The work we facilitate will be community driven with a focus on being open, accountable and consistent.


The work we facilitate will require the engagement of many, diverse stakeholders across the library and research community.

Public Good

The work we facilitate will prioritize the betterment of libraries and scholarly communities.


The work we facilitate will take a nimble approach implementing community priorities and development based on community feedback.


The work we facilitate has our organizations in a leadership role building upon what others have already started or done.


These shared assumptions guide the work that we are embarking on as a community to develop new shared print infrastructure. Throughout this document we are using the term infrastructure to mean a suite of open tools, applications, and collaborative networks that leverage the technology to support shared print and the life cycle of print. It includes functions like data normalization, discovery, analytics, reporting, etc. and agreed upon standards, workflows, and related applications to support them. Interoperable refers to following standard formats and building the functionality to input/output the data and access the data according to a variety of standards in order to connect to other library systems and needs.

The collaboration recognizes that the community needs:

  • an infrastructure to support cross program and library collaboration, starting in the North American context, with the potential to connect to a larger context.

  • an infrastructure that is interoperable with other library systems.

  • an infrastructure benefiting both the shared print community and the larger library and scholarly research community.

  • an infrastructure designed to support collection development and management decision-making regardless of format (monographs, serials, etc).

  • an infrastructure that is enduring and designed to accommodate ongoing maintenance and developments.

  • a transparent, credible business and governance model characterized by inclusivity, broad engagement, and a mindset of community stewardship overall and particularly when determining licensing and hosting models.

  • metadata quality and completeness that provide our community with opportunities to rationalize and standardize metadata where the return on investment merits.