Research by Paul N. Courant cited in Inside Higher Ed about library book sharing

March 16, 2011

Research by Paul N. Courant was cited in an Inside Higher Ed article, "Pays to Share," about the rising cost of maintaining libraries and the academic-led book digitization project HathiTrust.

HathiTrust is a cooperative, based at the University of Michigan, of more than 50 libraries and 8.2 million pieces of digitized works. It is predicted that by 2014 HathiTrust will have digitized 60 percent of all U.S. libraries, but experts say it will still be years before traditional book-based libraries become extinct. With the rising costs of accruing and maintaining books, many libraries are sharing books to save money.

Courant's study, cited in this article, investigated the costs associated with on- vs. off-site storage of print collections. Courant, with co-author Matthew (Buzzy) Nielsen (MPP '08), found that it costs $4.26 per book per year for a book to be stored on-site and only $.86 per book per year to be stored in an off-site facility. Courant's report, "The Idea of Order: Transforming Research Collections for 21st Century Scholarship" is available through the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).