NYARC: One for all, and all for one?

NYARC Holdings OverlapBrian and I are working with four New York City art museum libraries on a collection analysis of their joint bibliographic holdings. The institutions in question:

We have (actually, in all fairness I should say: Brian has) completed a preliminary analysis, and now we are starting to focus on evaluating the implications of the data together with our four project partners. Constance has also been invaluable in speculating about the meaning hidden behind the raw figures, and what kinds of conclusions they support. While we’re not ready to go public with the full set of data or with our interpretation of it, I thought I’d share some background on the project to wet your appetite for a forthcoming publication this fall. And I’ve thrown in some teaser data just because I could.

Under the auspices of a planning grant sponsored by the Mellon Foundation, the four art museum libraries listed above formed the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC) to explore deep collaboration. (Three of the four have already announced a joint ILS [pdf] project.) We engaged NYARC in the analysis project to supply the art museum libraries with the business intelligence they need to make informed decisions about the nature of their collaborative efforts. The analysis determines the size of the collective NYARC collection, the extent of holdings overlap as well as uniquely held materials. The project also compiles statistics about specific types of materials the consortium holds a special interest in, such as auction catalogs, exhibition catalogs and serials. A comparison of the NYARC holdings to a set of three local research libraries (New York Public Library, New York University and Columbia University), as well as a west-coast peer institution (Getty Research Institute) provides additional context for the findings.

And here’s the teaser data from the analysis:

Size & Holding Overlap

  • Aggregate Collection: 962,290 unique titles
  • Holdings Overlap: One percent of titles are held by all four libraries; 83 percent of titles are held by only one library (these figures exclude the library’s auction catalog holdings as captured in SCIPIO)

General Characteristics

  • Auction Catalogs: 14 percent of the NYARC collection
  • Collections (mainly vertical files): 12 percent of the NYARC collection
  • Serials: 2 percent of the NYARC collection

Beyond the NYARC

  • 39 percent of the NYARC collection are unique compared to OCLC WorldCat
  • 66 percent of the NYARC collection are unique compared to New York Public Library, New York University and Columbia University

Much more detail will emerge once we’ve written this up for publication!

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