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Exploring the Impact of Digitization on Print Usage

Thomas H. Teper, Vera S. Kuipers

Abstract: Librarians and administrators speculate that the digitization and access of items through the HathiTrust Digital Library may reduce or eliminate demand for the corresponding print content. This belief feeds into a perception that monographs housed in academic libraries and delivered via such services are ripe for deduplication or outright withdrawal, yet other institutions may remain dependent upon those holding titles to provide print-based access for their patrons. Embracing HathiTrust’s emerging Shared Print Monograph Program, more than seventy-nine member institutions committed to retain print monographs that correspond to those digitized from their collections. Putting aside concerns expressed by some about the meaningfulness of those commitments, not all members made such commitments. Moreover, retention commitments are not always publicly displayed, leading to scenarios in which such commitments may be used by other institutions to withdraw from their collections, based on these holdings. This paper provides a data-driven examination of the use of one research library’s print items that correspond to the digital materials deposited into the HathiTrust, detailing both the results and the process by which data was gathered, managed, and digested to yield the results.
Keywords: digital / library / correspond / items / members / HathiTrust / holding / print monographs

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