CRL's Certification and Assessment of Portico and HathiTrust:

This year the Center for Research Libraries will undertake in-depth assessments of two repositories of interest to the CRL community:  Portico and HathiTrust.  The purpose of this is to promote understanding of and, where justified, confidence in, digital repositories.  In today’s economic climate, libraries must realize the greatest possible return on their investment in electronic scholarly resources and digital preservation services, and must move more aggressively to reduce the costs of redundant print holdings.  


Portico has agreed to cooperate with the CRL audit, with the goal of certification as a trustworthy digital repository.  HathiTrust has asked CRL to assess its digital repository, which includes not only Google Books digitization content but a considerable amount of non-Google content as well.  Concurrently CRL is working with LOCKSS to assess the capabilities of the LOCKSS system for harvesting and archiving digitized primary source materials and related metadata.  CRL is also gathering information about regional efforts to host licensed digital content locally.


CRL will report its findings at a workshop in November.  The CRL workshop will provide an opportunity to share useful information about the costs, benefits and risks of the various cooperative repositories and preservation services. 


To guide its assessments CRL has formed a panel of advisors who represent the various sectors of its membership.  The Certification Advisory Panel will ensure that the certification process addresses the interests of the entire CRL community, and will include leaders in collection development, preservation, and information technology. Its members are: 


Martha Brogan (Chair)

Director of Collection Development & Management

University of Pennsylvania


Winston Atkins

Preservation Officer

Duke University


Bart Harloe

Director of Libraries

St. Lawrence University


William Parod

Senior Repository Developer

Northwestern University Libraries


Anne Pottier

Associate University Librarian

McMaster University


Oya Y. Rieger

Associate University Librarian for Information Technologies

Cornell University


Perry Willett

Digital Preservation Services Manager

California Digital Library


The work of the panel will be particularly timely.  The economic downturn is forcing library directors to confront the formidable and growing costs of managing physical collections. Most libraries now face difficult decisions about acquiring and maintaining physical collections.   Preserving and maintaining shared physical collections at CRL will continue to benefit libraries, as it has for the past sixty years.  Certification will augment CRL’s strategic archiving of print, and support a responsible transition to electronic-only formats where appropriate.  Toward that end, CRL is working with the University of California to design a shared print journal archiving effort that suits CRL member needs and means. A further call for participation in that project will be issued in the near future.


With this hybrid strategy CRL hopes to enable its community to accelerate the shift to electronic-only resources in a careful and responsible manner.  The work of the Certification Advisory Panel will support that effort. 


Bernard F. Reilly


Center for Research Libraries

6050 South Kenwood Avenue

Chicago, IL 60637-2804



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fax:      773-955-4339

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The Center for Research Libraries is an international partnership of over 240 universities, colleges and independent research libraries.  CRL supports advanced research and learning in the humanities, sciences and social sciences by ensuring the survival and accessibility of source materials vital to those disciplines.