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MIT and Harvard announce joint library initiative

Today, MIT and Harvard libraries announced a joint initiative that marks a future of greater integration between their collective resources. Goals of the new plan include enabling reciprocal book requests, increasing access to digitized information, and sharing of physical resources between the two universities.

Ann J. Wolpert, director of MIT Libraries, is excited about the new opportunities that are being made available by the new agreement. The two libraries are currently working to form an implementation plan, which is expected to be finished by the end of 2011.

According to Wolpert, MIT and Harvard libraries have had both formal and informal interactions over the years. This new initiative, however, is the first time both will work together to share technical resources.

The plan aims to increase digital preservation and collection practices by establishing a new technical platform to host the libraries’ content and catalogs. In addition, the libraries plan to set up a new joint off-site storage facility.

Wolpert said that both libraries are planning to invest in a new technical platform that will introduce support for a greater variety of multimedia resources. The new technical platform is also planned to support data mining from various online resources that will enable users to access news on current events and research developments.

Last April, Harvard and MIT began a pilot program to make their collections easily available to undergraduates from both schools. Reciprocal borrowing privileges were already available to faculty, researchers, and graduate students.

—Robert McQueen