Abstract: Project ReShare: An Open, Community-Owned, Resource Sharing Solution
The ReShare Community is a group of libraries, U.S. consortia (BTAA, GWLA, Ivy Plus Libraries, PALCI, and TRLN), information organizations, and developers, with both commercial and non-commercial interests, who came together in 2018 to create a new and open approach to library resource sharing systems. Libraries have long established protocols and agreements among local, regional, national, and international networks to provide discovery and access to print and digital resources, extending the use and value of each library’s collection exponentially. However, current resource sharing solutions leave much to be desired. The marketplace has been characterized by stagnating technology, closed or siloed environments, and a consolidation of commercial options, leaving consortia to desire a fresh start; a re-imagined infrastructure that promotes an increased ability to innovate, experiment, and communicate across diverse library systems (ILS, discovery, resource sharing, etc.) and more sustainably pursue shared collection development and print retention initiatives. ReShare aims to inject new life into the space by developing a community-owned, modular resource sharing platform, enabling libraries and consortia to place library users at the center, from discovery, to request management and fulfillment. Project ReShare’s key differentiator is its foundation as a wholly community-owned solution. This approach offers libraries and commercial partners a fundamentally new model for shaping collections and connecting people with what they need, by greatly deepening our ability to collaborate and develop systems responsive to the needs of libraries and their users. In this paper, members of the Project ReShare Steering Committee and Product Management Team explore the frustrations with the current resource sharing environment, share perspectives on the importance of community-owned, open source tools, and discuss the benefits of this type of collaboration for the library community at large. The paper tells the story of Project ReShare, including how it is being developed, how the community has grown, and the potential for this new resource sharing solution.
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