CONUL plan to open up national library collections

Christopher Pressler and Siobhán Fitzpatrick, CONUL, with Minister for Education & Skills Richard Bruton



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23 November 2016 | 0

The Consortium of National and University Libraries (CONUL) has launched a plan for a shared national online catalogue, that will make all collections held by research libraries across Ireland searchable by the public online. This step would bring Ireland in line with its European and US counterparts, where national catalogues are available to citizens.

The Consortium encompasses the whole island of Ireland and is open to all research institutions with significant print and digital collections. It has a user community of nearly a quarter of a million people throughout the country.

Christopher Pressler, member of the board of CONUL and University Librarian, Dublin City University said: “Libraries are at the heart of research, education and public engagement. CONUL research libraries are fundamental in supporting researchers’ needs and provide the critical role of preserving and curating data for continuous discovery and mining.

“Our strategy aims to create a national catalogue in Ireland within the next 24 months whereby any member of the public will have access to the wealth of knowledge and collections in our libraries. The national catalogue will ensure the democratisation of knowledge, giving the public online access to Ireland’s shared memory.”

Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Chair of CONUL, said: “Our libraries are holders of the heritage and knowledge content of Ireland – over 10 million items – and we aim to make these resources as visible and accessible as possible. Ireland has been falling behind in terms of international standards compared to the US and many European countries, who have union catalogues which collate all holdings of national and university libraries and have been available to citizens for some time.

“We have been at the forefront of advocating for the Open Access and Open Science agendas on a European and international level. CONUL makes regular submissions to Government in relation to data and knowledge sharing, the streamlining of copyright law across the EU and the agenda to enable portability of data.

“We believe that all publicly funded publications should be free and available to members of the public and we are working with publishers to extend licences that determine access rights. I look forward to increased collaboration between our member libraries, and working with our 1,000 staff librarians to realise the strategic goals of CONUL over the coming years.”

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