May 19, 2022

New Report From OCLC Research: “Print Management at ‘Mega-scale’: a Regional Perspective on Print Book Collections in North America”

Released today by OCLC Research.


Print Management at “Mega-scale”: a Regional Perspective on Print Book Collections in North America


Brian Lavoie, OCLC Research
Constance Malpas, OCLC Research
JD Shipengrover, OCLC Research


The report, Print Management at “Mega-Scale”: A Regional Perspective on Print Book Collections in North America, provides insight into the characteristics of a network of regionally consolidated print collections, key relationships across these collections, and their implications for system-wide issues such as information access, mass digitization, resource sharing, and preservation of library resources.

An analysis of regionally consolidated print collections requires a framework of regional consolidation, as well as data to support collection analysis within that framework. Our work in this area utilized urbanist Richard Florida’s mega-regions framework and the WorldCat bibliographic database to explore the North American print book resource as a network of regionally consolidated shared collections. Mega-regions are geographical regions defined on the basis of economic integration and other forms of interdependence. Using the mega-regions framework as the basis for a theoretical consolidation of library print resources enabled us to re-imagine the “natural boundaries” of collection management and to consider these regional aggregations in the context of shared traditions, mutual interests, and the needs of overlapping constituencies. The result is a new mapping of North American print collections against empirically derived zones of economic and cultural integration, robust knowledge flows, and networks of exchange.

Analysis of the regional collections is synthesized into a set of stylized facts describing their salient characteristics, as well as key cross-regional relationships among the collections. These stylized facts motivate a number of key implications regarding access, management, preservation, and other topics considered in the context of a network of regionally consolidated print book collections. The report also provides a simple framework for organizing the landscape of print book collection consolidation models, as well as for clarifying and distinguishing basic assumptions regarding print consolidation. Print Management at “Mega-scale” offers a unique perspective on the new geography of library service provision, in which services and collections are increasingly organized “above the institution.”

Direct to Full Text (62 pages; PDF)

Additional Info/Background via OCLC Research Project Activity Page

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.