May 16, 2022

Cornell and Columbia University Libraries Announce Plans to Integrate Technical Serivces Departments With Funding From Mellon Foundation

Say Hello to Phase 2 of the 2CUL Partnership.

From a Joint News Release:

The libraries at Columbia University and Cornell University are taking an unprecedented new step in their 2CUL partnership: integrating a major part of their operations.

Thanks to a three-year, $350,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the two libraries will integrate their technical services departments. These departments purchase and license library materials, such as books, e-books, e-journals, databases and more, and they provide data so that users can find and use those materials.


For library users, the 2CUL integration will mean better and faster access to more materials — including licensed journal articles, foreign materials and other content. When negotiating with vendors and other third parties for services and content, the technical services operation will exercise bargaining power on behalf of both research libraries.

The integration will also include:

  • Seeking a common library management system that integrates data and workflows;
  • Establishing collaborative collection building and coordinated processing;
  • Reviewing policies, practices, workflows and job responsibilities at each institution, with an eye toward reconciling them as much as possible;
  • Drafting best practices and guidelines; and
  • Adopting a new organizational structure and culture.


During its “Phase 1” period, the 2CUL partnership made several major advancements, including:

  • Allowing Columbia and Cornell faculty, students and staff to borrow materials from either library on-site and expedite access through intercampus loan delivery;
  • Building joint collections and sharing librarians and language expertise to expand access to more global resources in Asia, Latin America and Russia/Eastern Europe;
  • Uncovering issues for long-term preservation and access to e-journal literature; and
  • Creating programs to give tailored support for Ph.D. students in the humanities.

The new round of funding from the Mellon Foundation supports a critical piece of 2CUL’s “Phase 2” period. Beyond the scope of the grant, the two libraries will pursue other goals for advancing the partnership, including more integrated collection building and mainstreaming 2CUL in other areas based on the success of the technical services integration.

The 2CUL partnership was first announced in 2009.

See Also: Columbia, Cornell Libraries To Partner on Collection Development, Acquisitions, Preservation  (via Library Journal; October 15, 2009)

See Also: Reports and Presentations From the 2CUL Team

Additional Details in the Full Text News Release

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.