May 28, 2022

Collaboration: Four Library Leaders Discuss “Last Copy” and Shared Collection Services in Recently Published White Papers

A recently published Innovative Interfaces white paper might be of interest to some of you. It’s titled:“Last Copy Services: What are the opportunities and benefits of collaboration? and features three pages of thoughts and insights about “last copy” and shared collection services by four experts (listed below) from both sides of the Atlantic.

  • David Clay, Associate University Librarian Learning & Research Support at the University of Salford
  • Dr. Clem Guthro, Director of the Colby College Libraries
  • Bart Harloe, Executive Director of ConnectNY
  • Sara Marsh, Director of Learner Support Services at the University of Bradford and SCONUL Chair

From the Document

In late 2013 and early 2014, we spoke to library leaders in the UK and US, all of whom have an interest in ‘last copy’ services, to discuss how they operate in a consortial or national context and what benefits participating libraries hope to see.


Even for those libraries where preservation is not central to their purpose, it is standard practice to consider the implications of disposing of materials, including whether the material is unique, valuable, and which other libraries (if any) hold such material.

The last decade has seen the creation of more formal agreements between groups of libraries to ensure that collectively they don’t dispose of unique materials and that there is always a ‘last copy’ within the group to guarantee access to the materials now and in the future


Sara and David note the need to avoid last copy and collective stock management projects that put an undue cost onto individual institutions, saying that it is difficult to justify participation in schemes that are not, at worst, cost-neutral to the institutions involved


Bart Harloe outlines a number of challenges that he associates with shared collection management and last copy services. Bart stresses the need for more intelligent metadata management and better algorithms to enable the matching and de-duplication of records across multiple library management systems.

The final page of this white paper includes several comments on last copy and shared collection services by Brad Jung, VP, Product Management at III.

Direct to Full Text (4 pages; PDF)

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.