Why does Western Libraries participate in Keep@Downsview?
Keep@Downsview provides Western a unique opportunity to participate in collaborative print collection stewardship, management, and development while allowing continued access to low-demand items.
It is important for low-demand print collections to remain available in support of the research and educational activities of Western's academic community. Participating in Keep@Downsview allows this to occur, while at the same time supporting continued collection growth and creating opportunities for the library to foster new types of scholarship and introduce new library services. Keep@Downsview also enables partners to manage the collection footprint to optimize use of space while maintaining significant and relevant print collections in campus libraries.
Over the years, Western Libraries, like research libraries elsewhere, has acquired a sizeable collection of print books and journals. Historically, the purchase of print volumes in advance of anticipated need was the only reliable means of providing the scholarly resources required to support research and teaching, and building such collections was the primary function of an academic research library.
Studies of the usage patterns of such research library collections, conducted over many years using a variety of methodologies at different institutions, have demonstrated that large portions of these print collections are never or seldom used by the academic community that the library supports. More generally, the overall circulation rate of print materials—the number of checkouts annually—is also steadily declining in research libraries across North America as researchers turn to other formats to conduct their research and support their teaching.