A Collaborative model for collection development: celebration and assessment after 25 years

A collaborative approach to building collections – one whimsically referred to as “’catch and release’ collection development” – began two and a half decades.  This model of focused attention on rare scholarly resources has been used in modified form several times by the University of Chicago since it was first undertaken in forming the RojaMuthiah Research Library.  The approach, in most implementations, has had in common the purchase of collections from private collectors in South Asia, maintaining the resources in the subcontinent, delivery of preservation surrogates to Chicago for use by North American scholars, and eventual ceding of the ink print collections to sister institutions in the subcontinent.  This presentation includes a brief description of assumptions motivating those programs along with a statement on their establishment and maintenance, intended audiences, consequences for scholars and librarians, and projected future directions.  Attention is given to challenges of collaboration and consideration of the potential for replication of the approach to acquisition based on sharing.


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Showcasing Tamil heritage through lectures, exhibitions, , seminars.

August 2020
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RMRL celebrates 25th year anniversary

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