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ALA to Create Digital Archives at University of Illinois

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The American Library Association (A.L.A.) announced last month that it is creating its own institutional repository in collaboration with the University of Illinois, to be known as the ALAIR. The ALA explains, "An institutional repository by definition is a digital repository for collecting, preserving and disseminating the informational, some say intellectual, some research, output of an organization." The University of Illinois was chosen because of the expertise of its archives and institutional repository (IR) staff and that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign currently houses the ALA Archives (ALA print archives), also known as the American Library Association Archives at the University of Illinois Archives.

The institutional repository initiative began in the spring of 2012 as a discussion by the Board of Directors of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (A.L.C.T.S.), the ALCTS being a division of the ALA.

The ALCTS Board was interested in the possibility of creating an ALCTS institutional repository. The University of Illinois then approached Charles Wilt, ALCTS Executive Director, and Karen Muller, ALA Librarian & Knowledge Management Specialist, with a proposal to build the repository at U of I for the entirety of the ALA.

In 2013, the ALA and the University of Illinois reached an agreement to begin work on the repository. Chris Prom, Assistant University Archivist at the University of Illinois, is leading the project.

The initial project funding was a collaborative effort of six divisions and the ALA Library. The divisions involved were the ALCTS, the Association of College and Research Libraries (A.C.R.L.), the Association for Library Services to Children (A.L.S.C.), the American Association of School Librarians (A.A.S.L.), the Public Library Association (P.L.A.) and the Reference and User Services Association (R.U.S.A.).

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