Resource Sharing (RS) is a core library service, contributing to the delivery of libraries’ missions to support research and education. Resource sharing, in particular in the form of interlibrary loan (ILL) has taken place for years, providing the academic community with documents unavailable in local holdings or through online search. Crucially, however, RS goes beyond ILL by moving from being a library-centred service to a patron-centred one.
In conjunction with rapidly developing technologies that support the sharing of information and resources on behalf of library users, librarians today can facilitate access to more resources for more information seekers than ever before. Many regional, national and international library networks and associations, including IFLA and its Document Delivery and Resource Sharing Section (DDRS), have the goal of facilitating access to information that helps people to learn, create and grow.
There are many well-functioning national resource sharing networks in the world, based on different systems, either commercial or otherwise. However, these networks are siloed and making a connection between them is a very challenging endeavour.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread, it made clear the need for even more resource sharing across the world. RSCVD connects library workers with libraries in need to create a global resource sharing emergency response network. It deals with requests for any textual materials which can be delivered electronically. Without the possibility to access physical collections, the volunteer lending libraries therefore find available electronic resources and supply them, as far as their usage licenses allow. In short, RSCVD has led to the creation of a shared tool that connects libraries around the world and fills gaps left by existing resource sharing systems/networks.
Building on the very valuable experience of international resource sharing practice accumulated through the RSCVD initiative, HERMES aims at reinforcing the RSCVD initiative, ensuring its sustainability and long-lasting impact, and developing a reliable international resource sharing platform based on new software.
HERMES also aims at stimulating a comprehensive reflection, involving the worldwide information community, about the meaning of digital resource sharing and practices, including understanding how to benefit from Open Access, which makes a large number of documents and information freely available on the internet.