Skip to main content

New Shared Print Actions: Terminology to Support Shared Print Disclosure

In July 2024, the Shared Print Metadata Guidelines Task Force (SPMG) finalized the new Shared Print Actions: Terminology for the MARC 21 Field 583 (SPA), and it is now available for use by shared print programs and library practitioners. The Library of Congress has assigned this terminology the resource action code spa for use in the 583$2; LC has also linked to Shared Print Actions: Terminology for MARC 21 Field 583 to the Resource Action Term Source Codes page, providing a central point of access for the library community. SPMG continues to work with the Library of Congress to add the link to the SPA terminology on additional pages.

The new SPA terminology comes at a significant evolutionary moment for shared print. As noted by Alison Wohlers, CDL’s Shared Print Programs Manager for UCL and WEST, “codifying the Shared Print Actions terminology is a significant step forward for shared print’s ongoing maintenance, development, and integration across the collections lifecycle. Previously, shared print standards for terminology were scattered and borrowed heavily from sources defined for other purposes. With the SPA terminology accepted and posted on the Library of Congress website, we have a consistent shared resource of standards across the United States and Canada, perhaps beyond.”

Impacts on the UC Libraries and WEST

WEST and the UC Libraries Shared Print Initiatives have been deeply connected to this work since its beginnings. The SPMG was co-chaired by Anna Striker (CDL’s shared print analyst for WEST and the UC Libraries shared print initiatives from 2019 through early 2024; now ); additionally, Dana Jemison (CDL’s senior metadata analyst for WEST) and Joel Smalley (Lead, Bibliographic & Serials Maintenance, at WEST Archive Builder Arizona State University) served as members on the task force and provided key insights into considerations for community metadata and operational needs at retention libraries.

Overall, the work of the SPMG establishes a community-owned document that codifies existing shared print disclosure needs and defines pathways for describing new shared print disclosure needs and incorporating them into community disclosure practices in a systematic way. As such, the first iteration of SPA does not include any requirements that are not already found in WEST and UC disclosure policies. SPA does not replace any existing disclosure policy set by shared print programs, and the terminology does not dictate whether programs and libraries should adopt any specific action term; there are, however, a number of recommendations that WEST and UC Libraries may consider integrating into guidelines in the future. 

WEST Senior Metadata Analyst Dana Jemison celebrated the release of SPA as a tool that improves the overall infrastructure for shared print workflows and operations: “The new Shared Print Actions terminology was developed to work specifically with shared print archiving processes and workflows. Having this new terminology in place, along with room for growth as needs arise, means that we have a living, contextually relevant vocabulary that targets use-cases specific to the shared print community. Usage will now be standardized across varied shared print communities and initiatives which will allow for more accurate data description and interpretation, and therefore more accurate analytic and programmatic processes and solutions for its interoperability capabilities and management going forward.”

Shared Success through Collaboration

The publication of SPA marks the culmination of several years of highly collaborative work in the shared print community to address unmet disclosure needs, to which CDL and WEST made significant contributions. The SPMG’s membership included shared print program staff and library practitioners from the US and Canada, as well as representation from OCLC, which maintains the Detailed Shared Print Metadata Guidelines as well as a major shared print registry.

To develop the terminology, SPMG consulted with a wide range of stakeholders, including shared print program officers and library practitioners in the US and Canada, the preservation community, library service providers, and international peers. These discussions helped surface a number of needs and considerations that the group was able to address in this first iteration of the SPA terminology and identified areas for future exploration. SPMG co-chairs Anna Striker and Heather Weltin (Content & Data Management Lead and Shared Print Program Officer, HathiTrust) will continue the conversation in the fall when they present to an international audience at the 2nd EPICo conference (8th Kuopio conference) in Barcelona.

Joel Smalley, Lead, Bibliographic & Serials Maintenance, at WEST Archive Builder Arizona State University highlighted the benefits of the collaborative approach to developing the terminology: “These new SPA guidelines are directly informed by the practices and experiences of institutions and organizations that participate in shared print. Libraries that retain shared print collections now have flexible options to describe their holdings and communicate data that is clear, well-defined and analyzable. Recruiting and embracing a broad base of stakeholders, including international colleagues, ensured sustainable terminologies through a cooperative language for shared print and expanded vital community connections that will keep the conversation moving forward.”

In addition to developing this initial terminology, the group also developed a process to regularly review the terminology to ensure it remains a valuable and responsive resource for the shared print community into the future, even as the landscape continues to evolve. The SPMG will continue monitoring shared print metadata needs, and will form a small subgroup in 2026 to consider any updates to the terminology. In the meantime, the Best Practices Working Group is convening a subgroup to develop best practices and usage guidelines for implementing SPA in programs and at retention libraries.

For additional background on SPMG and the development of the Shared Print Actions: Terminology, please see Codifying Shared Print Terminology.