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PALNI awarded ARPA grant to launch initiative in open bibliographic data management

The Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) is pleased to announce that it has received an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant of $225,000 from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Indiana State Library. The planning grant will enable PALNI to identify ways of expanding current infrastructure to support open bibliographic data management tools, which library staff use to manage and share collections. The project aims to significantly enhance financial sustainability and access to information, allowing libraries to further deliver on their critical role in student success.

“We are excited and grateful to receive this grant, which will allow us to explore new options in bibliographic data management,” says Kirsten Leonard, Executive Director of PALNI. “The ultimate drivers for the initiative are access and affordability—we hope to leverage existing projects and infrastructure to support collaboration amongst libraries broadly and in Indiana to meet changing needs and priorities. This project will identify emerging opportunities in technology to reduce costs, minimize duplication efforts and provide granularity in services—all of which will benefit libraries and their stakeholders.”

Accessible and Affordable Infrastructure

Academic and public libraries need the flexibility to address evolving needs around data created to manage and share library collections. Over the past few years, efforts to create community-owned software solutions have emerged to reduce the dependence on closed systems. However, there is a gap in tools and data sources focused on bibliographic record creation, management and workflows. 

PALNI’s project will explore innovative alternatives that promote open infrastructure — using open systems to encourage new ways of understanding collections through community building, sharing staff and metadata about library materials to meet the evolving needs of library patrons. The future-focused system, which will model tenets of other successful projects, will be supported by stakeholders in Indiana and from other library groups to ensure its continued success. 

Project Details

PALNI is currently working with Indiana libraries and national and international library groups to identify needs and build a community that can govern and sustain a shared bibliographic data management service. This process includes exploring services provided by other countries and open record sources like the Library of Congress. In addition, the project comprises reviewing metadata usage rights to understand better the permissions and limitations for the open sharing of metadata. 

“This innovative and collaborative project will provide libraries with the flexibility to better serve their users and fully leverage their resources,” says Jacob Speer, State Librarian for Indiana.

PALNI will work with the library community to build a wireframe for a low-cost, open system that facilitates the exchange of library-created bibliographic information. In addition, the project will seek to improve the interoperability of other open-source services that rely on bibliographic data, such as holdings, interlibrary loans, and collection analysis.  

Deep Collaboration 

Representatives from several consortia have expressed overwhelming support for the project and have agreed to serve as advisors. Individual libraries and consortia have already provided input on a vision document for a shared Bibliographic Utility as part of the project.

“In the end,” says Leonard, “we hope this project will enable library communities to work together to build more efficient and effective systems and services that sustainably meet the needs of libraries and their users today and in the future.”

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Indiana State Library. For updates on progress and impact, visit the PALNI project website.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 

About the Indiana State Library

The Indiana State Library is responsible for developing and providing library services to state government, its branches, its departments and its officials and employees; providing for the individual citizens of the state those specialized library services not generally appropriate, economical or available in other libraries of the state; encouraging and supporting the development of the library profession; and strengthening services of all types of publicly and privately supported special, school, academic and public libraries. Throughout its history, the Indiana State Library has developed strong collections in the fields of Indiana history and culture; Indiana state government and United States government publications; Indiana newspapers; genealogy and family history resources on Indiana and the eastern United States; braille; large print and books on tape for the visually impaired; library science; and American history, politics and economics. Its collections in these areas support research by state agency employees, scholars, genealogists, librarians, students, Indiana residents who are blind or have physical disabilities and the general public. The Library Development Office and Professional Development Office work to improve and support the libraries of Indiana through assistance, training and supervising the distribution of state and federal funds.

About the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI)

The Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) is a non-profit organization that supports collaboration for library and information services for 24 colleges, universities, and seminaries throughout the state. From its inception in 1992, the PALNI collaboration has been a key avenue for its supported institutions to contain costs while providing more effective library services. More recently, PALNI has adopted a model of deep collaboration that pools resources and people as a tool to expand services while keeping costs down. PALNI’s board of directors, composed of all 24 library deans and directors from the supported organizations, convened a Future Framing Task Force in 2019 to address ongoing demographic challenges in higher education. The board has escalated this work in the wake of COVID-19, as the consortium seeks to manage the increased need for online support while reducing costs. Simultaneously, PALNI is expanding collaboration within its institutions and with external library partners to address challenges and build cost-effective services. Visit the PALNI website for more information.

PALNI Supported Institutions  

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary | Anderson University | Bethel University | Butler University | Concordia Theological Seminary | Christian Theological Seminary | DePauw University | Earlham College | Franklin College | Goshen College | Grace College | Hanover College | Huntington University | Manchester University | Marian University | Oakland City University | University of Saint Francis | Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College | Saint Mary’s College | Saint Meinrad’s Seminary and School of Theology | Taylor University | Trine University | University of Indianapolis | Wabash College 

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