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International library news

British Library opens National Newspaper Building

In the UK, more than 60 million newspapers spanning three centuries will be housed in a new building in West Yorkshire operated by the British Library. The purpose-built, climate-controlled building is part of a £33 million (A$63 million) preservation and digitisation program, and houses around 33km of newspapers, which are retrieved by robotic cranes. British Library chief executive Roly Keating in a statement: ‘[Newspapers] form the record of the nation’s memory at local, regional and national level, so I’m delighted to see the National Newspaper Building officially open and fully operational, preserving nearly three quarters of a billion newspaper pages and also enabling sustainable long-term access to the collection to the thousands of researchers who use our Reading Rooms every year.’ Around 1200 titles are added to the UK’s national newspaper collection each week via legal deposit. Around 10 million digitised pages are currently available online.

Springer-Macmillan journal merger ‘bad for universities’, say librarians

Librarians are concerned that the recently announced merger between Macmillan Science and Education and Springer could result in higher journal prices and a monopoly of big publishers, reports the Times Higher Education. The merger, which was announced on 15 January, includes Macmillan-owned Nature Publishing Group, academic book publisher Palgrave Macmillan and textbook division Macmillan Education. It will create a publishing group with 13,000 employees and an annual turnover of around €1.5 billion (£1.2 billion). ‘History suggests that mergers like this are bad news for universities, because they further increase the power of publishers in a market that already conspicuously lacks a competitive dynamic,’ said University of Liverpool librarian Phil Sykes. David Prosser, executive director of Research Libraries UK, observed that ‘mergers always seem to result in prices being harmonised upwards’, and noted that of the 15 largest publishers identified in a 2002 Office of Fair Trading report on the scientific, technical and medical journals market, only nine now remain. Derk Haank, chief executive of Springer, told the Times Higher Education that the merged company would ‘offer authors and contributors more publishing opportunities and institutional libraries and individual buyers more choice’.


Category: Library news