The purpose of this paper is to review the global history of library consortia from ancient times until the present and propose further development of consortia to address journal costs and research distribution.
The global history of consortia is reviewed, with a concentration on the early years of the American Library Association.
Consortia have proved their value in making libraries more efficient and in advancing research through combined efforts in developing indexes and catalogues.
The paper encourages libraries to build on their history of cooperation and extend it by linking their repositories, using their own strengths to battle excessive subscription fees, and become publishers in their own right.
Consortia are encouraged to work together to build a global repository, to stand firm against predatory pricing and to take the lead in the dissemination of scholarship.
This paper proposes that libraries join in broad regional consortia to oppose unjustifiable prices imposed by the major publishers and that libraries, with their institutions, work regionally and internationally to take control of the distribution of research.
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