Vanderbilt University’s Heard Libraries join OCLC Research Library Partnership

Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries at Vanderbilt University and OCLC Research Library Partnership. Aerial view of Vanderbilt's Central Library.

The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries at Vanderbilt University have strengthened their commitment to innovation and collaborative scholarship by joining the OCLC Research Library Partnership. A multinational community of research libraries, the OCLC RLP is dedicated to improving library practice through professional development, collaborative research and information sharing.

Vanderbilt’s Heard Libraries are a preeminent academic research library system located in Nashville, Tennessee. The libraries acquire, preserve and provide access to knowledge that empowers scholars to pursue bold new ideas and conduct rigorous inquiry into humanity’s most important questions. Undergirding this mission is a network of nine campus libraries containing multiple research entities, extensive archival collections, and an array of information resources that support teaching, discovery, dialogue and global engagement.

“By embracing new technologies and fostering collaboration across disciplines, our libraries are enabling scholars to push the boundaries of inquiry and discovery,” Vanderbilt University Librarian Jon Shaw said. “This partnership with the OCLC will advance those efforts even further as we engage with its global network and collaborate in developing leading-edge practices that are redefining research libraries in the 21st century.”

“For nearly 20 years, the OCLC Research Library Partnership has focused on advancing librarianship,” said Skip Prichard, OCLC president and CEO. “We are thrilled to have Vanderbilt join us in this important work.”

Innovation and collaboration define many of the Heard Libraries’ recent initiatives. Among them is a partnership with Vanderbilt Law School to create the Vanderbilt AI Legal Lab, which explores how artificial intelligence intersects with the delivery of legal services and access to justice. The libraries also have recently launched the McGee Applied Research Center for Narrative Studies in conjunction with the university’s College of Arts and Science. The center applies advanced data science to critically assess narratives in the media and combat disinformation, using resources such as the libraries’ Vanderbilt Television News Archive—the world’s most complete archive of network television news featuring more than 62,000 hours of transcribed and searchable video content.

The OCLC Research Library Partnership supports focused programming and research in four crucial areas:

  • Research support
  • Unique and distinctive collections
  • Resource sharing
  • Next-generation metadata

Across these four areas, the RLP seeks to support libraries through the challenges of a disrupted workplace, and to advance equity, diversity and inclusion efforts. The RLP currently comprises 124 partner institutions around the world.

Visit to learn more about the OCLC Research Library Partnership.

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