The activities of the METRO [New York Metropolitan Reference and Research Library Agency] Task Force on Foreign Newspapers (Western Europe) grew out of the realization of inadequacies and gaps in the newspaper and news magazine collections of libraries in the New York metropolitan area.
Expanding the newspaper and news magazine collections substantially would be an expensive proposition, therefore, the Task Force decided to improve access to the joint collections, to stimulate and rationalize our joint collecting effort, and to fill in certain important gaps within our joint collections.
In order to improve access to important West European newspapers and news magazines (backfiles and current subscriptions) to researchers and scholars in the metropolitan region, the Task Force asked fifty libraries to report their holdings of selected titles in this area. Twenty-eight libraries were willing to co-operate in this survey and the following union list represents their holdings. The union list allows researchers to be referred to the appropriate library. But the Task Force also envisioned the survey as a starting point to rationalize and improve the West European newspaper and news magazine collections specifically at the four major research libraries: Columbia University Libraries, The New York Public Library (Research Libraries), New York University Libraries, and Rutgers University Libraries.
The survey of 71 titles was developed by the Task Force based on the following agreed upon selection criteria:
- National newspapers and news magazines or important regional newspapers and news magazines with national impact. Considered as newspapers or news magazines of record. Circulation might play a role but is not of prime importance;
- Quality newspapers or news magazines, reflecting major but diverse political/ideological opinions;
- Report national, international, cultural (book, theater and film reviews, cultural news) and business news;
- Important opinion makers (could be smaller national newspapers or news magazines, or could be transnational);
- Current titles only.
Libraries were given the option to include other titles in their collection not listed in the survey and we have included some of these in the final union list expanding the total number of titles to 92. The titles for which we found no holdings in the surveyed METRO area libraries were checked at seven consulates general in New York and these holdings were included.
On the basis of the survey, the Task Force identified the gaps in the joint newspaper and news magazine holdings of New York metropolitan libraries. These gaps were checked against the holdings of other ARL (Association of Research Libraries) libraries in the Northeast and of the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago. Through joint funding, the four major research libraries have acquired the following backfiles not available in the region: The European (1990-1995), Columbia; Manchester Guardian (1821-1904), Columbia; La Repubblica (1976-1987), Rutgers; La Stampa (1867-1975), NYPL; Sunday Times (1822-1847), Columbia; Tageszeitung (1978-1995), NYU; Le Temps (1861-1942), NYU. Libraries were also able to make special acquisition efforts through local funding: e.g. the complete run of the Parisian newspaper Libération (NYU), of the Dutch communist daily De Waarheid (NYU) and of the Milanese newspaper Corriere della Sera (NYU).
The Task Force invites the libraries that have participated in this project to update and/or correct listings via the update form.
The Task Force recommends that other geographic regions will be considered for evaluation.
The Task Force would like to thank METRO and specifically Donna Abbaticchio for her support of the project. We also thank all the participating libraries for their co-operation with the survey. We hope that the creation of this union list and the cooperative efforts of the research libraries in this area is beneficial to all our library users.