Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) and COVID-19: Two Peas in a Pod

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Swartz, Mark
Spong, Stephen
Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) is a concept that had long been identified as a potential tool for libraries to provide remote, digital access to materials in their collections. However, risk aversion had long impeded meaningful progress in actually administering CDL as a service. Then the pandemic hit. Suddenly, the idea of providing remote access to collections that were now inaccessible to library users was something that was not only theoretically possible, but practically necessary. The most successful and high-profile CDL platform was the Hathi Trust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS), which gained widespread traction. There was also the Internet Archive National Emergency Library, which was significantly less successful. In between popped up a number of initiatives with a wide range of applications and measures of success. What was once seen as unlikely and unfeasible is now considerably less so. While the reopening of most libraries has tempered the emergency justifications that initially drove the initial push behind CDL, the potential promised by it is something that has continued to develop. This session will look to chart the growth, challenges, and potential of CDL as it continues its trajectory into a key part of service provision for many libraries and cultural institutions.
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