Promoting digital inclusion is an essential goal for libraries around the world, particularly so in the fields of resource sharing and document delivery. For example, the Marrakesh Treaty, administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization and adopted in 2013, grants broad copyright exceptions for people with blindness or visual impairments, allowing libraries to utilize their scanning facilities to transform print resources into accessible digital content. However, digital inclusion can also apply to providing access to library materials during extraordinary circumstances. When libraries were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Document Delivery and Resource Sharing section launched the RSCVD (Resource Sharing during COVID) service, an innovative crowdsourced initiative which enabled libraries to continue to meet the information needs of their communities while working remotely. Even after library workers returned to their workplaces the usefulness of this service remained, as it helped ensure that libraries experiencing financial and other kinds of ongoing hardship or disruption could receive access to digital resources through an international network of resource sharing partners. Thanks to sponsorship by IFLA and funding through the Erasmus Plus Programme, the HERMES Strengthening Digital Resource Sharing During COVID and Beyond project was able to develop the Talaria software to support the RSCVD service, creating a platform that is open source and free to use. By eliminating the barrier to entry to resource sharing for participating libraries, the DDRS and RSCVD are fostering digital inclusion on a global scale, one request at a time.  

Author: Tom Bruno, Member, Document Delivery and Resource Sharing Standing Committee, Director of Access Services at Penn Libraries