News Release – Project ReShare and Stanford Libraries Launch Controlled Digital Lending Implementers Group

July 2, 2020

Project ReShare and Stanford Libraries of Stanford University announce the launch of the Controlled Digital Lending Implementers (CDLI) group to explore and coordinate broad and thoughtful implementation of controlled digital lending (CDL). 

The digital equivalent of traditional library lending, CDL enables libraries to digitize a physical item from their collection and lend out a secured digital version to one user at a time, while the print copy is simultaneously marked as unavailable. When connected with the various workflows, decisions, policies, and mechanisms similar to those used in traditional inter-library loan, CDL offers an effective means of safely and securely circulating library materials to users—especially those for whom physical access presents a hardship—while also protecting the rights of the publishing community. 

“With the COVID-19 pandemic and loss of access to our physical collections, controlled digital lending has suddenly become a top priority, not just for our library, but for so many institutions,” notes Tom Cramer, Associate University Librarian and Director for Digital Library Systems & Services at Stanford University. “CDLI will enable those implementing CDL to exchange ideas, approaches, and know-how, creating a community of practice that will benefit libraries as a whole.”  

CDLI will provide a forum for implementers to coordinate efforts, develop best practices, and establish a CDL community, meeting the distinct needs of individual institutions while taking into account the larger technology and services ecosystem. Initial collaborators include libraries, consortia, software developers, and resource sharing leaders who envision the wide acceptance of CDL as an approach to library access services in support of institutional missions.

Currently, there is a lack of technical infrastructure to support the implementation of CDL. In response to this gap, Project ReShare has committed to include CDL in its development roadmap. Established in 2018 by libraries, consortia, software developers, and open source advocates, the ReShare community is designing an open source, highly-scalable platform that supports workflows for discovery, fulfillment, and delivery of library materials. CDL functionality will expand the impact of ReShare on the library community.  

“A widely adoptable and sustainable technical infrastructure for CDL does not exist in today’s marketplace, and there is a great demand due to the impact of COVID-19,” says Jill Morris, Project ReShare’s Steering Committee Chair and Executive Director of the PALCI academic library consortium. “ReShare’s CDL development initiative represents the type of innovative model Project ReShare is designed to support, with tools and infrastructure that are freely available and driven by the needs of our community. Through ReShare’s participation in CDLI, we aim to coordinate our efforts in the broader library community to ensure that our libraries’ physical collections are accessible and usable by scholars and the general public.”  

The 1.0 release of ReShare is scheduled for July 2020. Soon after, ReShare development partners Index Data and Knowledge Integration will begin integrating CDL into ReShare. 

CDLI welcomes institutional and individual participants from any library, consortium, technology or industry partner. Reach out to for more information or if your institution is interested in joining CDLI.

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