Macrosolutions are shared global services that provide institutions with resources and solutions that have the opportunity to take advantage of networked enterprise-class scale. These types of services, which were once only locally provided, can now be distributed among institutions for a peer-sourced type of community support. By investing in a shared networked solution, academic libraries can achieve efficiencies and market influence, that would be impossible at the scale of any one institution. In order to realize the promise of networked macrosolutions, libraries must be able to externalize their service need and trust their peer counterparts to help provide services that were once traditionally a single source operation.
A key factor for success is in directly engaging with faculty and academic officers to communicate a compelling strategy in which selective externalization of services can be win-win situation for the local institution as well as for the external partners. Traditional library functions improve the libraries’ ability to fulfill a local contextual academic and research mission. However, creating new avenues for networked global scale shared services can be in the best interest of all parties. For some shared services, managing them at the largest scale offers savings both in terms of that particular service as well as in terms of capital re-investment in other more locally contextually dependent services. Externalizing functions is not new – but doing so in a highly networked environment, at global-scale is. The HathiTrust Digital Library and the Digital Public Library of America will be discussed as examples of macrosolutions and how they have the potential to change how libraries engage with scholars.