On Thursday of last week, college football fans around Texas and many from around the nation gathered around the flat screen to watch the final episode in the third longest running rivalry in college football. After this season, the two teams are unlikely to encounter each other again in the regular season as the Aggies head toward the Southeastern Conference and the Longhorns lock up annually with their heartland foes.
But even as the sports scene in Texas changes fundamentally, so much remains the same. The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University remain the two flagship institutions of our state, and when it comes to teaching, learning and research, the two schools remain ever so closely aligned.
And our libraries are united in their determination to advance the core educational missions of the two universities. The University of Texas System and the Texas A&M University System have united to fund and operate a common storage facility on property owned by Texas A&M. There all the universities in both systems will be able to preserve their print copies in a shared resources in common facility that will ensure the preservation of the “long tail” of scholarly research while freeing up valuable central library space on every campus. Full sets of journals now accessed electronically—such as JSTOR—will have their archive print instantiation in Bryan, Texas.
At the same time, the two flagships continue to work together to harness the power of digital technologies in support of research. Combining their own powerful (but separate distinct) holdings of first century books from Mexico with other examples from Mexican partners, Spain, Brown University, Tulane, Harvard and elsewhere, the Los Primeros Libros project will eventually enable scholars around the globe to access and study all of the 200+ surviving examples of printing in the Western Hemisphere.
So, as both schools rewrite the lyrics to their fight songs, where each disparages the other in the early stanzas, the librarians will resume the collaboration that makes their combined collections one of the state’s most important assets.
Hook ‘em / Gig ‘em