The Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (ReCAP) was created in 2000 to support its members' goals of preserving their library and archival collections, and making them available to researchers. The ReCAP facility consists of a preservation repository and resource sharing services, and is located on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus. ReCAP is jointly owned and operated by Columbia University, Harvard University, The New York Public Library and Princeton University. More than 17 million items are currently in ReCAP's care and they are used to fulfill approximately 250,000 requests for materials each year, from its partners and from libraries around the world.
ReCAP's facility was designed and constructed to provide high-density shelving for library items while using strict inventory control, so that retrieval requests are completed quickly and reliably. The facility environment is optimized for the preservation of library and archival collections. Careful management of temperature and humidity reduce the rate of chemical decay in ReCAP's stacks so that material life expectancy is four to five times greater, compared to normal library stack environments.
Individual items at ReCAP are sorted by size and fit into open-top trays which are placed on an appropriate-sized shelf, in order to store the maximum number of items in the minimum floor area. This close packing provides an additional level of environmental insulation, reduces oxygen exposure to guard against fire, and provides mechanical support to reduce physical strain on the collections.
Items housed at ReCAP are requested through the partners' library catalogs. Requests are processed daily by 3pm, and ship out to Manhattan overnight and twice daily to Princeton. Electronic delivery of articles and chapters is available as well, with requested materials sent directly to members of the partner libraries.
ReCAP has the capacity for approximately 19 million items in its current facility, and has land assigned for future modules. ReCAP's purpose-built facilities and carefully-designed operations maintain collections in a highly cost-effective manner. The efficiency and reliability of ReCAP helps our partner libraries realize their preservation objectives and provide access to expansive collections of research materials.