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PRRLA History

In 1995, the University of California, San Diego Libraries received a two year grant from the National Security Education Program to develop a multilingual computer server to provide international access via the internet to online information in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean scripts. As part of the NSEP grant, the UCSD Libraries hosted a seminar in December 1995 and invited technical specialists from Pacific Rim countries to provide input into the development of the multilingual server.

Further developing these relationships, the UCSD Libraries initiated bilateral arrangements with key participants to use the internet to expand traditional library exchange arrangements. One of the first agreements enabled the provision of scientific information from UCSD in exchange for access to Chinese language databases from Academia Sinica in Taiwan. This then unprecedented electronic exchange of diverse scholarly information across academic disciplines and national boundaries was highly successful and similar exchanges were launched with Peking University, Hong Kong University, and the Australian National University.

The success of these initial bilateral exchanges inspired the concept of a multilateral partnership among libraries from major academic institutions around the Pacific Rim. In June 1997, UCSD hosted a conference during which the Pacific Rim Digital Library Alliance was conceptualized. Invitees to the conference included senior management from institutions that were represented at the December 1995 seminar and from other institutions with whom close personal working relationships had been established. The Alliance was formally ratified by its members in October 1997.

In 2015 members voted to change the organization’s name to PRRLA – Pacific Rim Research Libraries Alliance.

In 2016 PRRLA became affiliated with the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU). Established in 1997, APRU serves as “an advisory body to international organisations, governments and business on the development of science and innovation as well as on the broader development of higher education.”