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Renowned Research Collections, Excellent Service

The Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN) was founded in 1977. It grew out of cooperation dating from 1933 between the academic research libraries of Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which expanded to include North Carolina State University in the 1950s, and North Carolina Central University in 1995. TRLN currently facilitates access to print and electronic scholarly materials for these four university communities, which together comprise one of the premiere research collections in the United States. Through cooperative collection development, member libraries maximize the number of unique holdings in the region, and increase the breadth and depth of their collections in ways that would not be possible individually.

bulletRenowned Research Collections


Many of the academic programs at Duke, NCCU, NCSU, and UNC-Chapel Hill - in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities - are unique to a single campus in the Triangle. Not only are these programs supported by tailored collections at their respective institution's libraries, but they also benefit by the combined offerings of TRLN. Together, the collections of the TRLN libraries form the second largest academic research collection in the nation with over 14 million volumes. With access to more than 125,000 journal subscriptions, materials in dozens of languages, and unique special collections at each institution, TRLN libraries support research and teaching in hundreds of disciplines ranging from biomedical engineering, law, environmental sciences, to southern history. Each library is also developing new areas of strength such as genomics, Middle East studies, water economy, and global health to match growing areas of emphasis at TRLN institutions. The research areas listed here are only examples of the breadth and depth of subjects covered by the scholarly collections of the TRLN member libraries. For more comprehensive descriptions, visit the collections pages for each institution.

bulletSelective Subject Strengths

four universities

Duke University
Advertising history, American newspapers (mid 19th - mid 20th centuries), church history & Methodism, history of economic thought, history of medicine and science, international studies and international law, labor history, Southern Americana, and women's studies.

North Carolina Central University
African American studies and practitioner-oriented materials in U.S. federal law.

North Carolina State University
Computer science, engineering, agriculture, veterinary medicine, textiles, design, architecture, and geographic information.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Business and economics, classics, dramatic art, folklore, French, German, journalism, music, population studies, public health, sociology, Southern and Afro-Americana.

Together, TRLN member libraries provide outstanding collections in key areas such as business, law, medicine and health sciences, biomedical engineering, genomics, and area studies along with unique primary materials available through each institution's rich special collections. TRLN member libraries engage in formal and informal cooperation building complementary collections that enhance each institution's strengths. Formal cooperation is characterized by initiatives such as:

  • joint purchase and licensing of databases and electronic journals;
  • the South Asia cooperative collections program and shared South Asia bibliographer; and
  • cooperative use of online selection tools that communicate purchasing decisions among selectors at each institution.

bulletAccessing the Combined Collections

Committed service is an essential part of maximizing the value of TRLN's prominent collections for faculty, students, and staff at each institution. TRLN offers expedited document delivery of journal articles and circulating items from any of the four institutions. Faculty members, currently enrolled students, administration officials, and members of the university staffs may also obtain direct borrowing privileges from any TRLN member library by presenting their valid University identification.

TRLN patrons benefit from:

  • seamless access for authenticated users to jointly licensed electronic journals and databases;
  • direct borrowing privileges from member libraries; and
  • delivery of available library materials within 48 hours.

Joint Licensing - Enhanced Access at Lower Costs
TRLN collectively licenses electronic journals and databases to expand access to scholarly content for faculty, staff, and students at each of its member institutions. The shared licensed content of TRLN institutions promotes research and teaching, fosters collaboration, and supports innovation. Collaborative licensing through TRLN is an important part of each institution's strategy to provide enduring access to a growing universe of scholarly information. TRLN has multiplied the buying power of its member institutions, and compared to the general marketplace, contained the rise of information costs through favorable contract terms. (see Statistics for more information). Since it began the joint purchasing of electronic materials in 1996, TRLN's cooperative efforts have resulted in the annual licensing of more than $4.5 million dollars worth of scholarly content and 1,600 electronic journals, adding significantly to the research and scholarly resources available to patrons at its four member institutions while saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. The combination of expanded content at a lower cost amounts to a competitive edge for scholars and students.

See Statistics for more details about the collections and resource savings provided through TRLN cooperative efforts.

For more information about the principles and guidelines TRLN adheres to in collaboratively licensing scholarly information, see

Triangle Research Libraries Network  CB#3940 Wilson Library, Suite 712 Chapel Hill, NC 27514-8890
Phone: (919) 962-8022  Fax: (919) 962-4452

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last modified:
June 25, 2008