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Eastern Transportation Knowledge Network (ETKN): Guiding Principles

ETKN Website

Purpose and Mission

The purpose of the Eastern Transportation Knowledge Network (ETKN) is to manage and coordinate transportation information that is crucial to our nation’s economy. The Network maximizes access to transportation research and information and provides cost-effective new and improved services. The collaboration of libraries and information providers creates a coordinating mechanism to foster the facilitation of partnerships of information, the sharing of services and the coordination of collections. The ETKN provides leadership in the implementation of strategies for transportation information management for the 21st century. In this unified action for excellence in information services, ETKN will provide guidance in the implementation of innovative and economical technologies and will support the advancement of research and best practices for our transportation infrastructure.

The mission of ETKN is to increase access to transportation research and information, to reduce the operating costs of its members, and to offer new and improved information services for member libraries, information providers and their users.

ETKN comprises cooperating libraries and information providers located within AASHTO Regions I and II. Its collaboration provides the foundation for a regional transportation knowledge network system that will provide a cohesive transportation information structure for the 21st century.

With the ongoing expansion of the Internet, library and web-based collaborative tools, librarians are currently evaluating sources and formats and examining different technologies to meet users’ needs and expectations. The demands for information refinement are correspondingly increasing with this tremendous volume of information in a range of different formats. ETKN will bring together the expertise necessary to produce both the refinement and quality control that is necessary for the management of this information.

The benefits of ETKN are cost savings through improved access to transportation research with such mechanisms as union catalogs, shared resources and shared expertise of library information specialists. These benefits operate to reach a broad spectrum of the information sector enabling sharing of information and faster access to information resources, including digital collections and web-based reports. Membership in ETKN will produce cost-effectiveness and efficiency to meet the current challenges of the transportation sector.


The following principles guide the strategies of ETKN and describe the roles of libraries that participate in the Network. Conducting activities on behalf of ETKN, members promote excellence in transportation information services. Members use their best efforts to adhere to the following principles:

  • Establishing ETKN as a regional coordinator and a leader in transportation information management to foster the development of a National Transportation Knowledge Network. Its operations and activities provide a coordinated system of transportation information management.
  • Each member provides service on a direct basis to its respective user community and is the authority for determining the type of services offered to their particular users.
  • Members are responsible for their own collections and bibliographic records and the management of their particular personnel and operations.
  • Participating members will meet the appropriate standards and guidelines for their type of library and/or their type of association or information center. National and international standards and protocols will be adopted and developed in programs and systems to enhance the efficient sharing of information and resources.
  • Participation in the Network should expand upon an individual member’s existing services and increase accessibility to other members’ collections. Resources from other libraries and other information providers must not decrease their present level of service and collection holdings and not reduce the responsibility of each member to provide adequate financial support to meet ongoing collection and operational needs.
  • Participation will facilitate cost-effectiveness in each member’s institution and allow for improved use of available funding.
  • Members of the Network contribute bibliographic records to OCLC and the Transportation Libraries Catalog. Libraries whose bibliographic records are not currently in OCLC are strongly encouraged to contribute their catalog records to OCLC.
  • Members share resources, reference support and expertise to promote excellence and innovation in transportation information services.
  • Membership includes participation in interlibrary loan services by allowing and expanding access to other libraries’ collections. In accordance with each member’s policies, members abide by the Network’s Interlibrary Loan Guidelines.
  • Innovative programs will be developed to support local, state, regional, national and international cooperative activities that support the Network’s mission. Programs will be developed with flexibility to interface with local, regional, state, multi-state and national programs.
  • Network members are expected to attend meetings, in person or through teleconferencing, in order to discuss issues. Meetings will be held in ways that encourage the broadest level of member participation, including the use of teleconferencing, videoconferencing, and Webcast technologies. Members are expected to join the Network electronic discussion group to keep current on announcements, issues, meetings and training.
  • Membership does not preclude participants from using services of other organizations or agencies. Members are encouraged to participate in other regional, state, multi-state, national and international networks as appropriate. Libraries and other information providers are encouraged to use other available resources as appropriate.

Criteria for Participation

The following criteria outline expectations for each institution participating in the Network:

  • Each member will maintain a bibliographically organized collection of resources such as print (e.g. books and journals), digital (e.g. maps, images, data sets and technical reports) and audio-visual (e.g. podcasts, presentations, training materials) items.
  • Each member’s collection will be available to local users and members of the Network.
  • Each member is financially responsible for maintaining its collection and its bibliographic records and for supporting its personnel and operations.
  • Participation will not diminish the responsibility of each member’s authority to provide adequate financial support for its ongoing collection and operational needs.
  • Each participating member’s collection should be sufficient to meet most of its information needs. Members should rely primarily on their own collections before requesting to borrow materials.
  • Each member should be staffed by trained personnel to allocate resources and assist users.

If you are interested in joining ETKN, contact the Chair, Christine Gomola Mullin.