Digital Library Federation (DLF) (2015)

Ways and means toward a digital projects committee; Sometimes you're the boat, sometimes you're the wave : responding to and initiating change in digital collections stewardship Henningsen, Katie; Robbeloth, Hilary; Vagts, Rachel; Weddington, Daniel


Ways and means toward a digital projects committee -- Entering the digital realm can be a challenge for any institution; technology is constantly advancing, digital preservation strategies are not always clear, and resources are limited. This can be especially true for liberal arts colleges where library staffing is often smaller and as a result staff are constantly balancing competing priorities while wearing multiple hats. At the University of Puget Sound we have developed a decentralized committee to oversee digital projects with the goal of making our unique material available electronically. Three staff members from the library with the appropriate skill sets were tasked with forming the committee in 2013 and since that time have researched and implemented policies on collecting born digital content, digitizing existing material, and assigning metadata to digital objects. The committee is made up of the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian who oversees digitization and content from the Archives & Special Collections and coordinates the work of our committee, the Metadata Librarian who advises on metadata, and the Business Liaison Librarian who coordinates outreach efforts around the institutional repository. We will discuss the formation and work of our committee, including the development of workflows, guidelines and policies; how this decentralized model works and how it might be adapted by other institutions; and ways that we are working to further decentralize this model by empowering our librarian colleagues to begin discussions and promote use of the digital collections, lead future projects, and create metadata for collections affiliated with the departments in their subject areas. Presenters: Katie Henningsen, Hilar Robbeloth. Sometimes You’re the Boat, Sometimes You’re the Wave: Responding to and Initiating Change in Digital Collections Stewardship -- Rachel Vagts, Head of Special Collections & Archives, and Daniel Weddington, Technology Coordinator for Special Collections & Archives, are both recent hires at Berea College, a small liberal arts work college in central Kentucky. They will use their experience navigating a dramatic digital collections refocus at Berea College as a case study for how to leverage the opportunities and challenges presented by organizational transition to better position a Special Collections & Archives at a small liberal arts school to serve its responsibilities for digital stewardship. After a near decade-long grant-funded digitization effort, Berea College Special Collections & Archives had over 100TB worth of audio/visual material housed on 50 external hard drives with no plan in place for long-term storage, preservation, or access. Additionally, if found itself under new leadership, with multiple new staff hires, and a renewed grant-funder directive to increase digital access. Special Collections & Archives had become not only an organization with major digital collection responsibilities, but one in the midst of significant organizational transition. Rachel and Daniel’s talk will highlight how they were able to use organizational transition as an opportunity to attempt new, innovative, and necessary approaches to meet the challenges of managing a large digital collection at a small liberal arts institution. They will illustrate how effectively reacting to and initiating change led to new approaches in work processes and arrangements; increased communication and collaboration; and, ultimately, more strategic, efficient management of digital collections. Finally, they will discuss, more broadly, the challenges of managing high expectations for digital content within an organization in flux.

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