Acquisition & management of digital collections at the Library of Congress

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Libraries have been involved heavily in providing digital content to their patrons for many years now, largely through providing access to content hosted by publishers and aggregators. Increasingly however, libraries have been acquiring digital content itself and adding the files to their collections. The Library of Congress, as the national library and the home of the US Copyright Office, is heavily involved in this sort of digital acquisition and management. For example, over the past three years, the Library of Congress has been acquiring e-serials under the terms of the Copyright Law and adding them to its collection. Given the increasing prominence of this sort of activity in the work of libraries, as evidenced by the increased presence of NASIG presentations on this sort of topic over the past few years, it might be useful to share some of the experiences that LOC has had and lessons it has learned in this regard with its colleagues in the library community.

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Ted Westervelt
Library of Congress

Published in: Education, Technology
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Acquisition & management of digital collections at the Library of Congress

  1. 1. Acquisition & Management of Digital Collections at the Library of Congress Ted Westervelt 3 May 2014
  2. 2. 2 1. What’s been accomplished 2. What’s possible now 3. What needs to be done 4. What policies are needed 5. Some things you might expect
  3. 3. 3 Digital stuff for the custodial collections.* *that is, incoming stuff we’re taking curatorial responsibility for, not stuff we’ve digitized here, and not subscription databases or resources someone else maintains, etc.
  4. 4. 4 1. What’s been accomplished a. We’re acquiring a LOT of digital stuff, via: • Transfer from other agencies/organizations – Cooperative programs • Web archiving • Copyright deposit • Cataloging-in-Publication Program • Purchase • Gift
  5. 5. 5 1. What’s been accomplished: examples a. We’re acquiring a LOT of digital stuff through transfer services - • 116 million unique files • 2.74 petabytes of content in inventory • Growing at 1.5 terabytes per day 1,000,000 = megabyte 1,000,000,000 = gigabyte 1,000,000,000,000 = terabyte 1,000,000,000,000,000 = petabyte
  6. 6. 6 1. What’s been accomplished: examples a. We’re acquiring a LOT of digital stuff through web archiving - • 8.6 billion files • 534 terabytes
  7. 7. 7 1. What’s been accomplished: examples a. We’re acquiring a LOT of digital stuff, like: • Historical newspapers • Web sites • eResource content & reference works • E-serials • E-books • GIS data • 60+ other flows
  8. 8. 8 1. What’s been accomplished: focus to-date b. Assume “preservation = access” i. You can’t serve what isn’t preserved. ii. And you can’t preserve what you haven’t got. iii. So you have to get it first.
  9. 9. 9 1. What’s been accomplished: focus to-date c. Get it here! i. Identify i. Recommended Format Specifications ii. Transfer or capture iii. “Shelve” (long term storage) iv. Inventory v. Process
  10. 10. 10
  11. 11. 11 1. What’s been accomplished: tools d. Existing and new i. ILS ii. eCO iii. Bagger iv. DigiBoard v. Content Transfer Services vi. Delivery Management Services
  12. 12. 12 The “R” word
  13. 13. 13 1. What’s been accomplished “But I don’t see a repository!” We have one. It’s just being built in stages.
  14. 14. 14 It’s important to think in terms of “repository services”
  15. 15. 15 The Library’s digital life cycle framework guides repository services development.
  16. 16. 16 Repository services at the Library of Congress will be provided by integrating multiple software tools to support each stage of the life cycle. Some tools we have now. Some we’ll buy. Some we’ll build.
  17. 17. 17 2. What’s possible now We can: a. Identify what we want b. Get it to the Library c. Put it in server (secure, backed-up) storage d. Know what’s been received (central inventory) e. Get to it and describe/process it f. Manage it (in some cases) g. Provide to researchers (in some cases)
  18. 18. 18 A lot has been done. But that’s just the beginning. There’s a LOT more to do.
  19. 19. 19 3. What needs to be done Develop: • More digital collection breadth & depth • Across all subjects & formats • E.g., currently only 230 e-serials via eDeposit • More capacity • Both storage and processing • More standard – and automated – workflows
  20. 20. 20 3. What needs to be done Develop: • More collection management tools • For custodial & reference staff, curators, catalogers & acquisitions specialists • Better monitoring, reporting & auditing • More training • Better “big picture” views of the whole which leads us to…
  21. 21. 21 4. What policies are needed A tiny sampling: a. Collection Development: • Priorities – collection gaps? at-risk material? under-represented subjects/formats? • Print/digital balance a. Preservation • Levels of preservation service • Format action plans a. Metadata • Descriptive, but also administrative, technical
  22. 22. 22 4. What policies are needed A tiny sampling: a. Access • Who can access what from where • What they can do with it • How we can protect it
  23. 23. 23 So, what might this mean for you and your digital collections..?
  24. 24. 24 Some questions to ask • What is your Library’s aim in building its digital collections? • What is your role in that process? • What do you need to do your role with digital stuff - – Information? – Training? – Tools?
  25. 25. 25 5. Some things you might expect – a. greater volume and variety of stuff b. new workflows & new assignments c. new relationships with other parts of your organization d. to integrate new tasks with existing ones
  26. 26. 26 5. Some things you might expect – e. at first, handling digital stuff will be harder & slower than analog. Trust us on this. But that will improve. f. complications (i.e., the unexpected) g. tighter resources
  27. 27. 27 5. Some things you might expect – h. to learn some interesting new skills which will mean: i. more training, in lots of ways: • including what you tell your management that you need
  28. 28. 28 To succeed, we all need to 1. Work together better 2. Learn from experience • Educate each other 1. Become more efficient • Stop reinventing the wheel • Stomp on stovepipes • Build on tools/workflows that already exist
  29. 29. 29 To succeed, we all need to 4. Identify and develop what’s missing 5. Integrate, integrate, integrate • Systems, workflows, everything 6. Standardize, standardize, standardize • Formats, workflows, tools • …but allow for needed variations!
  30. 30. 30 And together we can make our way forward

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