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The challenge of the Digital Library

The challenge of the Digital Library



Case study of the managerial and personal challenges presentedby the digital library. Presented at Internet Librarian conference, London, 2007

Case study of the managerial and personal challenges presentedby the digital library. Presented at Internet Librarian conference, London, 2007



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  • Good afternoon. I have just 10 minutes to reflect on the challenges of digital library service. I have provided a much more detailed paper containing my thoughts on this and will here simply quickly summarise a few of the points. My focus is on the challenge to professional librarians and academic library managements that I have seen after various posts in UK university libraries with a digital focus and particularly in my current post at UCD which is the largest Univ library in Ireland, is rapidly redefining itself as a research university and where I have been for just under 3 years as electronic services librarian

The challenge of the Digital Library The challenge of the Digital Library Presentation Transcript

  • Session C101 – Challenges of Digital Library Service, “a little less conversation a little more action” Rosalind Pan Sub-Librarian Electronic Services University College Dublin Library (Ireland) [email_address]
  • UCD library is engaged…. and making good digital library progress
  • We are engaged….
  • We are engaged…. CSE – Google Custom Search Engine
  • We are engaged…. Mash-up Second Life
  • We are engaged…. Google Earth
  • We are engaged…. Second Life
  • We are engaged…. Blogs
  • We are engaged…. RSS Blogs have RSS feeds, plus maintain 2 for News and Electronic Resource News
  • We are engaged….
  • We are engaged….web 2.0 and widgets http://www.doodle.ch/ www.polldaddy.com
  • We are engaged….
  • We are engaged….
  • We are engaged….
  • We are engaged….
  • So the digital library at UCD is developing…
    • Online resources
    • Online resource discovery tools
    • Online library services
    • Library 2.0 additions
    • Individual challenges – the role, the skills, time management
    • Management challenge – teams, processes, management and policy making methods
    • Evolution or Transformation?
  • Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 From http://www.webware.com./html/ww/100.html
  • It has all happened quickly
    • “ A typical academic library needs a whole arsenal of products, including the following:
    • An ILS for managing the library's physical collections
    • An OpenURL link resolver to provide linking and other access options for electronic content
    • A federated searching tool to make it easier for users to search multiple information resources simultaneously
    • An electronic resource management (ERM) system to help staff manage subscriptions to electronic content products
    • An institutional repository for archiving and accessing scholarly articles or other material produced within the organization
    • An application for creating and managing local digital content, such as photograph collections, digitized manuscripts, or other special digital collections “
    • From : Marshall Breeding, Knitting Systems Together, Computers in Libraries, 26(9) 2006, pp 32-35
  • Some challenges summarised
    • Update web and portal pages - javascript
    • Maintain RSS feed, blog, WIKI
    • Work on online tutorials
    • Produce quality illustrated guides and workbooks
    • Use online business tools – applications, online calendars and meeting fixers, RSS current awareness systems
    • Contribute to online reference service via Chat
    • Put content into VLE environment
    • Master new resource discovery tools
    1. The individual challenge: perceptions of role and range of skills
  • 1 The individual challenge
    • My principal current awareness tool now – new since mid 2005
    • Had RSS workshops for Library staff in Summer 2006 – but how many are using it?
    RSS feeds for current awareness Netvibes
  • 1. The individual challenge Webstrat.blogspot.com www.wetpaint.com
  • 1. The individual challenge
    • Lecture + Podcast
    • Podcast of student interview
    • Online quiz
    • Handbook - 2 formats
    • Handout - summary
    • Individual activity
    • Group tutorial
    • On-line FAQ
    • Analyse how you spend your time
    • Delegate to library assistants all around you
    • Time management in a serious way - the simple “to do” list is a wonderful tool
    • Keep meetings to a schedule with action points, timelines and designated persons responsible
    • Multi-tasking at least 4 strands is required – core work, quick bits, unexpected problems, unexpected opportunities
    • A fast pace of work is required
    • Need aims, objectives personal and group targets
    2. More individual challenges: time management and productivity
  • Library and information knowledge and skills Learning and teaching Project working ICT Sector and Organisation Managing self Marketing
  • 3. The challenges of lack of confidence and risk aversion on digital service
    • You cannot wait months or years before developing digital library service
    • You don’t need to wait and see what other libraries are doing every time – you can lead as well as follow
    • “ A little less conversation a little more action”
    • You may have failures but that is an acceptable risk to take, rewards don’t come without risk
    • Libraries need an experimental strand, with no definite known outcomes at the start, to run alongside the normal management targets and timelines “Always say yes”
  • 4. Challenge: Am I turning into a legacy staff problem? http://www.secondlife.com/ BEBO Flickr YouTube MySpace Del.icio.us? A library Squidoo lens??? – you’ve got to be joking!
  • 4. Challenge: Am I turning into a legacy staff problem? … Spreading FUD about beta level technologies in their infancy doesn't elevate libraries or librarians, it makes us look even more antiquated than we're all ready perceived (Go ahead, ask any teenager). [http://features.lisnews.com/features/05/10/07/0921246.shtml?tid=18]
  • 5. Some challenges for management: agility, quick response and retaining control
    • “ As organizations libraries are slow movers, hosted by slowly moving institutions. Libraries are slow to recognize the fact that a new technology may allow [or beg] for a new mode of operations. The information world runs on Internet time”
    • (Van de Sompel, 2000)
  • 5. Some challenges for management: agility, quick response and retaining control
    • Agile and quick systems for strategy formulation and decision-making
    • A different vision of meetings and how to do them
    • Bring in all grades and people from all teams
    • Bring individual enthusiasts into the process, avoid Techno-Worship
    • Avoid by-passing of management structures
    • Need a proper managed cycle:
      • Brainstorming for new and modified services
      • Planning for services and success
      • Evaluating those services on a regular basis
  • 6. Some more challenges for management: planning the digital library in the longer term and sorting out the mess
    • Senior management must lead developments as well as manage them
    • We need a long term strategic plan
    • We need to put all developments into a wider coherent plan
    • We need to review the wide range of digital systems that we have
    • We need to begin to integrate systems and also to work on interoperability
  • 7. Some more challenges for management
    • Can we evolve or must we radically transform?
    • Tweak existing teams or have totally new ones to match our digital library?
    • Some new types of library role?
    • Mainstreaming v. Dedicated e-service teams?
    • The IT skills issue
  • Just a few Solutions to end with
  • Possibilities – New types of role
    • Online tutorial developers, Podcast developers, Blog and WIKI developers, Library business process managers, Information Skills co-ordinators, Website managers, Data librarians, GIS librarians, repository managers
  • Possibilities – New groups
    • Emerging Technologies Group
    • Web Development Group
    • Electronic Resources Framework
  • Possibilities – new library teams
    • Review current workflows
    • Identify mainstreaming opportunities and changes in role needed
    • Identify where extra staff could be added to supplement teams
    • Consider what additional Digital library teams are needed with what skills
  • Possibilities – awareness and training programme for library staff
    • 1-off events
    • Series of related training
    • All year round programmes
    • External programmes
    • “ When McMaster University hailed the hiring of a new chief librarian last year, then-provost Ken Norrie called the arrival of the new man a “coup.” Now, just seven months into the job, Jeffrey Trzeciak is shedding parts of the old regime and changing the basic mission of the library.
    • Forget resorting the card catalogue — his “transformation ” is all about Second Life, blogs, wikis and the hiring of what’s likely the first gaming librarian at a university library…..”
    A more radical approach required?
  • A more radical approach required?
    • Digital Transition Brings Changes to LC’s Workforce
    • “… LC Director for Workforce Acquisitions Bill Ayers said 200 employees had taken advantage of a voluntary retirement incentive for librarians who had become “very comfortable” with traditional librarianship and chose not to gain new technological skills …
    • LC is preparing a workforce transformation initiative to help current employees upgrade their abilities while attracting new staff with digital-era skills .”
  • Thank you.
    • [email_address]