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Supporting Digital Scholarship: From Collections to Communities


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A webinar presented by Aaron Brenner and Karen Calhoun for ALA TechSource based on Calhoun's book Exploring Digital Libraries (ALA Neal-Schuman, 2014).

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Supporting Digital Scholarship: From Collections to Communities

  1. 1. Supporting Digital Scholarship: From Collections to Online Communities ALATechSourceWorkshop Karen Calhoun Aaron Brenner June 19, 2014 1
  2. 2. Exploring Digital Libraries: Foundations, Practice, Prospects Karen Calhoun ALA Neal-Schuman, 2014 Chapter 7 “Digital libraries and their communities” Chapter 8 “The prospects of open access repositories” Chapter 9 “Digital libraries and the social web: scholarship” 2
  3. 3. Key Challenge for Digital Libraries: Community Engagement For the viability of their agendas, and for their sustainability:  Economically  Socially  Ethically 3 Source: Rebecca Siegel, CC BY 2.0
  4. 4. Prospects of Repositories In general, subject-based repositories have been more successful at attracting submissions and use 4 World ranking of 1,746 web repositories, January 2014 Source:
  5. 5. Successful Subject Repositories: Are woven into the way their disciplines communicate:  Readers/researchers: where they look for information, see what’s been or will be published, look for collaborators  Writers/contributors: where they “register” their work (and establish claims to discoveries), where they first share their work with colleagues for comment/review  See also Erway (2012) Lasting Impact:Sustainability of Disciplinary Repositories Had a strong community orientation at inception and have a high degree of trust and participation at maturity 5
  6. 6. Institutional Repositories By contrast, institutional repositories have faced and continue to face serious challenges  A lack of clarity around purpose and focus  Weak understandings of community needs, attitudes, work practices/motivators  Scholars’ lack of awareness of the repository or its benefits  Recruiting content 6
  7. 7. A repository should not be a solution looking for a problem to solve 7
  8. 8. Poll: Are you responsible for managing, or helping to manage a repository? Yes – subject-based Yes – institutional Yes – other Yes – several of the above  No 8
  9. 9. Online Community Life Cycle 9 Life cycle model of success factors for digital libraries in social environments Based on Iriberri and Leroy (2009) Calhoun, K. (2014). Exploring Digital Libraries. p. 161. Used with permission.
  10. 10. If a network-based service’s intended communities do not actively engage and participate, the service will (eventually) die. 10
  11. 11. A critical measure of engagement and participation 11 Ratio of amount of content in the repository content that could reasonably be expected to be there
  12. 12. How big are they vs. how big should they be? “If all of the tenured academic research active staff at a UK university deposited all of their annual output (papers, presentations, learning materials, etc.) in the institutional repository, deposits would be in the range of 10,000 items per year” (Carr and Brody 2007) 12
  13. 13. Pause for questions, comments 13
  14. 14. Lessons from researching the book • Why have some repositories had a distinctive impact on the communities they were built to serve, while others are more or less ignored? 14
  15. 15. What to do? Inventory repositories Understand target audiences 15 Name Size Usage (stats, web analytics) Rankings Similar/related/competitor sites Last needs assessment? Benefits to target audiences Communications/outreach activities Potential for web services/social features? What else? Audience segmentation Size Needs assessments (personas?) Work practice studies Discipline-specific norms Funders, funding policies Value propositions (by audience segment) What else?
  16. 16. Improving value propositions to stakeholders and target audiences 16 Hosting Library • Fostering open access to scholarship • Raising profile of library’s curatorial role in scholarly communication Parent Institution • Showcasing institution’s intellectual output/prestige • Source of institution-level metrics Institution’s End-Users • Discovering research conducted locally • Networking, finding collaborators Institution’s Faculty & Researchers • Increasing exposure to work • Solving visibility, management, or access problems Government Agencies • Supporting knowledge transfer and economic growth Adapted from: Calhoun, K. (2014). Exploring Digital Libraries.Table 8.1, p. 183 Used with permission
  17. 17. Question: In what ways have you reached out to give a user focus to your repository work? 17
  18. 18. Repositories:What’s Next? 1. In what ways will repositories support the emergent 21st century scholarly research infrastructure? 2. To what extent are repositories likely to evolve into a sustainable, global ecosystem for capturing, making accessible, and preserving the scholarly record? 18
  19. 19. Will a network-based ecosystem of loosely- coupled, communicating services emerge? 19
  20. 20. Digital libraries and the social web The advent of the social web provides an opportunity to shift the focus and core assumptions of digital libraries … Away from: Their collections and information processes (selecting, organizing, providing access, etc.) In favor of: New, community-centered ways of thinking about services, expectations and potential social roles. 20
  21. 21. What is the social web?  The term “social web” refers collectively to the web sites, tools and services that facilitate interactions, collaboration, content creation and sharing, contribution and participation on the web  The distinguishing characteristics are human and machine-to-machine interactions  The social web supports many types of online communities, and not just those who participate in social networks  In addition to the many web services and APIs that support the social web, the large-scale take-up of mobile smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices has created a huge scope of opportunity for social web growth 21
  22. 22. Social digital libraries and repositories?  Most continue to operate from a traditional, collections-centered service mode  The social nature and roles of a library are typically lost – DLs and repos are mostly read-only (“web 1.0”)  A digital library that incorporates social web approaches continues to be the exception rather than the rule. 22
  23. 23. Changing Community Expectations 23 When individuals who use social sites and tools approach digital libraries (and repositories), they bring their social web expectations with them. The digital libraries that continue to operate from a traditional, collections-centered service model (that is, nearly all of them) are now faced with finding their place in the fast-moving, chaotic information space of the social web. Source: BY 2.0
  24. 24. What would change? 24 Transitions associated with the shift to social digital libraries and repositories Calhoun, K. (2014). Exploring Digital Libraries. Figure 9.1 p. 214. Used with permission
  25. 25. 25 The evolution of digital libraries toward new roles on the social web Calhoun, K. (2014). Exploring Digital Libraries. Figure 9.2 p. 215. Used with permission.
  26. 26. 26 Social web impacts on researchers and scholarship Calhoun, K. (2014). Exploring Digital Libraries. Figure 9.3 p. 217. Used with permission.
  27. 27. Over to you! • In what ways is your library moving beyond its established portfolio of services in support of digital scholarship? • What do you make of the emergent (and presently chaotic) information space defined by e-research initiatives, scholarly social networks, altmetrics, researcher profiling systems…? 27
  28. 28. References (1/2) • Calhoun, Karen (2014). Exploring Digital Libraries. Chicago: ALA Neal-Schuman • Carr, Leslie, andTim Brody (2007) Size Isn’t Everything. D-Lib Magazine 13 (7/8) • Cybermetrics Lab, CSIC (2014). The RankingWeb of World repositories. Retrieved June, 2014 from 28
  29. 29. References (2/2) • Erway, Ricky (2012) Lasting Impact: Sustainability of Disciplinary Repositories. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research. • Iriberri, Alicia, and Gondy Leroy (2009) A Life-Cycle Perspective on Online Community Success. ACM Computing Surveys 41(2):11 29