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Engaging Your Community Through Cultural Heritage Digital Libraries


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Based on the book Exploring Digital Libraries, this ALA Techsource webinar examines cultural heritage collections in the context of the social web and online communities. Calhoun and Brenner explore the possibilities and provide examples of digital libraries' shift toward social platforms, along the way discussing how to increase discoverability and community engagement, for instance through crowdsourcing.

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Engaging Your Community Through Cultural Heritage Digital Libraries

  1. 1. Supporting Digital Scholarship: Engaging Your Community Through Cultural Heritage Digital Libraries ALA TechSource Workshop Karen Calhoun Aaron Brenner October 8, 2014 1
  2. 2. Calhoun, Karen. Exploring Digital Libraries: Foundations, Practice, Prospects. Chicago: ALA Neal- Schuman, 2014. Chapter 7 “Digital libraries and their communities” Chapter 10 “Digital libraries and the social web: collections and platforms” 2
  3. 3. Learning objectives • Consider the context in which digital libraries are discovered locally, regionally and globally • Be acquainted with some ideas for examining your assumptions about your audiences and their needs • Evaluate some ways to increase the “social life” of your cultural heritage digital collections • Become familiar with some examples of crowdsourcing in cultural heritage digital libraries 3
  4. 4. Poll: Are you responsible for managing, or helping to manage a digital library? Yes – cultural heritage digital library Yes - subject-based or institutional repository Yes – other Yes – several of the above  No 4
  5. 5. Two Main Issues Visibility and reach (discoverability) • “Unlearn” some core assumptions (DLs as destination sites) • Understand the context in which digital libraries are discovered locally, regionally and globally “Social life” of digital libraries • The web as a platform for participation • Changing community expectations • From collections to platforms 5
  6. 6. Getting Attention on the Web 6 “You Are What You Link” Source: Adamic and Adar 2001
  7. 7. Discoverability: Integrated and Decentralized  Integrated discoverability • “The Libraries will need a [pre-indexed] system or service layer that integrates metadata from internal, external, owned, licensed, and freely-available data sources selected by library staff” (Hanson et al. 2011)  Decentralized discoverability “The Libraries should generate … metadata for local collections and data sources that can be exported, harvested, or made available for crawling by external systems.” (Hanson et al. 2011) 7
  8. 8. An Example of Best Practice (you are what you link)! 8
  9. 9. 9
  10. 10. Integrated Discovery 10 Content from Creators and Their Agents Local Catalog Local Digital Libraries Locally managed resources Feeds from other sources (fee or free) Local discovery layer Decentralized Discoverability Uploaded/harvested/crawled /indexed metadata & links Library cooperative commons services and registries ArchiveGrid Search engines (Google, Google Scholar) National, National, international, and domain-specific collections and international, and domain-specific collections and National, international, and domain-specific services services collections and services Europeana DPLA Digital Lib. of Georgia
  11. 11. Pause for questions, comments 11
  12. 12. Online Community Life Cycle 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. 12
  13. 13. If a network-based service’s intended communities do not actively engage and participate, the service will (eventually) die. 13
  14. 14. Social digital libraries? 14 • 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.
  15. 15. Changing Community Expectations 15 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.
  16. 16. The web as a platform for participation 16
  17. 17. What is the social web? 17 • 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
  18. 18. Digital libraries and the social web 18 • 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.
  19. 19. From static repositories to social platforms? 19 Dan Cohen History scholar Exec. Director, DPLA (Formerly of Center for History and New Media) “Social platforms” are active, open, modular, gregarious and “chatty” with other software, servers, people and organizations
  20. 20. What would change? 20 Transitions associated with the shift to social digital libraries and repositories (figure 9.1, p. 214, Exploring Digital Libraries
  21. 21. What to do? Inventory columns/questions Name Size Target Audiences/communities Usage (stats, webanalytics) Rankings Similar/related/competitor sites Last needs assessment? Benefits to target audiences Communications/outreach activities Potential for web services/social features? What else? 21 Inventory of your digital collections repositories?
  22. 22. Some Possibilities to Consider • Needs assessment of your intended audiences • Environmental scan: look at examples in other organizations • Examine your digital library using the online communities life cycle model (slide 12) • Inventory your digital collections to identify opportunities to make them more social and aligned with community needs/practices • Don’t do anything within your organizational “silo” – reach out, look for willing partners and pilot/demo projects 22 What else?
  23. 23. Questions: • In what ways have you reached out to give a user focus to your digital library work? • What are challenges – social, technical, resources, expertise – you face in doing so? 23
  24. 24. Platforms: more than open access, opening knowledge creation 24 Europeana Business Plan 2014
  25. 25. Characterizing crowdsourcing for cultural heritage “[A]sking the public to undertake meaningful tasks … in an environment where the activities and/or goals provide inherent rewards for participation” - Mia Ridge 25 less: more:
  26. 26. Enriching content: Transcription, tagging, identification 26
  27. 27. Participatory Collection-Building 27
  28. 28. Immediate History / Memorials 28
  29. 29. Connecting in person: Roadshows & Collecting Days 29
  30. 30. Engagement-First Projects: NYPL Labs What it means fundamentally,” Vershbow continues, “is re-imagining the very roles of librarians and curators, positioning them not only as custodians of physical collections, but as leaders of online communities.” nypl-turns-crowd-develop-digital-collections 30 Labs doodle by Michael Lascarides
  31. 31. Beyond transcription: 31
  32. 32. Ultimately, crowdsourcing is about far more than collecting data 32 Trevor Owens:
  33. 33. Getting collections on the network Cooper Hewitt Collections developer Sebastian Chan: The site “puts the museum properly ‘on the Network’... ...asserts the value of even incomplete object records in the face of falling public funding for digitization and culture in general ...communicates to the public that the museum is human and fallible, just like them aimed at both scholars and casual visitors, and increasingly machines and robots that inhabit the web” 33
  34. 34. Wikipedia: for mutual benefit 34
  35. 35. Microdata: richer representation on the Web 35
  36. 36. Leveraging Linked Data to support communities: multi-lingual support 36
  37. 37. Linked data for mapping communities 37
  38. 38. Other strategies for engaging & socializing digital libraries: 38
  39. 39. Chatty and unpredictable: Serendipity, bots, and applications 39
  40. 40. Localizing views & contributions 40
  41. 41. Visualizing the data inside collections
  42. 42. ...and uses we cannot anticipate: “...[R]esearchers may want to interact with a collection of artifacts, or they may want to work with a data corpus. Some may want to search for stories in historic newspapers. Some may want to mine newspaper OCR for trends across time periods and geographic areas. Some may want to see what a specific user tweeted. Some may want to look at the spread of an event hashtag across the world in a day.” Leslie Johnston, “Data is the New Black,” The Signal: Digital Preservation, October 14, 2011,
  43. 43. Happening now: 680 other ideas 43
  44. 44. Thank You! No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main. Meditation XVII, John Donne 44
  45. 45. Over to you! 45
  46. 46. References (1/3) • Adamic, Lada A., and Eytan Adar. 2001. “You Are What You Link.” In 10th Annual International World Wide Web Conference, Hong Kong. • Calhoun, Karen (2014). Exploring Digital Libraries. Chicago: ALA Neal-Schuman • Chan, Sebastian. “Cooper-Hewitt Online Collection | MW2013: Museums and the Web 2013.” Accessed September 25, 2014. online-collection/. • Charles, Valentine, and Cécile Devarenne. “Europeana Enriches Its Data with the Art and Architecture Thesaurus.” Europeana Professional. • Cohen, Dan. “The Social Life of Digital Libraries,” April 2010. 46
  47. 47. References (2/3) • De Jager, Wiebe. “Helping Cultural Heritage Institutions Get Their Content on Wikipedia | Europeana,” August 6, 2014. get-their-content-on-wikipedia/. • Europeana Business Plan 2014. Accessed March 31, 2014. • Gan, Vicky. “All Hands on Deck: NYPL Turns to the Crowd to Develop Digital Collections.” Accessed September 25, 2014. crowd-develop-digital-collections. • Hanson, Cody, and Heather Hessel. University of Minnesota Libraries - Discoverability Phase 2 Report, February 4, 2011. • “LD4L Use Cases - Linked Data for Libraries - DuraSpace Wiki.” 47
  48. 48. References (3/3) • Owens, Trevor (2012) “Crowdsourcing Cultural Heritage: The Objectives are Upside Down”. • Pattuelli, M. Cristina, Matt Miller, Leanora Lange, Sean Fitzell, and Carolyn Li-Madeo. “Crafting Linked Open Data for Cultural Heritage: Mapping and Curation Tools for the Linked Jazz Project.” The Code4Lib Journal, no. 21 (July 15, 2013). • Proffitt, Merrilee, and Sara Snyder. “CNI: Wikipedia and Libraries: What’s the Connection?” presented at the Coalition for Networked Information Fall 2012 Membership Meeting, December 10, 2012. • Ridge, Mia. “Open Objects: Sharing Is Caring Keynote ‘Enriching Cultural Heritage Collections through a Participatory Commons.’” Accessed March 31, 2014. 48