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Moving from Niche to Mainstream: the Evolution of the UCD Digital Library


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Presentation by Eugene Roche, UCD Library Assistant, UCD Special Collections, and Julia Barrett, Head of Research Services, UCD Library, at the Library Association of Ireland Rare Books Group seminar on 'Digitisation of Special Collections', Friday, 27 November 2015, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Ireland.

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Moving from Niche to Mainstream: the Evolution of the UCD Digital Library

  1. 1. An Leabharlann UCD Moving from niche to mainstream: the evolution of the UCD Digital Library 1 Eugene Roche, Special Collections Librarian Julia Barrett, Research Services Manager UCD Library
  2. 2. Structure of the presentation: Eugene • Niche – the early days of the DL and limitations. • The criteria used for selection of the first projects • Point of view of repository stake holder Julia • Current “Drivers” • Mainstreaming • Managing expectations • Summary of the journey 2
  3. 3. A note on structure and corporate entities • The Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive (IVRLA) was a component of the UCD Humanities Institute and was conceived as a five-year research project which ran from January 2005 to December 2009, funded by the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) Phase 3 • Evolved into what is now the UCD Digital Library 3
  4. 4. The Horseless Carriage • Digitisation seen in simple terms like a early motor car was defined as a carriage without horses – unaware of its potential • Focus summed up in the word “surrogate” seen in simplistic terms as providing a substitute for the hard copy • “whether such efforts [digitisation projects] will be effective for more than limited, well defined sub-sets of special collections is unclear” (Bradshaw and Wagner, 2000)* *Bradshaw, E. B., & Wagner, S. C. (2000). A common ground: communication and alliance between cataloguer and curator for improved access to rare books and special collections. College & Research Libraries, 61(6), 525-534. 4
  5. 5. Selection Criteria What did we choose and why? • Available technology • Preservation issues • What was already digitised or likely to be digitised? • User demand • Available metadata 5
  6. 6. Available Technology • The “Creo” scanner above was the only one available for the first five years. It could take only single sheets up to A3 size • Could do single sheets or pamphlets (or maps using post scan stitching) 6
  7. 7. Preservation • Historical Maps - John Rocque • Ó Lochlainn Ballad Sheets • Often sparked desire to see the original 7
  8. 8. • Our 18th Century Pamphlets?– ECCO produced digital copies of of almost 150,000 18th century books and pamphlets in 2002 • “We own the 18th century”! – Mark Holland (Gale Group /ECC0, 2002) • UCD Special Collections submitted fifty 19th century pamphlets for digitisation - designed to act as a showcase for the rest of the 19th century holdings Already Digitised 8
  9. 9. User Demand • Thomas Hardy’s Ms. Return of the native • Demand from the international academic community for digitised copy of the manuscript to facilitate research • Simon J Gatrell and Tim Doolin Hardy's study at Max Gate 9
  10. 10. Sources for Metadata Available or not ? 43 volume collection of 19th and 20th century Irish language manuscripts Ca. 10,000 images Existing calendar dating from early 20th Century Reliable metadata confined to brief descriptions from Hayes “Sources” Patrick Ferriter 1856-1924 Ferriter Ms. 5
  11. 11. Drivers • Decade of Anniversaries • UCD’s strategic objectives – Increase the quality, quantity and impact of our research, scholarship and innovation – Build our engagement locally, nationally and internationally • Academic impact • Public impact • Increasing awareness of the use of digital technologies to facilitate research insights and communication • Internal re-organisation: UCD Archives and NFC • Opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with repositories, Schools, academics, etc.
  12. 12. Profiling e.g. collection scoping Digital Asset Curation e.g. scanning, file processing Cataloguing Copyright Ingest Quality Review Publicity Evaluation A time-consuming process
  13. 13. So how do we decide? Demand Relevance Rarity At risk material Metadata Copyright / IPR
  14. 14. Stakeholders • Repositories • Researchers • Teachers • UCD Schools and Research Centres • UCD • Library
  15. 15. Transforming Teaching I am working for Liverpool Hope University developing an app to be used by English Literature students celebrating the life and work of Gerard Manley Hopkins. One of the main aims of the app is to humanise Hopkins in a way he perhaps hasn't been in a classic academic syllabus. I understand you hold letters from Hopkins would there be any chance I could use any images you have of his handwritten letters? I believe the letters give a truer sense of his thought processes and a sense of him as a man.
  16. 16. Researching Hidden Histories: Eithne Coyle O’Donnell • Eithne Coyle O’Donnell was an Irish Republican activist. She was a leading figure within Cumann na mBan and a member of the Gaelic League. • She would also become notorious for her involvement in two high- profile prison escapes in the 1920s. UCD Archives
  17. 17. Discovering Patterns: Iberian Books
  18. 18. Place / time visualisation
  19. 19. School Funding Application: Ryan Report • The structure of the Ryan Report makes institutional comparisons difficult, thus hiding how child abuse emerged and became systemic over time. • It also obscures the pattern of movement of staff and victims between institutions which must be important to understanding the diffusion of the culture of abuse
  20. 20. • “Dynamic Heat Map … The heat map will bring together current digital arts visualisation and digital mapping techniques to create a geospatial heat map of institutional expansion and decline over the century 1899- 1999. • This heat map will follow the lead of the Iberian Books Project (UCD Centre for the History of the Media; Mellon Foundation Funded). • This aspect of the project outcomes will be done in collaboration with the UCD Digital Library team.” • “Long term sustainability will be ensured via digital archiving through the UCD Digital Library, which is a certified Trusted Digital Repository.” Successful School of English, Drama & Film and School of Computer Science grant application to IRC: €213,958 awarded.
  21. 21. Managing Expectations • Work with others; communication; relationship- building – Highlight what is involved • Flowchart; LibGuide – Academic “champions” • Services – How do we know what the demand is for specific services? – How do we satisfy the demand for new services e.g. inclusion of a narrative or timeline or a heat map? – How do users know what the potential uses are of our digital collections?
  22. 22. Managing Expectations • Articulate roles, procedures and expectations – MOUs • Create efficiencies – Workflows – from the start 22 • Jessie Lendennie’s “Funny Dog” poem • Film-maker used this title as it was supplied by poet • Library could not track the poem down • School of English assistance: “For the Guys with Apologies for Human Frailty”. • Irish Poetry Reading Archive: Poetry Title Check Sheet
  23. 23. Summary DL pushes out to Reps Demand, rarity, at risk Digital analogue Builds on niche – trust, expertise Reps push out to DL New, external Reps Tie in to strategic objectives of wider stakeholders (not only Reps) Functionality advances create more opportunities for widening stakeholder base with their various strategic aims Becomes more “core” and embedded Creates more demand Manage expectations 23