Pursuing the Digital Libraries Dream: Perspectives on Becoming a Vendor

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A presentation for the Career and Personal Development track at the Catholic University of America's 2014 Bridging the Spectrum Symposium for the Library and Information Science Department within the School of Arts and Sciences.

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Pursuing the Digital Libraries Dream: Perspectives on Becoming a Vendor

  1. 1. Pursuing the Digital Libraries Dream Reflections on Becoming a Vendor 2014 CUA-LIS Bridging the Spectrum Symposium Richard Huffine, Senior Director January 31, 2014 U.S. Federal Government Market, ProQuest
  2. 2. My Personal Timeline • 1995 – Graduation – MLIS from UNC-Greensboro • 1996 – 9 months later – Contractor, EPA – Internet Librarian • 1998 – Federal job – Web and Library Services – National Library Program Manager • 2005 – First transfer, GSA – Web Analytics Manager • 2007 – Second transfer, USGS 2014 CUA-LIS Bridging the Spectrum Symposium January 31, 2014 – National Library Coordinator – Library Director • 2013 – Departure - ProQuest
  3. 3. Libraries Then and Now Then • Internet was new • E-mail was new • Libraries was print-based (with some CDROMs, disks) Always 2014 CUA-LIS Bridging the Spectrum Symposium January 31, 2014 Now • Internet is baked-in to our services • E-mail is old, almost obsolete • Library is largely electronic; print is a small part of what users need. • Library mission is split between meeting the needs of internal users and serving public requests. • It is hard to get the potential user base engaged, trained, and aware of library services. • Making the business case for libraries hinges on what the decision-makers value.
  4. 4. The Promise of the Internet • The growth in electronic resources has made a lot of the promises of a digital library a reality. • The array of resources online today, and the ways information can be used are astounding • However, some promises of the digital future still alludes many government libraries. 2014 CUA-LIS Bridging the Spectrum Symposium January 31, 2014 • Creation, management, and preservation of digital resources is not supported by the current infrastructure. • Information security policies limit government library participation in many larger efforts. • The cost of both content and services also prevents many libraries from innovating.
  5. 5. The Reality of the Digital Revolution • “Going Digital” has cost libraries and their institutions a lot of money and was not adequately planned. • The cost of journal subscriptions – and the constant demand for more content by users – has slowed progress on other aspects of a digital library – Virtual Reference – Interactivity (visualization, workflow integration) – Curation of digital content • Skill sets are still inconsistent across the variety of roles in the library. 2014 CUA-LIS Bridging the Spectrum Symposium January 31, 2014
  6. 6. Future Generations 2014 CUA-LIS Bridging the Spectrum Symposium January 31, 2014 • We are “growing” the right kinds of new information professionals • Academic programs are presenting library and information science as the rich field of opportunity it is today • Employers, however, are not necessarily ready to “employ” and “deploy” these new professionals well • The “leadership gap” is not out of a lack of will, but a complex challenge of balancing what is and what could be for libraries
  7. 7. The Vendor Community 2014 CUA-LIS Bridging the Spectrum Symposium January 31, 2014 • The same charge is true for library vendors today • There are a lot of innovative approaches to the challenges libraries are facing available from vendors • Open Source also offers a rich array of options for rethinking both content and services • Library transformation has to be incremental, iterative, and simply a part of every day in our libraries today • The vendor community can be a partner in thinking about how your library will transform itself
  8. 8. Making the Leap • Choosing to join a vendor required: – – – – Faith in my skills Faith in the commitment of the company to libraries Willingness to learn the business side of libraries Understanding that there was no “net” • No decision is permanent 2014 CUA-LIS Bridging the Spectrum Symposium January 31, 2014 – There will always be options for me to • Return to a government position • Lead another type of library • Work for a different vendor or library partner – We grow by taking on challenges
  9. 9. Grow Where You Are Planted • For now, I get to: – – – – Continue working with government libraries Continue trying to implement digital libraries Work with new content and services Work to try and solve the problems librarians and their users face every day • I also get to: 2014 CUA-LIS Bridging the Spectrum Symposium January 31, 2014 – Remain active in the profession – Be a voice for government libraries and librarians from outside the fold – Find my voice on issues impacting libraries
  10. 10. Bridging the Divide • Once a librarian, always a librarian – I have the chance to speak, mentor, develop and support new professionals and those wishing to make a change in their own careers – I have made it into – and out of – government employment and, for now, can offer some advice on navigating the process • Find your voice… and use it – I have always spoken out for other types of libraries: public, school, academic – I can now speak out for government libraries too 2014 CUA-LIS Bridging the Spectrum Symposium January 31, 2014
  11. 11. Moral of the Story • Your career will take many twists and turns • Learn from every experience and develop skills that you can take with you to the next opportunity • Never say never… the thing you could never imagine doing may be just what you want someday • Never burn bridges… you may need them sooner than you can imagine 2014 CUA-LIS Bridging the Spectrum Symposium January 31, 2014

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