Tag Archives: digital collections

We deal in slides: Speaking next week at WNYLRC

13 Apr

As God as my witness, I thought weeks had more days in them.

The presentation as UNYSLA went really well, I think, and was bracketed by other excellent talks. I’m glad I got to see the whole thing, and would love to coalesce my thoughts about the event into words here. But I’m already prepping for my next presentation/workshop, so check out my fellow presenter Jill Hurst-Wahl’s take on things.

My next gig is on Monday, outside of Buffalo at the Western New York Library Resources Council:

Building Digital Communities With Digital Collections

Librarians can build online communities around their digital collections in the same way they build physical communities around their physical collections: by providing resources that interest their patrons, by making their patrons feel comfortable using those resources, and by providing their patrons with a sense of ownership of those resources. Hear how one library used the tools provided by new technologies to build a community of users around DigitalCommons@ILR, a premier institutional and disciplinary repository. Jim will discuss Catherwood’s strategies, practices, experiences and lessons learned, and illustrate how their success keeps patrons coming back.

There will be ample time for discussion. Please consider sharing information about your own library’s digital collections, or even doing a short demonstration.

I confess I’m not thrilled with the description, and that my dissatisfaction is entirely my fault. As described, it’s basically my talk from CiL2010, plus workshop elements. While that’s somewhat understandable — this event was originally scheduled for last November, and was prompted by good feedback the CiL presentation had received — the description itself feels somewhat obsolete to me. I wrote it nearly eighteen months ago, and those months have been full of work and thinking and assessment and discussion.

But, all is far from lost. It was good to revisit that presentation, see what still resonated and what needed to be removed. My plan now is to use a revised version of that preso’s thesis as a skeleton for the first part of the day, bring in some interactive bits rooted in the workshop Amy Buckland and I ran at CiL11 to get people talking and involved, and on the whole offer something that reflects my current thinking on these issues, allows attendees the opportunity to explore this stuff on their own terms, but doesn’t let me fall into the trap of simply rehashing an old presentation.

If you’re in the area and this sounds interesting to you, I hope to see you there! I’m thinking it’ll be a good one.

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Labor Research Review

29 Sep

So while I was on vacation, the news about the project my group’s been working on for the past year finally got announced. Now that I’ve been back almost a week, I figure it’s about time I share said news.

Over the past year, Catherwood Library’s Web & Digital Project Group digitized all 24 issues of the Labor Research Review and made them available in all their full-teach searchable glory on DigitalCommons@ILR.

It feels great to have this thing out in front of the world. Professor Lance Compa came to our Collection Development Librarian, Suzanne Cohen, last year with the idea for digitizing LRR, and she passed it on to me. It took some legwork to get all the copies needed from the Midwest Center for Labor Research, and then our student assistant Susanne Donovan spent longer than she probably wants to think about scanning all of the articles contained therein.

I decided to go with the journal-style series offered by the DigitalCommons software so that the articles could be organized intuitively; while this almost certainly ended up being the right call, it did lead to a lot of wrestling with a system initially designed for the publication of current online journals in order to produce what amounted to a digital archive. Luckily, the folks at bepress are awesome, and stepped up to help us out all along the way.

(I’m also glad those Photoshop seminars I went to finally came in handy, when I had to prepare the cover art and produce the image for the series home page and displayed above. I love me some arts ‘n’ craft days.)

All in all, it was a helluva project to run. I’m lucky to have the folks working with me that I do, and I think we put out something pretty damned cool. Check it out, if you’re of the mind to.

A query on the assessment of digital collections

6 Apr

Happy Tuesday, loyal readers! I’m here to pick your brains.

What kind of resources or case studies have y’all heard about for the assessment of digital collections from a user-focused point of view? Not a “how many hits we get” or a “how friendly is our interface” kind of thing, but a “this collection has few users, but it’s vital to them, while this one has a lot of hits but doesn’t tend to get repeat customers” kind of thing.

This was prompted by a visit from a colleague who posed the question in the context of digital image collections, but as I’m pondering it and asking around I start to wonder if  it’s exposing a gap in the assessment of digital resources.

How have you folks seen this question addressed?