Monday, October 17, 2011

Research Librarians Consider the Risks and Rewards of Collaboration.

Research Librarians Consider the Risks and Rewards of Collaboration. Jennifer Howard. The Chronicle of Higher Education. October 16, 2011.

Association of Research Libraries’ meeting discussed research and preservation projects like the HathiTrust digital repository and the proposed Digital Public Library of America, plans for which are moving ahead. Concerning the Digital Public Library of America: “Library” is a misnomer in this case, which is more of a federation of existing objects. It wouldn’t own anything. The main contribution would be to set standards and link resources.  “The user has to drive this.”

They said that it’s almost three times more expensive to store materials locally than it is to store them with HathiTrust. Researchers now also create and share digital resources themselves via social-publishing sites such as Scribd. There is a need for collection-level tools that allow scholars and curators to see beyond catalog records.

Discussed Recollection, a free platform built by NDIIPP and a company named Zepheira to give a better “collection-level view” of libraries’ holdings. The platform can be used to build interactive maps, timelines, and other interfaces from descriptive metadata and other information in library catalogs. So, for instance, plain-text place names on a spreadsheet can be turned into points of latitude and longitude and plotted on a map.

“Rebalancing the Investment in Collections,” discussed that libraries had painted themselves into a corner by focusing too much on their collection budgets. Investing in the right skills and partnerships is most critical now. “The comprehensive and well-crafted collection is no longer an end in itself.”

On person told librarians that they shouldn’t rush to be the first to digitize everything and invest in every new technology. “Everybody underestimates the cost of innovation,” he said. “Instead of rushing in and participating in a game where you don’t have the muscle, you want to stand back” and wait for the right moment.

Digital Preservation Matters.

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