LITA 2016: Strategic Developments in Digital Initiatives at Academic Libraries

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Strategic Developments in Digital Initiatives at Academic Libraries

Jenny JingManager, Library Systems,Brandeis University Library LITA Forum 2016, Fort Worth, TXNov., 18, 2016



BusinessTechnology LibraryBusiness: Strategy (Why, What, How)

2. Reality: Academic Libraries, Library Technology, Digital Initiatives

Strategic Developments:3.1 Library3.2 Technology3.3 Business

4. Conclusion & whats Next?Mission

In recent years, library IT departments have been facing new challenges such as reduced funding, multiple systems to support, a shift from local hosted technology to web-based technology/cloud computing. These challenges are reshaping library IT services in terms of Collaboration, Resource sharing, Innovation, etc. How can we deal with these challenges and identify opportunities to improve our services in digital initiatives? How can we adopt these changes and shift our roles from traditional system support personnel to professional library IT experts? These are some of the open-ended questions we want to bring up and discuss in this session.

There are three types of knowledge needed to support the library and achieve its mission: they are library, technology and business.2

1. Business: Strategy Why?


StrategyStrategy: A method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.


Without strategies, an organization is just like the boy in the movie life of pi , who was in the middle of no where and without map, tool, goal, etc. Another movie I can think of is this: which means even with high technology and professionals, without the right strategy or implementation of the strategy, an organization wouldnt be able to be successful.

In library, I have seen some issues/problems in the technology level, which are caused by lacking of library knowledge/skills, or business skills, such as policies, decision-making, directions, etc. So I think if we spend a little time on improving the business side of our work, for example, making strategies in the library and technology level, we should be able to save a lot of time/resources. I will explain what I mean in details in the following slides.3

1.1. Business: Strategy What? Three principles:

- Create unique valuable position - Choose What not to do - Define activities to support the strategy

Michael Porteridentifies three principles underlying strategy: creating a "unique and valuable [market] position", making trade-offs by choosing "what not to do", and creating "fit" by aligning company activities with one another to support the chosen strategy.

Strategic development is about change. How management handles the new realities in technology, information flow, reginal competition is key to success. Effective leaders understand these dynamics and work to control change within the organization.


1.2 Business: Strategy Development How ? Components:

- Awareness - Planning - Development- Results

RealitiesChanges & Challenges:Academic LibrariesTechnologiesDigital Initiatives

SWOTDigital Initiatives

According to the Leadership Management Group, there are 4 components of Strategy Development. I will focus on three things: Analysis realities (internal, external), SWOT to analyze the S, W, O and T in digital initiatives in my presentation; Based on the analysis we made using SWOT, we will recommend the strategic developments.

Planning: strategic planning (define vision), operational planning (Operational Objective, Pro- review factors, budget, etc.)




2 Reality: Academic Libraries Changes & Challenges




SoftwareInfrastructurePlatformsILS: Voyager, AlephILL, Etc.Link resolver : 360 Link library guides: LibGuidesOnline databasesIR (Scholarly Publications): DSpaceDAM (Digital Preservation): IslandoraDiscovery Systems: SummonWebsites: Library Homepage

2.1 Reality: Library Technology Changes & Challenges

Digital Initiatives Creating the technical infrastructure for digital library materials

Providing librarians/staff with experience in technologies and digital materials

Enriching the HU Library collections with a significant set of digital resources

Advising the HU community on issues in digital environment (


Users: User needs analysis, User experience studyCollections: DP (long term vs short Term), born digital (Copyrights)Data: Data formats, Metadata, discover, access, Authority ControlTechnology: Open Source, Cloud Service, Opportunity vs Risk, changeOperation (Cost and staff): Funding, budget; Skills, experience, training

Collection/ Data? 2.2 Reality: Digital Initiatives Changes & Challenges

3. Strategic developments in Digital Initiatives Library: Focus on users/stakeholders to build new services using data/collections data-driven services

Technology: Multiple systems, new technologies innovationTrain IT professionals to become experts focus

Business: Work with partners (consortia) collaboration & resource-sharing



Cost, budgetResearch, teachingAccessibilityDigital InitiativesNew collectionsNew services

Access, discover3.1 Strategic Development: LibraryWork with stakeholders -> new data-driven services


There are different sub-groups in the library stakeholders and their needs are different. DI is a still new and we should collaborate with stakeholders, understand their needs and develop new services. 10

3.1.1 Strategic Development Tool: SWOTHelpfulHarmfulStrengthData: Metadata, Indexing, catalogingCollections: Preservation, OAISTechnology: DAM, IR, DSStaff: skills, moral and loyaltyCustomer Services: community

InternalExternalWeaknessOperation: budget, staffTechnology: lack of external supportTraining: lack of training & standardsCommunication: with stakeholdersDecision making: slow process

OpportunityData management; Enrich Collection; Technology & personal developmentCollaboration: partnershipsEducate, new research, new service to local community

ThreatsFunding: Less funding, more costTechnology: competitors, third party support, outsourcing Communication, Legal issues/ copyrights

Focus on users new data-driven services

It is a structured planning method used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in a project or in a business venture.

It identify the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that objective

Identification of SWOTs is important because they can inform later steps in planning to achieve the objective.11

3.1.2 Case Study & Sample Work

University of Toronto Library, ITS, Digital Initiatives service 20% of the digital librarians timeCreate policies and documentation Create workshop/training modules Communicate the service to users Collaboration with faculty to design and develop digital collections for faculty-led digital humanities (DH) projects.

This poster made by Kelli Babcock, the ITS Digital Initiatives Librarian at UofT, described theCollections U of Tservice provided by UTL ITS. Collections U of T is an example of how institutions can use existing digital curation policies, infrastructure, and workflows when collaborating with faculty on D projects to provide sustainable and efficient services to support D initiatives.12

3.2 Strategic Development: Technology: Multiple systems, new technologies, professional to expert

IR: DSpace, EPrints, Digital Commons, BibAppDAM: Islandora, Hydra, CONTENTdm, DspaceArchival Description: ArchivesSpace, AtoMResearch Data Management: DataVerse, CKANDigital preservation: Archive-It, ArchivematicaExhibitions: Omeka, Collective Access, CollectionSpace, Open Exhibits

3.2.1 Technology: Adopt new technologies Fedora 4: New features - Linked data capabilities, research data support, modularity - Islandora core and Basic Collection Solution Pack modules

Linked Data Sample sites- Authority Control: DAM, IR Increase data reuseBring more traffic to web sites

Fedora 4.0 in Action at Stanford's Linked Data Project

3.2.2 Sample Work: New Technology

The skills needed: server: UNIX, Windows, programming: XSLT, Perl, Query: Jquery, Xquery, Web: Javascript, html, css,xforms15

3.2.3 Technology: from IT Professionals to Experts

System/AdminInterface/Web Data/DB

Data: Queries, Perl, XML,DB: Oracle, MySQL, AccessTools: Perl, Excel, XSLTPrograming: php, Javascript, html, etc.Publish Tools: Drupal, WordPress Server: Shell scripting, config, maintain, etc. OS: UNIX, WindowsEditor tools: Vi, Pico


3.2.4 Technology: Sample Work

1. Big Picture2 Scan 3.Functions 4 Research 5. Case 6. Test 7 Implement

DAMIROther SystemsStaffingIslandoraDSpace, BibAppArchivematica, Omeka2 librarians, 1 programmerIslandoraDSpaceAtoM3 librarian (2 digital, 1 IR)IslandoraDSpace (-Digital Comments)N/ADigital Scholarship Dept. (4 librarians+2)IslandoraDSpaceDB Textworks (for Archives)Digital Initiatives Dept(2 lib +2 staff+2 programmers)Hydra