- A Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections
Collections Principle 8
Collections Principle 8: A good collection integrates into the workflows of staff and end users.
When digital collection building represents a significant new service for an organization, it presents an opportunity to review existing workflows, and possibly reallocate resources, responsibilities and tasks. In order to successfully add digital collections to an organization’s service suite, it is important to integrate digital collection building into staff workflows. When digital collection building is an established activity, it is useful to periodically review staff workflows for improvement. The operational staff performing these activities will generally be the best advisors as to how to make them more intuitive and less time consuming.
End users find information most useful when it integrates smoothly with their own patterns of work. A faculty member looking for research articles and a recreational genealogist building an electronic family tree will work in different places, at different times, and using different tools. However each will use a digital collection more comfortably if they can access it from the environment with which they are familiar.
In the emerging digital landscape, digital collection building is increasingly a collaboration with the end user. Some sites allow users to add keywords to the metadata (“social tagging”). Some allow them to contribute digital resources, such as personal stories or family photographs to a local history web portal or preprints or postprints to an academic institutional repository. Integrating with the user’s workflow enables the user to contribute without significant additional effort. An example might be the ability, in a collaboration space such as the Sakai learning management system, to simply “save to the repository” when the faculty author has completed his work. A local history portal might ask, at the end of a search on a topic, “Do you have any resources on this topic to share?” and provide a simple menu-driven process to upload digital resources.
Workflow examples for digital collection building:
- Jessica Williams, Sandra Paske and Stephen Dast, Audio Procedures and Workflow for the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center (2004) http://uwdcc.library.wisc.edu/documents/AudioWorkflow.pdf.
- Technical Advisory Service for Images (TASI), Managing the Workflow website http://www.tasi.ac.uk/advice/managing/workflow.html.
- Sharon Favaro, Metadata Workflow for Digital Collections (2006) http://www.njdigitalhighway.org/documents/njdh-metadata-workflow.pdf.
End user workflow:
- Herbert Van de Sompel, et al, “Rethinking Scholarly Communication: Building the System that Scholars Deserve,” D-Lib Magazine, v. 10, no. 9 (2004) http://www.dlib.org/dlib/september04/vandesompel/09vandesompel.htmll. Tim O’Reilly, What is Web 2.0? (2005) http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html. The classic article defining Web 2.0 as a new platform harnessing the power of the community.
- Michael E. Casey and Laura C. Savastinuk, “Library 2.0: Service for the Next Generation Library,” Library Journal, v. 131, Issue 14 (2006) http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6365200.html.
Last updated: 09/03/2008