6 Survey Results: Executive Summary
Staff organization
On a task-by-task basis, respondents report that the work of supporting digital scholarship is distributed
across the library (69 of 70 respondents). At the same time, a significant number of activities are
concentrated in a single department or unit (60 respondents). A smaller number of tasks fall to library
DS teams (30) or DS/H centers and hubs (20). Of the tasks most heavily distributed across the library,
making digital collections (58), metadata creation (54), digital exhibits (49), and surprisingly, project
planning (48) rise to the top. The top contributions from single library departments/units are GIS and
digital mapping (35), digitizing analog material (31), digital preservation (29), and digital publishing
(24). DS team activities seem to cluster around project planning (14), making digital collections (13), data
curation and management (13), computational text analysis (12), and digital publishing (12). DS centers/
hubs/labs concentrate around computational text analysis (13), GIS and digital mapping (12), encoding
content (12), and project management (11). Other notable support provided by specific units and hubs
include copyright and intellectual property support for digital publishing, multimedia content creation,
institutional repositories, and digital training and pedagogy (Q6).
This data suggests a trend toward complementing the work of dedicated DS/H centers with
distributed support from special units. This work may or may not be coordinated by the center or hub,
but capacity is expanded by including digital collections and special collections units that digitize analog
materials repository and scholarly publishing staff who work with metadata and related tasks science
libraries and research data services units that provide 3-D modeling and map libraries, government
document collections, and some science libraries and technology services that provide GIS and digital
mapping. (See Q7 for more details.)
Faculty began approaching libraries to collaborate and bring scholarship to the Internet in
the early 1990s. Efforts to create digital monographs or to digitize texts, images, audio, and video was
widespread by the mid-1990s. Much of this work was started on a project-by-project basis, yet it required
ever-increasing levels of technical expertise and technological support, leading to the creation of DH
centers in some humanities departments and more coordinated, centralized activities in many libraries.
More than half of the responding libraries have created or reorganized units and departments to provide
specialized DS services and support (Q8). More of these have been established since 2010 (32) than all of
those created in the preceding twenty years. Eight other respondents plan to create one within the next
few years.
Several DS/H centers evolved over time and are jointly run by libraries and departments others
coalesced in the library by pulling together several smaller teams and projects by the early 2000s. The
University of Nebraska–Lincoln started its E-Text Center in 1996, later to become the core of its Center
for Digital Research in the Humanities in 2005 The University of Virginia’s Scholars’ Lab was formed
in 2006 by combining three extant units including the E-Text Center (established in 1992) and GeoStat
Center Brown University’s Scholarly Technology Group (1994) was moved into the library and became
the Center for Digital Scholarship in 2009 (Q9).
Staff Profiles
One of the more complex areas this survey attempts to assess is who inside ARL member libraries are
performing digital scholarship tasks and supporting DS-related projects. As the range of tasks and
activities has grown, so has the number of staff involved in supporting DS across a number of levels, from
interns and graduates assistants, to professional staff, faculty, and even directors, university librarians,
and assistant deans. The survey asked respondents to identify up to four library staff whose work is most
closely tied to digital scholarship support and provide details about their responsibilities. Sixty-nine
respondents provided profile data describing 231 positions. Forty-two institutions provided complete
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