49 SPEC Kit 350: Supporting Digital Scholarship
I should clarify that Digital Initiatives was mainly created to support internal digital projects
(digitization and presentation of our rare and unique primary source materials), which serves scholars
by making research materials more accessible. We have partnered with other academic units on some
digital projects, and consulted on others, but due to limited resources have not taken on many of the
activities listed on this survey.
In 2016, the library will engage in a partnership to lead the newly formed DH/DS Collaborative on
campus. The Digital Humanities Strategist (faculty librarian) will assume the role of Co-Director
of the Collaborative and provide leadership to this initiative in partnership with a newly hired Co-
Director, a joint faculty hire between the library and the English Department. Working at a high level of
interdisciplinary engagement, the DH/DS Collaborative will work together to plan the physical space in
the library for DH/DS research and scholarship. A Libraries Digital Lab offering additional services has
been determined to be a near-term priority. Digital collection building will continue to be supported
in a matrix fashion across several units: Digital Collections and Repositories, our Archives and Special
Collections units, our Metadata Librarians in tech support, and subject specialists working with their
faculty and researchers. Whereas we support the digitization of library content, our focus increasingly
includes direct support of the digital scholarship needs of faculty, researchers, and students, through
our self-submission digital repository and support for digital humanities and digital scholarship. The
Digital Lab may position us over time to offer more direct services to our faculty and researchers.
In addition to formal org chart roles, we encourage and foster the creation and development of what
amounts to communities of practice. For example, a cross-division and cross-functional group, the
Digital Scholarship Collaborative, formed in 2012. Makerspace activities transformed the Copy Center
in 2015. We had previously added the Espresso Book Machine and now have 3-D modeling/printing.
Activities co-located to achieve staff efficiencies, achieve a large number of open hours including
evenings/weekends, and achieve secure, trained cash handling.
It should be noted that within the last year, the organization that supported statistical and GIS data
services (significant overlaps with Digital Scholarship) was moved from central IT to the library.
Liaison librarians and our Research Commons team also participate heavily in most of these activities.
Most of our digital scholarship support activities are collaborations involving Library Information
Technology, Scholarly Technology Group, Research and User Services librarians, University Archives,
and Special Collections, with some contributions from our Content Management Department.
Much of our support of digital scholarship activities has evolved organically as we have responded to
needs of our faculty and students. The most intentional example of digital scholarship support is the
Digital Research and Curation Center, which had its origins in the Digital Knowledge Center in the
late 1990s. This unit is responsible for the Roman de la Rose project and the Archaeology of Reading. In
other cases, support for geospatial needs is divided between our GIS and Data Services department, and
our Center for Educational Resources, who support a very specific mapping tool that they developed.
Our Centre GéoStat was created to specifically offer geographic, geospatial, and statistical support. It is
not a center that offers support for all digital scholarship activities.
Six areas of the library provide digital scholarship support: (1) IT (2) Geographic, Statistical and
Government Information Centre (GSG), (3) Digital Humanities Librarian and other Arts and
Humanities liaison librarians, (4) Média Library, (5) Scholarly Communication Librarian, (6) Health
Sciences Library.
Some digital scholarship work is library focused, such as digitizing special collections materials for
preservation while simultaneously making it accessible for other researchers. Some special collections
materials are digitized on demand. While both have digital scholarship implications for future work/
research the process for support is different. Currently, staff are dispersed across units and divisions
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