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Digital Library Services


To read the transcript of this video, go to Transcripts.

Objectives
Discuss approaches to digital library services including access and use.

“Over the past 20 years, the widespread adoption of the web for disseminating and sharing information has changed the ways that people do research. As a result, the demands for information services requiring specialized expertise have increased.

Examples of this new specialized expertise include, but are not limited to, digitization of print, image, audio, video, and 3D objects; the design and utilization of next generation discovery tools, including text and image search, data visualization, document clustering, and topic modeling; self-archiving and long-term preservation of digital assets; and digital humanities research support” (Kirchner and others, 2015, 1).

planningBeyond providing tools for accessing digital objects, answering traditional reference questions, and offering online programs, digital libraries provide a wealth of other online services.

In some cases, these services mirror traditional programs such as face-to-face book clubs moving online.

However, there are also entirely new opportunities for librarians to provide services to their users.

For instance, heritage projects connect local library users with their past through providing digitization assistance on a range of personal and community projects.

From book clubs to digitization projects, this page explores digital library service areas.

Digital Library Service Areas

Service is what differentiates digital collections from digital libraries. Librarians provide access to information, but they also provide services that address the specific needs of their users.

Shifting Services Online

Many traditional libraries are shifting their services online. In the past, users would walk up to the reference desk and ask a question. Digital library users may use online services such as telephone, chat, video conferencing, texting, messaging, email, and other means to communicate their questions to a reference clerk.

In the past, librarians created a paper handout listing new books. They also created displays featuring new books, magazines, and other materials. Today, libraries use blogs to keep users up-to-date on the latest information sources available in their digital library.

When you think of a massive digital library like Hathitrust, you may wonder whether it's really a "library" in the traditional sense. However, keep in mind that it provides services like any other library. Their Help pages provide assistance for users. Their News Releases, Facebook page, and Twitter presence shares up-to-date information about their sources and services.

Many libraries use their blog as a bridge between their information sources and services.

Service Areas

Consider the following service areas as you think about options for today's digital libraries (Kirchner and others, 2015, 1-2).

Kirchner and others (2015) studied the needs of libraries in coping with demands for information services. They suggest:

shakespeareDigital Collection Spotlight

DISCOVERING LITERATURE: SHAKESPEARE
from the British Library is a digital collection and educational resource focusing on Shakespeare’s plays.

Contents
: This resource features digital objects from the British Library. Users can explore the materials by works, articles, collection items, themes, teaching resources, and a person area. The works section features 15 plays. The articles area provides nearly 100 articles written by scholars, performers, curators, and journalists focusing different aspects of Shakespeare and his works. The collection section provides easy access to collection items. The themes area explores themes such as comedies, tragedies, histories, and more. The Shakespeare biography page includes links to many collection resources. The teacher resources contains a couple dozen lesson plans and resources.

Connections: Librarians and English teachers will find that these high quality digital objects and supplemental materials are useful additions to the English curriculum. Use the themes section to immerse students in a variety of works related to topics of interest from ethnicity to interpretations of madness.

Featured Digital Objects:
Comedies https://www.bl.uk/shakespeare/themes/comedies
Tragedies https://www.bl.uk/shakespeare/themes/tragedies
To visit the collection, go to https://www.bl.uk/shakespeare.

Digital Literacy

In order to successfuly use digital libraries, users need to be digitally literate. Whether downloading ebooks to understanding copyright laws related to digital collections, library users need a range of skills. Many libraries provide services to assist users with the skills they need to be success in a digital world.

try itTry It!
Many online resources have been developed to assist library users with their digital literacy skills. Explore a resource that focuses on your area of interest:
CommonSense Media
DigitalLearn
DigitalLiteracy

Digital Library Programming

From online book clubs to self-paced instruction, digital libraries do much more than simply provide access to downloadable books and electronic databases. Some programming possibilities include:

try itTry It!
Explore the Remembering Lincoln online exhibit. The 2016 MUSE Award Winner is an outstanding example of how digital objects from a collection can be featured through an engaging, online environment. Notice their teacher materials, how they weave digital objects into the narrative, and how maps and timelines help users browse the collection.

readRead!
Choose at least one of the following resources:

Read O’Malley, Caris (May 1, 2014). The great reading adventure: a new approach to summer reading. Computers in Libraries, 34(4), 15-18.

OR

Watch Milutinovic, Mitar (Winter 2015). Making a Library a Digital One. The Journal of Electronic Publishing, 18(1). Available online.

try itTry It!
Go to the Digital Libraries: By Library Type page of our course. Explore library websites. Seek out the online programs these libraries offer.

User Help and Reference Services

What do reference services look like in a digital environment? To provide high-quality service in an online environment, it's necessary to examine the shift in user needs and expectations. In a study of virtual reference services of academic libraries, Yang and Dalal (2015, 9) found,

“assuming longer hours of operation, more technologies, and chat reference provision are indicators of better service, statistically, libraries affiliated with large, more expensive, or public institutions that offer advanced degrees are doing the best job in remote/VR on the internet… In spite of the types and sizes, academic libraries must find ways to cope with the shortage of staff and budget cuts, while still providing their best service against all odds”.

readRead!
Read Costantino, G., Crowley, B., Morin, R., & Thomas, E. (2011). Heeding the Call: User Feedback Management and the Digital Library. Microform & Digitization Review, 40(4), 146-157.

reader

User Assistance

Whether trying to download an ebook or search a complex database, it's easy for users to become frustrated. While some users lack basic technology skills, others simply can't locate what they need. Librarians need to ask library users about their experiences and carefully design their website to address the real-world needs of their clients. This might involve creating a Frequently Asked Questions page to accompany a digital resource such as music downloads, building a video tutorial to assist electronic database users, or creating "help sheets" for common step-by-step procedures such as using a scanner.

readRead!
Read West, Jessamyn (April 2015). Getting your FAQs in order. Computers in Libraries, 35(4), 28-29.

Digital Library Spotlight
The Arizona State University Library created tutorials for digital repository user.
Getting Started
Data Management Plans for Grant Proposals
Descriptive Metadata Fields and Examples
Preservation Support
Frequently Asked Questions

Digital Library Spotlight
The Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archive includes digital objects from a dozen different ethnic groups who have lived in the Columbia River Basin. In addition, the project includes a tutorial to help users find, interpret, and teach about the primary source materials in the collection.

Anywhere, Anytime Access

Beyond the library website, mobile technology has become an important aspect of a digital library's service. Whether riding a subway train in an urban area or a horse out in a rural area, users want access to digital information.

Like the library's website, the library's mobile presence must address the needs of users.

readRead!
Read DeSanto, D. (2011). The mobile future of place-based digital collections. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 38: 10–13. 

Enhanced Digital Collections

While some digital libraries simply provide searchable access to digital objects, others have worked hard to provide quality services associated with their digital collections. I call these enhanced digital collections. For instance, some public libraries establish online centers to assist users in accessing digital resources.

Digital Library Spotlight
Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center provides access to discovery tools, online assistance, and other digital materials to encourage family history projects.

gen center

Enhanced Digital Collections

Many librarians develop materials to support students and teachers interested in using their resources. For instance, Louisiana Purchase: A Heritage Explored provides a wealth of resources to support users including teacher guides and American Journeys uses its highlight section to feature digital objects on a timeline.

Explore other examples of enhanced digital collections:

nyhsDigital Collection Spotlight

WITNESS TO THE EARLY AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
is a digital collection documenting eyewitnesses to the American Revolution in the New York City area.

Contents: This large collection contains works from the New York Historical Society, New York University, and other organizations. Users can go directly to the archives and conduct a search or explore the featured document. The learning resources section provides modules that explore religion, education, music, work, and health and medicine.

Connections: This collection would be useful for connecting primary sources to the study of the American Revolution. Use the tour for a quick look at the history of New York City and lots of fascinating examples.

Featured Digital Objects:
Paper and Printing in Colonial America http://maass.nyu.edu/tour/tour06.shtml
Mapping the Revolution http://maass.nyu.edu/tour/tour07.shtml
To visit the collection, go to http://maass.nyu.edu/.

Collection Tools

Some digital libraries provide tools to assist users in recalling standard searches, taking notes, or sharing results.

Digital Library Spotlight
The Bracero History Archive contains an option called My Archive. Users create a login. Then, they are able to add their own notes and make a poster using items from the archive. Explore their tools.

try itTry It!
Explore the enhanced digital collections above. Then, seek out other digital collections looking for special features such as teacher resources or user tools. Share an example.

The image below shows the tools available at the Bacero History Archive for creating posters.

poster

fluDigital Collection Spotlight

The INFLUENZA ENCYCLOPEDIA
is a collection of over 16,000 historical documents and photographs chronicling the epidemic of 1918.

Contents: Produced by the University of Michigan, this well organized project provides easy access to popular categories including people, places, organizations, and subjects. Users can also explore by 50 U.S. cities and towns or examine the image gallery. A key word search tool is also provided.

Connections
: Teachers will find this resource to be an engaging way to explore the tragic events surrounding the 1918 influenza epidemic. Connect it with works of historical fiction and nonfiction books in the collection.

Featured Digital Objects
:
Boston http://www.influenzaarchive.org/cities/city-boston.html
Cincinnati http://www.influenzaarchive.org/cities/city-cincinnati.html
New York City http://www.influenzaarchive.org/cities/city-newyork.html
To visit the collection, http://www.influenzaarchive.org/.

Digital Object Pathfinders

I'm interested in cookbooks from the late 19th century.
Where can I find photographs of Mount Rushmore being built?
I'm looking for articles from the local newspaper from the 1960s.

Sometimes a digital collection can be found to meet the needs of a library user. However, in other cases you may only be able to find a few digital objects from a number of digital collections.

For instance, Indian art ledgers are fascinating. However, very few exist. They're found in archives, museums and library collections around the world. The following six items could be part of a "mini-collection" you build into a pathfinder on a very focused topic.

try itTry It!
Choose a narrow topic such as diaries from a particular time period or photos of particular types of plants. Create a digital object pathfinder.

Massive digital libraries are a great place to go to locate digital objects for pathfinder projects. They often contains access to a wide range of resources from many different collections. For instance, you could create an "Oregon Trail" pathfinder containing a dozen diaries written along the Oregon Trail. Or, you could build a "Transcontinental Railroad" pathfinder featuring photos from various collection that show work on this famous railroad. Linking to images from various science digital collections, you could build an invertebrate digital collection for a biology course.

Bring a work of youth fiction or nonfiction alive by connecting to digital collections. For instance, middle grade students reading Dragon's Gate by Laurence Yep could use the Chinese Railroad Workers digital collection could bring the time period to life along with individual digital objects from many other collections.

smalldragon's gate

readRead!
Read Weiss, Andrew (2014). Using MDLs in Libraries - Or, To What End? In, Using Massive Digital Libraries : A LITA Guide. Chicago, IL, USA: American Library Association. Also, available as an ebook through IUPUI.

try itTry It!
Go to our Digital Libraries: By Location page and explore some of the very large libraries. Think about how you could mine their resources to identify digital objects and create useful pathfinders for library users.

Digitization Services and Opportunities

Libraries of all types are becoming involved with digitization projects. In many cases libraries are setting up centers or stations to provide users with the training and equipment they need. While these stations are sometimes self-contained, they may also be part of a larger initiative such as a Maker Program.

Digital Library Spotlight
The National Archive's Innovation Hub is a place citizens can go for digitization services as well as opportunities to volunteer.

readRead!
Read Digitization Stations at Pinal County Libraries. This article discusses how a public library is providing digitization resources and services.

Digital Scholarship and Student Digitization Projects

Whether helping third graders scan fall leaves for a digital science collection or working with the medical school faculty on creating a digital repository to house genetics research, librarians play an important role working with students and teachers.

Digital Scholarship

Increasingly, libraries are providing services for those seeking to share their scholarly communications.

Digital Library Spotlight
The Digital Scholarship Lab (University of Utah - J. Willard Marriott Library) provides resources and services to support students and faculty interested in sharing their digital scholarly communications.

readRead!
Read Shelley, Anne & Jackson, Amy S. (2013). Understanding Your Role in the New Scholarly Publishing Landscape. In, J. Monson, LITA Guide: Jump-Start Your Career as a Digital Librarian, 163-180. American Library Association. Available as an ebook through IUPUI.

Student Digitization Projects

Many digitization projects involve K-12 and college students. Spruce Mountain High School teachers developed a hands-on history program involving juniors and seniors collaborating a local history center. It was just one of ten similar community projects shared at the Maine Memory Network.

Students at Allegany High School are involved in digitizing a wide range of memorabilia in anticipation of their school closing. Their project is called the Allegany Archive.

The following digitization projects involve students:

readRead!
Read Thomas, Williams G., Jones, Patrick D. & Witmer, Andrew (January 2013). History harvests: what happens when students collect the people’s history. Perspectives on History. Available online.

try itTry It!
Brainstorm ideas for working with K-12 or university students on digitization projects. Or, consider local community digitization projects such as relationships with 4-H or the local historical society.

Personal Digital Archiving Projects

Our lives are full of information. Nathan Brown (2015) points out that

“It is estimated that over 90 percent of all new information is born digital. We create new digital materials practically on a daily basis. What can we as libraries do to help our users manage their personal digital materials?”

rocketWhat role can librarians play in helping individuals preserve these important personal items? Brown (2015) and others have suggested the development of personal archiving workshops to assist library users in archiving their personal collections. Mike Ashenfelder (2013) at the Library of Congress notes that the Library of Congress is encouraging libraries to help teach the public about personal digital archives.

Donald Hawkins (2013, xvii) in his book Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage notes a growing interest in preserving digital heritage.

"Traditionally, libraries and other cultural institutions have played major roles in preservation, but individuals have now become interested in preserving their digital heritage. Three significant technological developments have been instrumental in this shift:

  • The widespread use of digital cameras, especially those integrated in cellphones, has resulted in large collections of unorganized digital photographs on users’ cameras, phones, and computers.
  • Extensive use of email has produced huge files of digital conversations. Many people are beginning to realize that these files can be sources of valuable historical information about people and events.
  • Decreases in the cost of data storage and the recent emergence of cloud storage services have removed many of the difficulties formerly associated with storing and managing large information data sets."

It's not necessary to make large investments in hardware and software for high-quality personal digital projects. Consider setting up a couple digitization stations. Or, extend your Maker Program to include technology to support personal digital information needs. Many social media tools such as Flickr can be used to house projects developed by individuals or small groups.

In addition to working with the general public, many academic libraries are working with their faculty on personal archiving projects in the academic environment including adding to institutional repositories.

readRead!
Choose at least TWO of the following articles to read.

Ashenfelder, Mike (2013). The Library of Congress and personal digital archiving. In D. Hawkins (ed.), Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage. Medford, NJ, USA: Information Today, Inc.. Available as an ebook through IUPUI.

Cahoy, Ellysa Stern (2013). Faculty members as archivists: personal archiving practices in the academic environment. In D. Hawkins (ed.), Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage. Medford, NJ, USA: Information Today, Inc., 137-152. Available as an ebook through IUPUI.

Copeland, Andrea J. & Barreau, Deborah (Spring 2011). Helping people to manage and share their digital information: a role for public libraries. Library Trends, 59(4), 637-649.

Cushing, A. L. (2013). “It's stuff that speaks to me”: Exploring the characteristics of digital possessions. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 64: 1723–1734. 

Ubois, Jeff (2013). Personal digital archives: what they are, what they could be, and why they matter. In D. Hawkins (ed.), Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage. Medford, NJ, USA: Information Today, Inc.. Available as an ebook through IUPUI.

For more ideas about what might be included in personal archiving workshops or services, explore Hawkins, Donald T., (ed.) (2013). Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage. Medford, NJ, USA: Information Today, Inc.. Available as an ebook through IUPUI.

For many articles on personal archiving, go to Public Libraries Online.

try itTry It!
Explore Personal Archiving from the Library of Congress. Create a plan for starting a personal archiving project in a library.

Digital Community Archives

In many cases, library users think of digital collections as focusing on historical photos and "old stuff." However, increasingly community collections include digital-born items as well as heritage materials.

readRead!
Read at least TWO of the following articles.

Copeland, A. (2015). Public Library: A Place for the Digital Community Archive. Preservation, Digital Technology & Culture, 44(1), 12-21.

Terras, Melissa (Spring 2011). The digital wunderkammer: Flickr as a platform for amateur cultural and heritage content. Library Trends, 59(4), 686-706.

Zastrow, Jan (October 1, 2014). Crowdsourcing cultural heritage ‘citizen archivists’ for the future. Computers in Libraries, 34(8), 21-23.

Digital Preservation Events

In his webinar, Erin Engle (2013) suggests going to the Personal Digital Archiving Day Kit page at the Library of Congress for lots of ideas for holding a Personal Archiving Day. Engle suggests four steps in hosting a Personal Archiving Day event including planning, organizing, publicizing, and running the event. The following four steps are adapted from Erin Engle's webinar.

Planning begins with identifying the purpose and audience. It’s a good idea to form a planning committee. Next, decide on whether this will be an informational or instructional event. Informational events are less resource intensive. They involve displays, short presentations, and an online presence to support the event. Instructive events should be hands-on and involve end-users in demonstration and digitization activities. Build a timeline with specific task assignments. Select a venue and enlist the help of staff or volunteers.

Organizing is the next step in the process. Decide on a date and time. Think about the setup of the venue including signage, tables, chairs, and equipment. Create a room layout including the placement of tables. Finally, build a budget that includes supplies, room rental, refreshments, and other materials.

Publicizing the event includes sending a press release to local media, postings on social media, and getting the event on local calendars.

Running the event involves creating a setup, presentation, and cleanup schedule with roles and responsibilities detailed. Be prepared with handouts and promotional materials. Finally, create an evaluation survey for both staff and attendees.

Volunteers and User Involvement

Some library users would like to volunteer to be involved with library collections. Many digital libraries encourage users to submit their materials for inclusion. These types of user contributions are becoming increasingly popular.

Witten, Bainbridge, Nicholas (2010, 67-70) suggest the following ways that users might contribute to digital libraries:

Examples of User Involvement

The Europeana (1914-1918) project is an example. Users are encouraged to contribute a story along with a digitized object such as "a scanned or photographed copy of the picture, diary, uniform or whatever it is you are sharing". To learn more, go to their contribution page.

The Papers of the War Department enlists volunteers to transcribe the documents in their archive. These "transcription associates" with with the open source tool Scripto for transcriptions.

The Hurricane Digital Memory Bank collects and shares stories about Hurricane Katrina and Rita. Their Add to Memory Bank page encourages those who experienced one of the hurricanes to share their story.

The Bracero History Archive allows users to add items to the collection. They provide short video tutorials to assist users in collecting objects and conducting oral history interviews.

The DIY: History at the University of Iowa involves users in volunteering as transcribers.

small lambPersonal Note
Heisman Trophy winner and World War II pilot Nile Kinnick is my 4th cousin. This may not mean much to you, but in Iowa it's a pretty big deal. The Nile Kinnick Collection is one of a dozen DIY: History projects at the University of Iowa.


Social Media and User Participation

“culture of participation around their digital collections and services… the ability of an individual or a community to comment on, create, upload and share digital cultural content demonstrates a growing demand for creative expression, the exploration of identity and for cultural participation.” (Liew, 2014).

In a survey of scientists, Linek and Bäßler (July/August 2015) note that science researchers are looking to social media services to advance their scholarship. The researchers studied scientists' use of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. They conclude that

“a Library 2.0 should not only provide the important information and services for literature and literature search but also could be the important catalyst for promoting appropriate and useful Web 2.0 services in the context of Science 2.0. In this sense, libraries can provide personalized advice for selecting the most appropriate Web 2.0 services for individual researchers. Further research should explore how libraries can fulfill their role as modern information centres for Science 2.0 and what are appropriate ways of communicating, activating and promoting the use of Web 2.0 at its best for science.”

ALA's American Libraries magazine maintains a Pinterest page (see below) focusing on digital libraries.

pinterest

readRead!
Read at least ONE of the following articles.

Hofschire, Linda & Wanucha, Meghan (October 1, 2014). Public library websites and social media: what’s #trending now? Computers in Libraries, 34(8), 4-9.

Liew, Chern Li (March/April 2014). Participatory cultural heritage: a tale of two institutions’ use of social media. D-Lib Magazine, 20(3/4). Available online.

Pugh, S. (2011). The National Library of Wales on Flickr Commons. Microform & Digitization Review, 40(1), 30-35.

Rossmann, Doralyn & Young, Scott W. H. (May/June 2015). Using social media to build community. Computers in Libraries, 35(5), 18-22.

Resources

Ashenfelder, Mike (2013). The Library of Congress and personal digital archiving. In D. Hawkins (ed.), Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage. Medford, NJ, USA: Information Today, Inc.. Available as an ebook through IUPUI.

Brown, Nathan (May/June 2015). Helping members of the community manage their digital lives: developing a personal digital archiving workshop. D-Lib Magazine, 21(5/6). Available online.

Cahoy, Ellysa Stern (2013). Faculty members as archivists: personal archiving practices in the academic environment. In D. Hawkins (ed.), Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage. Medford, NJ, USA: Information Today, Inc., 137-152. Available as an ebook through IUPUI.

Engle, Erin (2013). Hosting a Personal Digital Archiving Day Event. ALCTS Webinar. Available online.

English, James (Winter 2015). Library simplified. The Journal of Electronic Publishing, 18(1). Available online.

Hawkins, Donald T., (ed.) (2013). Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage. Medford, NJ, USA: Information Today, Inc.. Available as an ebook through IUPUI.

Hofschire, Linda & Wanucha, Meghan (October 1, 2014). Public library websites and social media: what’s #trending now? Computers in Libraries, 34(8), 4-9.

Kirchner, Joy, Diaz, José, Henry, Geneva, Fliss, Susan, Culshaw, John, Gendron, Heather & Cawthorne, Jon E. (February 2015). The center of excellent model for information services. Council on Library and Information Resources. Available online.

Liew, Chern Li (March/April 2014). Participatory cultural heritage: a tale of two institutions’ use of social media. D-Lib Magazine, 20(3/4). Available online.

Linek, Stephanie B. & Bäßler, Josefine (July/August 2015). The role of libraries in science 2.0: focus on economics. D-Lib Magazine, 21(7/8). Available online.

Milutinovic, Mitar (Winter 2015). Making a Library a Digital One. The Journal of Electronic Publishing, 18(1). Available online.

O’Malley, Caris (May 1, 2014). The great reading adventure: a new approach to summer reading. Computers in Libraries, 34(4), 15-18.

Shelley, Anne & Jackson, Amy S. (2013). Understanding Your Role in the New Scholarly Publishing Landscape. In, J. Monson, LITA Guide: Jump-Start Your Career as a Digital Librarian, 163-180. American Library Association. Available as an ebook through IUPUI.

Ubois, Jeff (2013). Personal digital archives: what they are, what they could be, and why they matter. In D. Hawkins (ed.), Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage. Medford, NJ, USA: Information Today, Inc.. Available as an ebook through IUPUI.

West, Jessamyn (April 2015). Getting your FAQs in order. Computers in Libraries, 35(4), 28-29.

Witten, Ian H., Bainbridge, David, & Nicholas, David (2003, 2010). How to Build a Digital Library. Morgan Kaufmann: Elsevier. Google Preview Available: https://books.google.com/books?id=HiJNbEy5f70C

Yang, Sharon Q & Dalal, Heather A. (May/June 2015). Virtual reference: where do academic librarians stand? Computers in Libraries, 35(5), 4-10.

Zastrow, Jan (October 1, 2014). Crowdsourcing cultural heritage ‘citizen archivists’ for the future. Computers in Libraries, 34(8), 21-23.


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