Collecting Projects: Bridging the Project/Service Divide

BARNES, Leslie and DI CRESCE, Rachel (2019) Collecting Projects: Bridging the Project/Service Divide. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2019 - Athens, Greece - Libraries: dialogue for change in Session 178 - Acquisitions and Collection Development joint with Digital Humanities - Digital Scholarship.

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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Collecting Projects: Bridging the Project/Service Divide

Can we convert digital projects into digital collections? Functional websites are always ephemeral and, increasingly, those working in digital scholarship are recognizing the importance of sunsetting project. Can we create a service pipeline in which decommissioned projects are converted into usable and accessible datasets? Like many libraries, University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) began developing digital scholarship projects in the 1990s and early 2000s by creating digital collections or databases that allowed users to search structured data. There are a number of strategies libraries and digital humanists can use to preserve their work: web archiving, migration, or some combination thereof. At UTL, we have begun to view the data, rather than the platforms that house and/or present them, as the essential product of scholarship. This perspective has led us to prioritize data curation--even outside of presentation platforms. Understanding project lifecycles in terms of data curation allows us to bridge between the project/service divide. In “Supporting Digital Scholarship in Research Libraries: Scalability and Sustainability,” Vinopal and McCormick distinguish between specialized projects and scalable, broad-based services (2013). At UTL, we must balance both approaches and thereby ensure the sustainability of digital scholarship at UTL. We are currently working on strategies in which project data--whether images or other digital objects, or structured or semi-structured data--become objects to be collected. Consequently, we can sunset projects knowing that their data will remain available in the long-term and researchers will continue to comply with funder requirements. We will present our strategies for creating this pipeline and therefore cultivating sustainability in digital projects at UTL.

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