Monday, April 12, 2010

CIL2010: Digital Commons @ ILR

Digital Commons @ ILR
Building Digital Communities with Digital Collections
Jim DelRosso, Web & Digital Projects Manager
Catherwood Library, Cornell University

Building communities in your libraries, to build a sustainable collection we need to have integrated communities around them.

  • what we can learn about the physical communities around actual library
  • how we can build social communities around digital collections
Email, chat, IM allow us to work with patrons; this is a basis for building more. These three things build upon each other creating the foundation for digital collection (overview).

  1. Interest in the collection
    What do they want? What do they need? How do they differ and how do we address those needs? This is often addressed in person as a reference interview, but if we use it when building a collection it moves toward assessment and creating ownership of the collection. It provides value and "outcome- based assessment." How patrons are going to use the collection.
  2. Ownership in the collection
    User-created content works to allowing patrons to have a stake in ownership for the collection. User-sponsored content on a larger scale than to have them simply request what they want to have. User-organized content allows them to put them in an order useful to them. The repository, DigitalCommons @ ILR allows users to upload their own content (even though they are doing the physical uploads with an inclusion of focus on scholarly content).
  3. Investment in the collectionHow do you know they are invested? Better use of digital collection including tagging, views, and comments within the collection. There seems to be an increase of interaction with librarians - and best of all - interaction among themselves. "The investment looks a lot like a community."
What about tagging and folksonomy? Tag clouds vs meta data. The Powerhouse Museum Collection in Sydney, Australia; anyone can tag and anyone can remove the tag. Use of tagging may lead to a more browseable collection.

Consider also, that digital collections benefit from the same type of collection development policy that the physical collection abides by. It's important that the digital collection also fulfills the mission and vision of the library. Being digital does not keep it from being subject to the same type of quality management.

This is a discussion we have had in the past as the catalog evolves and provides opportunity for user interaction. There is often angst concerning tags being "correct" - or reflective of the system in place for cataloging our collections. However, there is opportunity to do more with the digital collections, information portals, and even our blogs.

We are doing this on a small level with LibGuides. As we create new information portals (guides) tagging is done by the author. Users are able to browse the guides via tags, subject, most recent, most popular, and even finding a librarian who has created a guide you enjoy. Many guides are open to comments, though there is the option of moderation along side the user investment in the collection.

An interesting aside, this presenter used Prezi! Check the title link and additional post information about the session.

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