Introducing D-CRAFT

Assessing the impact, value, and usability of digital collections is a major and persistent challenge for Cultural Heritage and Knowledge Organizations (CHKO) of all forms and sizes. Some of the complications stem from a limited number of methods and approaches for assessing digital libraries. Traditional digital library assessment analytics focus almost entirely on usage statistics, which do not provide the information needed to develop a nuanced picture of how users engage with, repurpose, or transform unique materials and data from digital libraries, archives, and repositories. This lack of distinction, combined with a lack of standardized assessment approaches for digital libraries, makes it difficult for CHKOs to develop user-responsive collections and to highlight the value of their materials. This in turn presents significant challenges for developing the appropriate staffing, system infrastructure, and long-term funding models needed to support digital collections.

The Content Reuse Working Group, one of several that make up DLF’s Assessment Interest Group (AIG), is here to help. Thanks to the generosity of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which awarded the working group a National Leadership Grants for Libraries (LG-36-19-0036-19), CLIR/DLF, and the members’ home institutions, the working group will spend two-and-a-half years developing the Digital Content Reuse Assessment Framework Toolkit (D-CRAFT). The D-CRAFT project, which started in July 2019, will complete two phases of work to develop, solicit feedback, and launch the toolkit. 


About the Team

The D-CRAFT Project Team pulls together the established experience of the AIG Content Reuse Working Group. Members Elizabeth Joan Kelly (University of Loyola New Orleans), Ayla Stein Kenfield (University of Illinois Urbana Champaign), Caroline Muglia (University of Southern California), Santi Thompson (University of Houston), and Liz Woolcott (Utah State University) have spent several years focused on understanding the scope and challenges for assessing digital collection reuse. In 2017, this group, along with Genya O’Gara (VIVA), conducted the IMLS-funded Developing a Framework for Measuring Reuse of Digital Objects (Measuring Reuse), which provided the D-CRAFT team with prioritized use cases and functional requirements for the toolkit. 

The D-CRAFT Project Team is excited to add Kinza Massod (Mountain West Digital Library) and Ali Shiri (University of Alberta) to the team. Their expertise in digital library management and research will add another dimension to the toolkit. 

Beyond the core team members, the project will benefit from the shared experience of five project consultants. Focused in targeted areas that will enhance the development of the toolkit, consultants will add additional expertise in key themes including library assessment, privacy, diversity and equity, instructional design, and accessibility. Finally, the project team will draw upon the collective wisdom of an eight-member advisory group. The advisors represent diverse institutions and will offer constructive critiques on every toolkit facet and deliverable as they are created. 

About the Project

Phase One (July 2019 – May 2021)

Activities will focus on building the major components of the toolkit, including:

Code of Ethics for Assessing Reuse

The Code of Ethics for Assessing Reuse will address key principles for responsibly assessing reuse, including indigenous and underrepresented communities’ concerns and ideas, as well as user privacy. The need for a Code of Ethics for Assessing Reuse was identified in Measuring Reuse focus group discussions centered around privacy, cultural sensitivity, and controversial reuse of digital collection materials. 

Reuse Assessment Recommended Practices

Recommended Practices will aggregate tools and resources and compile existing strategies for assessing various facets of digital object reuse. The recommended practices will address prominent reuse assessment use cases derived during the Measuring Ruse project. Additionally, gaps in current assessment capabilities will be detailed.  

Education and Engagement Tools

Based on community input, the Recommended Practices for the prioritized use cases will be accompanied by the development of Education and Engagement Tools. Tutorials and quick start guides will provide examples and templates to demonstrate practical implementation of the recommended assessment practices. 


The final activities of Phase One include building and populating a living space for D-CRAFT. The Project Team envisions D-CRAFT to be one of a suite of digital library planning and assessment services hosted on the DLF Dashboard (which currently hosts the Digitization Cost Calculator, a tool created by the AIG’s Cost Assessment working group).

Phase Two (April – December 2021)

Phase Two will translate the main deliverables of Phase One (Code of Ethics, Recommended Practices, and Education and Engagement tools for each of the use cases) into training opportunities for the digital library community. This phase will take place over the last nine months of the project and will feature the development of in-person and online trainings.

Check the D-CRAFT website for announcements on training opportunities in 2021.

Getting Involved

The D-CRAFT project will seek the input of communities throughout the span of the project. In particular, the project team will institute open comment and feedback periods to ensure that the broadest perspectives are incorporated into the Code of Ethics for Assessing Reuse, Recommended Practices, and Education and Engagement Tools. That valuable exchange will ensure that the deliverables from the project can be utilized by the CHKO community to address topics related to reuse of digital assets. The D-CRAFT project team will release calls for public comment on prominent CHKO listservs as well as via its webpage. 

Beyond public comment, individuals can take advantage of either in-person or virtual trainings on D-CRAFT in the closing months of the grant. More details will be made available via the project website

Learning More

The Project Team will maintain the D-CRAFT website as a way to efficiently communicate information about the project, as well as provide access to project updates, blog posts, conference presentations, and publication announcements. The permanent repository for all final project deliverables will be a dedicated Open Science Framework project repository.

In the coming weeks, D-CRAFT team members will be presenting on the project at several conferences, including the DLF Forum and the Charleston Conference. Details on additional conferences can be found on the project website.

The D-CRAFT Project Team would like to thank the IMLS for its generous financial support, the staff of CLIR/DLF for their continued support and guidance in making this grant application (and funded award) possible, colleagues in other DLF AIG Working Groups for their critical input and feedback on the design of our project, and their home institutions for giving the group the opportunity to engage in this exciting work. They look forward to collaborating with you all in the coming years to build, refine, and release D-CRAFT.



Project Team

  • Elizabeth Joan Kelly, Loyola University New Orleans
  • Ayla Stein Kenfield, University of Illinois
  • Kinza Masood, Mountain West Digital Library
  • Caroline Muglia, University of Southern California
  • Ali Shiri, University of Alberta
  • Santi Thompson, University of Houston
  • Liz Woolcott, Utah State University


  • Joyce Chapman, Duke University
  • Derrick Jefferson, American University
  • Myrna E. Morales, Massachusetts Coalition of Domestic Workers and PhD candidate, University of Illinois

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