DLF

Library Workflow Exchange: Sharing Library Innovation

 
This Contribute was provided by Liz Woolcott  (@LizWoolcott), Head of Cataloging at the Merrill-Cazier Library at Utah State University, and Anna Neatrour (@annaneat), Metadata Librarian at the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah.

 

Librarians and library staff at a variety of institutions are often working on similar projects. Workflows, procedures, and tools are developed locally, and a selected few get published as case studies or presented at conferences like the Digital Library Federation Forum. But sometimes useful workflows may only be documented internally, or not published in a way that is easy to find. Often informal blog posts contain great information about procedures that might be repurposed at other institutions.

Could workflows shared during their development help? What about being able to find small workflows or tips and tricks for metadata magic that aren’t splashy enough for a conference presentation but could help cut your workflow time down? Where does one find those?

One day, while dreaming about a magical database that would allow us to find out what other libraries are doing to automate workloads, we hit upon an idea… a workflow exchange.  The Library Workflow Exchange is a new site, initially started as a side project by Liz Woolcott, Head of Cataloging at the Merrill-Cazier Library at Utah State University, and Anna Neatrour, Metadata Librarian at the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah.

Library Workflow Exchange was designed to help people discover information about workflows, tools, procedures, and practices that can help them in their own work. To meet this goal, workflows are collected from websites, blogs, conference presentations, Github, and a host of other places where potential workflows are posted and gathered into one central tagged and searchable portal. In many cases, though, workflow documentation is often hidden on staff intranets or closed internal websites inaccessible to browser searches and the greater library community. To solve this problem, the Library Workflow Exchange is also designed to host documents for those who wish to share information but have no publicly accessible place to store their workflow. The Library Workflow Exchange aims to publish any and all kinds of workflows – be they polished and perfected, or in the development stage. The goal is to share ideas and leverage the expertise of the larger library community, in keeping with the goals of the DLF community to foster innovation, encourage collaboration, and exchange best practices.

Since launching, the site has collected close to a hundred links to workflows on a variety of topics. While the site began with a focus on digital libraries, metadata, and cataloging, since those are our main job areas, we are looking to expand our coverage of workflows to cover other library tasks (circulation, electronic resource management, archival processing, library assessment and analysis, etc.)

Want to get involved?

If you have submission ideas, questions, or comments about Library Workflow Exchange, please get in touch with us!