Listening to the Buzz: A Cross-Pollinator’s Take-Away from the DLF Forum 2013

Jill Emery
Jill Emery

This Forum Report was provided by Jill Emery, Collection Development Librarian, Portland State University & a 2013 ERL+DLF Cross-Pollinator.

My name is Jill and I was one of this year’s ER&L+DLF Cross Pollinator Travel Award winners. Here is part of what I wrote in my application: I am currently the collection development librarian at Portland State University and am investigating how to bridge the gaps developing between the development of digital library and traditional library management and resource processing. The roles I have held in my professional career have been focused on acquisitions, collection development, and the increasing electronic resource management that is needed in order to accomplish acquisitions and collection development of outside resources. As local content creation becomes an ever growing part of the university library, understand how to manage and balance local content creation with the purchase of outside resources becomes increasingly important. Attending the DLF Forum will help on many levels of my career, scholarly agenda, and in reaching my professional goals by exposing me to the ever-growing development of digital library management within the greater academic library enterprise.

So now that I have attended the DLF Forum, did I achieve my goals? Overall, I would say yes. One of the key refrains I heard in many of the programs I attended was the need to not only improve better metadata with digital collections but also to start out with better metadata at the onset of digital collection creation. In my mind, this is a point of advocacy within most library organizations to emphasize the professional cataloging expertise that already exists within each organization and to promote a better integration of the current talent pool normally designated for “commodity purchased” resources into digital collection initiatives and projects.

Two other themes that jumped out at me from DLF are that librarians should be very careful in regards to over-curation of digital collections and in academic libraries and student coursework incorporation are becoming greater trends. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee chose to include all photographs donated by a local photographer as opposed to selecting significant images to scan. The result has been greater usage of this digital collection and new scholarship occurring from both within their institution and outside of it. Many digital project librarians are expanding their campus focus to include and incorporate student involvement in digital collection development as well as marketing digital collections out to their campuses to be incorporated into coursework. Oregon State University digital librarians presented on developing student capstone projects and presented many great ideas for how to incorporate students into digital collection creation. Again, there are processes and ideas here that can lend themselves readily to collection management and student engagement across the entire library enterprise.

I am grateful to both ER&L and DLF for providing me with the opportunity to be a cross-pollinator at the DLF Forum. I have found areas of overlap and concentration that can occur between digital library development and traditional library management and appreciate be given the opportunity to listen closely to this community.