Reinventing the Library at UCSB

This Contribute post was provided by Denise Stephens, University Librarian at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

UC Santa Barbara Library is proud to join a community of libraries committed to forward-leaning, innovative digital initiatives. We look forward to exploring and exchanging ideas with other Digital Library Federation members.

This fall, we will re-open an expanded and renovated facility, with “Reinventing the Library” as our grand-opening theme. To introduce ourselves as new members of the DLF, we’d like to share several key digital projects we’ve already implemented, or will incorporate as part of our re-conceptualization of what a library can and should become.

We have completed the first phase of the Alexandria Digital Research Library (ADRL), built on an open-source framework using Fedora, Hydra, Solr, and Blacklight. This digital library will increase the accessibility of millions of hidden digital research assets already in the Library’s possession and, possibly, serve as a single federated dashboard to discovering all of the Library’s resources. ADRL builds on the expertise that UCSB developed in the 1990s with the Alexandria Digital Library (ADL), one of the earliest online collections of geospatial information.

The ADRL will feature diverse collections, disciplines, and information types — including images, text, streamed media, and numeric and spatial data. Completion of the first phase offered metadata for and limited access to all theses and dissertations created at UCSB since 2011, when electronic submission became the norm. We will continue to digitize and add earlier UCSB theses and dissertations.

In phase two, a significant subset of the Library’s existing digital collections has been brought into ADRL. In future phases, we will work with other campus partners to identify additional research collections for digitization and delivery via ADRL. As this initiative matures, we believe it will facilitate and continue university conversations about the management of digital resources once they’re created.

A related initiative, the Data Curation @UCSB Program, is helping faculty and scholars manage their research data. The program is a collaborative effort of the UCSB Library, UCSB Office of Research, and Earth Research Institute. After conducting an extensive survey of campus faculty and researchers, the Library is providing data curation services for faculty and scholars as part of three pilot projects. The Bren School Pilot Project is curating data from group projects produced by graduate students in the Bren School of Environmental Sciences and Management. The Maya Forest Project focuses on an archaeological and anthropological study of Mayan culture that includes GIS data, digital imagery, spreadsheets, and reports. The Fossil Imagery Project studies geological samples collected from around the world.

A recent anonymous grant to the Library is funding research to identify a more effective technical means of identifying spatial data located in the cloud. In June, the Library and UCSB’s Center for Spatial Studies hosted a meeting of national and international experts to discuss challenges, practices, and potential strategies associated with the discovery of spatial resources. A white paper on the outcomes, as well as a prototype of a spatial data discovery tool, will follow.

To support digital initiatives at UCSB, we are recruiting new expertise, reorganizing, and investing in training. We’re also developing partnerships with Enterprise Technology Services to leverage support on campus for common IT services so that we can focus library expertise on high-value digital library projects. We will soon be seeking a digital strategy leader to oversee all of these efforts.

We welcome the opportunity to meet with other DLF members at the upcoming DLF Forum.

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