I decided this final assignment was the perfect opportunity to work on something for my manager that was in our business plan for the year. I have slightly anonymised my report as I’d hate our councilors and community board to find it online and think it was a ‘done deal’! I loved the fact that the MOOC gave me the chance to think about this and get the report done.
INFORMATION REPORT : Digital Repository Project for Library/Museum
The Library Manager has been investigating the need for a digital repository for recording local history and activities. Although librarians are often, by nature, interested in new technologies and digital services in particular, it is important any addition to current services is driven by the needs of our customers and the future direction of library services.
At the annual LIANZA library conference, held in Hamilton in October 2013, curation, co-creation and collaboration were key words. Related to this, many speakers talked about the need to move from seeing technology as a driver, to serving people as a driver, with technology simply one tool amongst many.
Eli Neiburger, Associate Director for IT & Production of Ann Arbor Library, advocates for libraries being repositories for anything digital, including people’s photo collections, and suggests that digitisation on demand is the most cost effective method for large projects.
Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President and Research & Chief Strategist at OCLC in the USA, contends that if librarians are to be seen as experts in the Google age, our expertise must be visible, not hidden as it has been in the past. As with Neiburger, Dempsey suggests one way of doing this is to curate new work, and co-create new work, and make those works widely available so what we know is shared across multiple platforms.
In general discussions around digital repositories those attending acknowledged that use must be driven by library staff, not by patrons, and that it is something that can be picked away at over time.
In the 12 years since the current library facilities were formed by combining Council Service Centers and Libraries, we have seen constant incremental change in our products and services. Changes include the addition of audio and eBooks, a decrease in the use of PC games and DVDs, APNK computers for public use, the addition of a 24/7 wifi service, an online catalogue where people can request purchase of a new books and pace their own reserves and growth in the use of social media.
Increasingly, people expect companies and organisations to be where they are, they do not expect to seek companies and organisations out for themselves. With this in mind, we connect with our users through a blog, FaceBook and Twitter, and the online catalogue allows for social media interaction in a number of ways.
Despite the changes in products and services provided libraries have always been, and will continue to be, places where new works are created. Authors have always used libraries as a source of both information and inspiration. The change is that, in the 21st century, books can be published in a variety of formats and by various means, including solely in digital format or by independent publishers; with stories the range of formats and options is even wider. There are increasing opportunities for libraries and users to co-create new works, including collating community stories such as the significant storm event of 2013 and local history information.
There is also a role for libraries and museums in collecting and storing current digital materials. Today many photos are taken digitally, shared on social media sites such as Instagram and FaceBook, and deleted from the device they were taken on. Although it is tempting to imagine social media sites will store people’s images permanently, and for free, the reality is such sites are increasingly monetarised and often of enjoy only relatively fleeting success. Few photographs are printed and stored in albums in people’s homes, so that in 100 years’ time there is the potential for photographic records to be sketchy at best.
Given the future direction libraries are taking worldwide, where libraries are positioning themselves not simply as information providers, but as information specialists who curate, collaborate and co-create, I believe our organisation should invest in open source digital repository software and staff time for its implementation and development.
I have considered three of the main opens source digital repository software products: Kete, DSpace and Fedora. I have only looked at open source because for an open online digital repository that the public can use it makes sense to avoid proprietary products and also, in general, means a more cost effective and community minded solution.
Kete – http://www.kete.net.nz/
Kete is an open source digital library and archiving software developed in New Zealand by Katipo Communications and the Horowhenua Library Trust.
Kete enables communities to collaboratively build their own digital libraries, archives and repositories. The community builds the repository by writing topics, uploading images, audio, video and documents and then linking and discussing them.
Community contributed content can be anything from MS Office documents, PDFs, images, video & audio files, web links, HTML pages and text files. If it can be uploaded or downloaded, it can be categorised and discussed by your community using Kete.
Kete lets your community add comments and feedback to items and categories. Kete builds community contribution, collaboration and social networking.
At the Digital UnConference, also held in Hamilton in late October, there was considerable discussion about Kete, which is currently undergoing phase one of three planned phases of upgrade work, although so far there is only funding for this first stage. Most agree Kete is a good tool and probably the easiest digital repository to set up.
DSpace – http://www.dspace.org/
DSpace calls itself the software of choice for academic, non-profit, and commercial organizations building open digital repositories. It is free and easy to install out of the box and completely customizable to fit the needs of any organization.
DSpace preserves and enables easy and open access to all types of digital content including text, images, moving images, mpegs and data sets. With an ever-growing community of developers, DSpace is committed to continuously expanding and improving the software, and each DSpace installation benefits from the next.
Fedora commons repository (Fedora) – http://fedoraproject.org/get-fedora
Fedora allows users to do more with their digital collections, enabling long-term preservation of digital assets, and is built on flexible, extensible, modular architecture. Fedora allows users to keep control of their data with open source software.
The Fedora Repository Project and the Fedora Commons community forum are under the stewardship of the DuraSpace not-for-profit organization. Fedora (Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture) was originally developed by researchers at Cornell University as an architecture for storing, managing, and accessing digital content in the form of digital objects inspired by the Kahn and Wilensky Framework. Fedora defines a set of abstractions for expressing digital objects, asserting relationships among digital objects, and linking behaviours (i.e. services) to digital objects.
The Fedora Repository Project (i.e., Fedora) implements the Fedora abstractions in a robust open source software system. Fedora helps ensure that digital content is durable by providing features that support digital preservation.
The three software products considered would all meet the organisation’s needs. The Library Manager considers, in light of our Council’s buy local policy, Kete is the logical option. As a New Zealand made product, currently in redevelopment it makes sense for any budgeted funds to be spent within New Zealand.
The Library Manager believes Kete will require the least amount of IT department time and gives librarians the opportunity to develop their skills through working with others in the New Zealand Kete community. In particular, staff at Tauranga Libraries have offered to provide advice based on their experience of documenting the Rena disaster using Kete.
The Library Manager believes there is considerable overlap with work being undertaken at the Museum, within the same Council unit, and there is therefor an opportunity to collaborate. In particular, WWI commemorations mean the Museum could lead development of the initial Kete basket as war memories may be a relatively easy subject for gaining community interest.
That the library:
- Invest in Kete open source digital repository software
- Allocate $5,000 in the 2014/15 financial year to support phase two of Kete redevelopment
- Budget staff time for implementation and development
- Develop a 5 year plan for growth of Kete and include this in the unit’s business plan.