Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Diving into the Blue

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Diving into the Blue

Article excerpt

A Look at Michigan's Repositories

Libraries are constantly evolving and changing expectations for the user and the information environment. More than just being an authoritative source for research, expertise, and quality content in the form of books and journals, the information center is evolving into a more expansive role. New services that preserve and produce content are expanding the role of the library outside of the narrow, traditional community authence. With the growth of information technology awareness and expertise from library staff affecting and expanding new library initiatives, libraries have furthered their impact by way of creating institutional and collaborative online repository projects.

In the book Convergence and Collaboration of Campus Information Services, editors Brian L. Hawkins and Patricia Battin note that, "It has become clear that traditional notions of libraries and information technology organizations are no longer intellectually and economically sustainable. New interrelationships and organizational structures will be necessary to manage, finance and coordinate the choices and opportunities made possible by digital information resources." Similarly, Abby Smith, who defined the likely role for a research library in the 21st century in a Council on Library and Information Resources report, says:

In its local role, the library will be optimized to meet the needs of its campus community. The library is likely to provide repository infrastructure for stewardship of university-based information assets. Most of those assets will support pedagogy, administration, student life, alumni affairs, and other things vital to the school. A much smaller portion of them will support research. Research will be a far more global phenomenon than local institutions can support on their own. In its networked role, the library will be able to support research and dissemination to the extent that it is tightly networked into the increasing cluster of i nter-institutional collaborations that enable the creation and use of scholarly content. These collaborations will be key elements of research cyber infrastructure, an infrastructure that will be a research-anddissemination platform. In the magic phrase of the digital era, it "will scale," be ubiquitous, and support a variety of scholarly domains, from astronomy to nanobiology, archaeology to urban design. The nextgeneration research library must be firmly embedded in that infrastructure because that will be the platform to which scholars will gain access on their laptop library.

There are many examples of libraries that have actively embraced the role that Hawkins, Battin, and Smith envi- sioned by focusing themselves on de- veloping innovative institutional and collaborative repositories. The Univer- sity of California's eScholarship Repos- itory (http i//repositories . cdlib. org/esch olarship) is an excellent example of a repository that allows for the wide dis- semination of quality material to users, spreading the impact of the library, the scholar, the work, and the institution itself.

The University of Michigan (UM) Library, where I serve as an information resources assistant, has two such major repositories in place - Deep Blue and HathiTrust. Each project is fairly new, in existence for only a few years. James Ottaviani is the librarian who works with the Deep Blue institutional repository, and Jeremy York works with HathiTrust. Both librarians were interviewed in order to learn more about the projects' backgrounds and to understand their impact on the community.

A Look at Deep Blue

Deep Blue ( is a DSpace institutional repository that collects and stores content produced by the UM community. The project has been in existence for 5 years, with almost 3 years in production. The project began by incorporating other collections of content from various sources that were online, including material from the Digital Library Production Service. …

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