Recognising the Success of the Digital Library Programme

The Digital Library Programme is a collaborative body of work within Information Services’ Project Services and Digital Library teams focusing on developing the infrastructure to support digital scholarship activities and long-term access to large-scale digitised collections and content. The programme’s vision includes establishing Edinburgh as a “leading university in the provision of easily accessible digital collections, to be widely used in supporting creative learning, teaching and research.”

Achieving this vision includes implementing a number of projects to ensure the ease of discovery and accessibility of online collections, create a fresh and exciting website for collections, provide an efficient digitisation request service, provide a range of digital scholarship tools, guarantee long term accessibility to collections, deliver digitised items as “collections as data” and grow the digital skills of the Digital Library team and broader digital scholarship at the University.

The Digital Library Programme launched in October 2018 with a number of key projects designed to split up work incrementally, making projects more achievable following a planned progression. Analysis, procurement and implementation were split into separate projects with analysis projects being used to recommend next stages leading to incremental development, publishing of web pages, software implementation and data migration.

Breaking work into smaller projects also enabled the team members across ISG and the University Library to accommodate project work while still delivering on their typical daily tasks. In addition, the team members carry their experience of working together and their knowledge of the systems through each project, so the team isn’t left starting from scratch.

“By keeping each project small and contained we were able to use results to analyse how each project went and feed that analysis into the scoping for the next one, so the lessons learned as you go help the next project run more efficiently and focused. In big projects, you typically scope right at the beginning and imagine what might happen in a two-year project and when you get to the later phases everything is based off analysis long ago and not taking into account lessons learned along the way,” said Project Manager Alex Ross.

To date, the programme has accomplished a number of its key projects related to automating a number of digital preservation workflows, improving digital scholarship tools and expanding the offerings of online collections. The current and planned projects focus on implementing new digital workflows, digital asset management and ensuring consistent online access through the redesign of

Karen Stirling, the Digital Library Programme Manager commented that ‘The Digital Library Programme is an example of how well IS teams can work together, collaborate well and build up their experience and knowledge from the projects we have delivered over the past few years.’

This was echoed by Kirsty Lingstadt, Head of Digital Library and Digital Library Programme Owner ‘It has been great to see the programme delivering and completing projects and watching the confidence and capacity of the staff grow as outcomes are delivered and implemented.’

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