January 22, 2022

OCLC Research Releases New Report on Digitization in Public and State Libraries

The new report is titled, “Advancing the National Digital Platform: The State of Digitization in US Public and State Libraries” and was written by Kendra Morgan (Senior Program Manager, WebJunction) and Merrilee Proffitt (OCLC Research Senior Program Officer)


2017-01-23_15-02-15This report summarizes the results of a needs assessment and gap analysis of digitization activities by public libraries and state library agencies in the US.

For the assessment OCLC partnered with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), and two divisions of the American Library Association—the Public Library Association (PLA) and the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS).

The project was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through a National Leadership Grant. With the support of this grant, national surveys of public libraries and state library agencies were conducted to gauge the extent to which US public libraries are positioned to support the growth of the national digital platform (NDP), primarily through the digitization of their unique collections.

The report outlines key findings from the surveys and provides observations and recommendations for future exploration in the area of supporting digitization efforts in public libraries.

Report Highlights

  • Ninety-two percent of public libraries have locally significant, unique physical collections
  • More than 37.6% of libraries have engaged in digitization activities in the last three years
  • In addition to the common barriers of time and ongoing funding, 61.4% of libraries identified insufficient staff training/expertise as a major barrier to their digitization efforts
  • All state library agencies reported that digitizing and providing online access to local and unique digitized material aligns with their mission either explicitly (12.8%), or broadly (87.2%)
  • Public libraries identified training in imaging best practices (55.6%), copyright risk assessment (47.5%) and metadata best practices (47.0%) as the most potentially helpful to their efforts

Source: Advancing the National Digital Platform: The State of Digitization in US Public and State Libraries (OCLC Research; 2017)

Direct to Full Text Report
24 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.