In March of 2017, senior Library of Congress managers formed a cross-departmental Digital Scholarship Working Group to respond to a set of foundational questions:
- What are the current demand and the current levels of response for digital scholarship?
- What are potential approaches to enhancing digital scholarship support across the Library? and,
- What would supporting digital scholarship look like in context of the Library’s collections, staff, users, and services?
The multidisciplinary group included practitioners from LC Labs, reference and cataloging librarians, managers, curators and technical staff. They collected use cases from across the Library and analyzed how collection format and availability, the ability of staff to support the requests, and existing technical workflows, tools and services affected how the requests were managed. The group also interviewed staff at other national libraries that have programs to support digital scholarship to learn more about their service models. After about a year of meeting, the working group shared their report with Library management. And now, after editing for clarity and removing personal information, we’re pleased to share a public version of the report.
The report makes three main recommendations on how to improve digital scholarship support at the Library of Congress:
- Invest in collection readiness for digital scholarship by making collections more available, developing features enabling computational use, and providing more information and documentation about digital collections.
- Build institutional capacity by creating a community of practice for digital scholarship that includes cultivating partnerships, training, professional development, and developing ethical and values frameworks for using and sharing digital collections.
- Expand user services by providing tools, services, and support for onsite and remote digital scholarship practitioners.
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