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Evolving expectations and roles for research libraries (Richard Szary and Kirill Fesenko, 2007)


Evolving expectations and roles for research libraries How the UNC Library is meeting the challenge: the digital library

Friends of the Library Board Meeting October 5, 2007

Richard Szary Associate University Librarian for Special Collections

Kirill Fesenko Head of the Digital Library at Carolina

Trends in research and teaching
• Integration of materials and techniques that are multimedia and digital.
• Use in courses – inside classroom, as reference or supplementary materials.
• Research published/distributed digitally in traditional forms.
• Research that uses digital techniques.
Blake Archive

User expectations (realistic or not)
• Déjà vu all over again – “Aren’t all of your collections microfilmed/digitized?” If it’s not on the web it doesn’t exist.
• Easy to find and always available.
• Influences competitive position of the University in attracting and retaining faculty and students.
• Availability of technology on campus.
• Institutional or administrative distinctions are irrelevant.

The Library’s strategic advantage
• One of the few campus institutions whose mandate and existence are enduring.
• Twin pillars of research library ethos: access and preservation.
• Library resources are already expected to respond to changing user needs and changes in recorded knowledge

New and expanded roles for the Library
• Earlier intervention to ensure acquisition and preservation of digital and media materials
• Library as information broker
• Library as guarantor of authenticity
• Library as institutional repository
• Library as technological partner
• Library as publisher

The digital dimension of the Library is NOT a separate part of the Library but an integral part of what the Library is and is becoming.
The “digital library” is a transitional term that does not fully express the integrated and comprehensive environment that we need and seek to create

Building on success
• Documenting the American South
• Online collections and exhibits
• Scanning on demand
• Reference sources
• Individual collections and items

How is the UNC Library meeting these challenges?
The Digital Library at Carolina

Development of UNC digital library
• increasing needs in digital library
• increasing number of different technologies used to fulfill these needs
• conflict between grant funding approach and institutional ability to ensure technological and organizational sustainability of digital projects
• need to consolidate and maximize available resources

Digital library organizational chart

Digital Production Center

Potential collocation of sound and video labs with the Digital Production Center

New current and coming projects

Project: Mass digitization of books (aka Scribe project)
Collaborators: Open Content Alliance, Internet Archive, RENCI and other libraries
Resources: Funding from Library and RENCI, possibly Duke 

Project: MacKinney slides of medieval medicalillustrations
Collaborators: Faculty, Rare Book Collection, and Library Instructional Services
Resources: Library staff time

New, current, and coming projects – a sample
Project Collaborators Resources
Savine Collection Curator, digital publisher, Library
Mellon Foundation, Library
staff time
North Carolina Maps NC State Archives, Outer Banks
History Center, North Carolina
Grant from State Library
Long Civil Rights
UNC Press, Center for the Study
of the American South, Center
for Civil Rights
Press proposal to Mellon
Foundation, Library staff
School of information and library
Chancellor's office, staff time

Digital Library at Carolina
• Service to faculty, students, scholars, and citizens of North Carolina.
• Leader in advancing and integrating technology into library services to support teaching, learning, and research.
• Agile, flexible, innovative organization; appropriate experimentation and risk-taking.
• Engaged awareness with current developments and trends in education and technology.
• A work in progress that will constantly be evolving and changing.

Digital Library at Carolina

Thank you... Questions?