Monday, April 12, 2010

CIL2010: Digital Commons: Building Digital Communities using Digital Collections

Jim DelRossoJim DelRosso, from Cornell's ILR School (and Digital Commons), is the presenter.

Interest -- people have interests which brings them to the library.  Assessment helps libraries understand interest in larger contexts. Jim notes:

The need to listen to our patrons is related to the how much they agree with us.
The need to educate our patrons is inversely related to how much our patrons disagree with what we are doing.

Outcome-based assessment - How are user lives going to be different once you implement the service? 
Once you understand what they need and how their lives will be different, you can creative effective marketing of the service.  (I can tell that he took IST 613 - Planning, Marketing and Assessing Library Services in the SU iSchool!)

They are not only surveying users, but also gathering information from Google Analytics.

We need to dig deeper into how user audiences interact with collections.  This needs to be studied.  He doesn't know of good studies on this topic.  If you know of any, let him know.

Interest should lead to a sense of ownership among users.  A sense of ownership has nothing to do with who bought the material.  It is who values the materials.  A sense of ownership comes to light through user-generated connect, user-requested, and user-organized connect...all which can occur in/with a library.

They are uploading a lot of user-created content to DigitalCommons@ILR.  But libraries do continue on scholarly content, which means they may be judging the content.

Jim notes that browsing digital content needs to be improved.  He'd like to see a Pandora (music) for books.  Can tagging help?  Can users not only add tags, but delete tags? (see Powerhouse Museum)  That would help to ensure that the tags are appropriate, because people who are really invested in the collection will want the tagging to be good.

Investment is Jim's last point.  If people are invested, then the interact more directly with each other.  Librarians are part of the conversation, but not the center of the conversation.  (He just quoted Dave Lankes.)  Libraries need to create places where conversations can occur.

Jim believes that investment look a lot like community.  When people are invested in something, they find those that are also invested in the same "topic" and create communities.

Should we weed digital collections?  Should we accept everything?  We need to know what other options are available for digital content.  If something doesn't fit our collection, we need to be able to refer the user/contributor to someplace else.  You do need to know and communicate what type of content is truly appropriate for your collection.

1 comment:

Stuart Dempster said...

The JISC-led Strategic Content Alliance has commissioned a number of case studies and other tactical tools to help libraries (and others) to engage with existing and new audiences. This includes for example, how the BBC sought to steer development of the iPlayer (Video-on-Demand) service through audience engagement. Plus Briefing Papers on the key issues. These can be found at