Wednesday, April 2, 2014

MWDL Hubs Meeting Recap

Last month, MWDL hosted our first ever Hubs Meeting at the Utah State Archives in Salt Lake City, UT. We had 30 representatives from 20 different institutions in Utah, Nevada, Montana, and Idaho. The purpose of the meeting was to determine the future mix of services that will be offered throughout the Mountain West Digital Library network and who will ultimately provide each service - the partner, hub, or MWDL.

Our current infrastructure

In addition to the discussions, we sprinkled in digital library training on assigning rights in metadata records, linked data, and digital preservation. Cory Lampert from UNLV once again blew our minds with the possibilities of Linked Data and Emily Gore from DPLA gave us a crash course in rights metadata for digital libraries. Spoiler alert: digital copies of objects out of copyright are not copyrightable! See this Wikipedia article for the legal reasons behind this.

One of the most important products of the Hubs Meeting was the tremendous feedback we received from our hub representatives. If you are a hub rep that couldn't making the meeting or a partner interested in the possible direction of MWDL, here is a summary of the feedback we received regarding future services provided in our network. If you have more to add, feel free to comment below:

MWDL Hubs Services Recap:

The feedback from the Services Breakout is that hub representatives are generally content with the current tiered services model but foresee sustainability issues if MWDL continues to accelerate its growth, which we anticipate with our new funding, capacity, and visibility as a DPLA service hub.

When asked what services hub representatives would like to see MWDL provide, the most cited service was centralized metadata training for new partners. MWDL is responding to this concern by initiating metadata office hours with Anna Neatrour where she will answer any and all metadata questions for our MWDL partners. Anna will host “Tuesdays with Metadata” the first and third Tuesday of the month from 1:00-2:00 pm starting on April 8th (MST).  The staff at MWDL is also considering hosting quarterly metadata training sessions in-person and/or online and metadata webinars via Adobe Connect.

Hub representatives also expressed that they would like to see MWDL provide a consortial option for digital preservation for our hubs that do not already have a digital preservation solution in-house. MWDL will continue to explore options and inform the network on possible solutions.

When the hub representatives discussed how our hub model should evolve, many hub managers thought an “a la carte” suite of services would be more appropriate than the current three-tiered hub model. Regarding new service models, the hub representatives were generally supportive of an MWDL repository as a fallback option for new partners without an obvious hub to rely on. Hub representatives, however, cited concerns about overloading the MWDL staff or about weakening relationships between potential new partners and their geographic hub.  

Many hubs also expressed a desire for enhanced usage statistics to share with their administration. In response, the staff at MWDL will provide training in Google Analytics via webinars to teach partners and hubs how to acquire better data.  Hand-in-hand with the concern for better usage statistics was a desire for advocacy/ internal marketing materials that could be shared with administration.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Hubs Meeting. We hope to see the rest of you at the Partner Summit this fall!

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