Evolving the Digital Library for Digital Scholarship Enablement



This paper describes how the NUI Galway Library has developed a strategic approach to the enablement of digital scholarship, the implementation of digital library projects and infrastructure, the integration of traditional and digital library workflows, and highlights lessons learnt along the way.

The pace of scholarship-focused digital content creation has grown substantially in NUI Galway, both in the Library and on a wider University level. New partnerships, such as the Abbey Theatre Digitisation Project and the Duanaire project in the Whitaker Institute, have introduced an entirely new scale of digital preservation, digitisation, and archive data management. Innovation and investment in both the management and services of the NUI Galway digital library, as well as in high profile archival collections, have resulted in new partnerships, working practices, and strategies being successfully established.

The Library has a track record in recent years of achievement and partnership in enabling digital scholarship. In 2013, the Library formed a Digital Library Strategy Group to improve and secure the future of its digital materials for scholarship. In 2014, following a period of strategy development and consultation with a range of parties, the Library published its Digital Scholarship Enablement Strategy. The major areas of contribution for the Library towards enabling digital scholarship are content, systems, infrastructure, partnership, and practice-based expertise in its Digital Library team. In taking on new roles it faces a number of challenges, including resourcing, space, and skills development.

Over the past year, the Library has both invested and innovated to create robust and flexible ways of working with digital materials. We created and published a digital library strategy, implemented preservation and discovery infrastructures, evolved the internal thinking in relation to the digital library, created a multi-functional cross unit team to manage and deliver digital library projects, and embarked on interesting and innovative projects.

Our work integrates traditional and new digital workflows, while also testing the capacity to create new digital material from existing collections. We consider this capability central to the ongoing development and evolution of the NUI Galway’s digital library. This work also assesses how best to ingest archival data from existing and new collections. We aim to automate and integrate new technology and existing archival management, without duplicating effort. Specifically, we work with technologies such as CALM with EAD, MODS, and Islandora/Fedora.
Building on our experience, we plan to further develop and implement agile working practices and partnerships to respond to the pace of digital material creation, to provide long term institutional digital preservation, and to continue to meet the evolving needs of cutting edge digital scholarship.


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