New impact for the library in a digital university
Academic libraries enable a wide range of digital scholarship activities, increasingly as a partner rather than as a service provider. NUI Galway’s Library has developed an evolving Digital Scholarship Enablement Strategy to guide a more systematic approach to digital projects and a proactive partnership with academic staff across a range of digital scholarship programmes. Collaborations have included :
• Open access dissemination of research outputs
• Digitisation and online access to archives
• Participation in text mining and data analysis projects
• Hosting of digital collections and research data in library repositories
• Provision of spaces, tools and equipment for digital creativity
• Location for a Library and IT Helpdesk
• Access to 30,000+ online journals via the national IReL consortium
This paper proposes to describe the development of essential infrastructures such as a University open access policy, the impact (both technical and in terms of the academic mission) of executing the largest theatre archive digitisation worldwide to create the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive, the establishment of a Maker Space and the many challenges associated with funding and staffing new roles and different cost models.
There will be a particular focus on managing communications with a range of stakeholders. Communicating the shift in role for libraries is challenging, not least as digital scholarship is a new field with many players whose activities on campus can be disjointed. The library’s actual and potential contributions need to be broadcast to a diverse range of internal and external constituencies, primarily academic staff, university management, library colleagues and related project teams, often with different perspectives. Libraries have significant contributions to offer and a focused communications strategy is needed to embed libraries in digital scholarship and to create new perceptions of their role as enabling partners.