January 2002 Council on the Libraries minutes

Meeting Minutes: January 17th, 2002

John Winn opened the meeting at 12:50.

The Council on Computing (CoC) approved the minutes from its previous meeting.
The Council on Libraries (CoL) approved the minutes from its previous meeting.


The following two announcements are based on recommendations from the campus Committee on Distance Education:

(1) CoC and the CoL will continue to have joint meetings but there will continue to exist as two separate councils because there are many issues to deal with separately.

(2) E-learning seminar series is already happening
- More seminars series will be held during the next two years and CoC/CoL members will be invited to each one.
- On April 8th -- Georgia Nugent, head of the McGraw Teaching and Learning Center at Princeton will speak.
- On May 6th -- Greg Crane and Holly Taylor from Tufts will speak.

CoC and CoL will have one more joint meeting this academic year in April.

Today’s Topic: The Dartmouth Digital Library and the Dartmouth College Library Education Program

Richard began the discussion by going over briefly the Mission and Strategic Goals of the Library .

Richard Lucier and Cyndy Pawlek handed out a packet of information to document their talks.

Richard Lucier: Digital Libraries and the Digital Library at Dartmouth

One definition of a Digital Library is, “A managed aggregation of high quality digital content which supports scholarship, research, teaching, and learning at Dartmouth. This content includes the published literature, reference and numerical databases, born digital materials, manuscripts and archives unique to Dartmouth such as our special collections, and intellectual property produced by our faculty and students in digital formats.”

The Library is undertaking this project amidst the following context: there is a sustainability problem with information. The cost of information is rising and the cost of the technology necessary to use the information is rising. Managing information and technology in a distributed manner is challenging. Different disciplines have different needs in the digital world. Our digital library is an attempt to customize our use of digital resources.

Dartmouth is at an interesting spot in the convergence of opportunity.

Continued funding and upgrading of the network is the most important element of this plan.

Our ubiquitous computing environment is in our favor.

Just like other academic libraries we’re moving from an ownership to a service model. We don’t own most digital content; we lease and provide access.

Currently, we spend 20% of our budget on electronic resources. This represents an increase of over 150% in the last year.

How students learn is changing. We’re involved with a Mellon Foundation study looking at how patterns of student behavior have changed because of their access to electronic information. We’ll receive the results in the late Spring of the initial phase of this study.

The Library’s mission is advancing scholarship and research an d fostering excellence in learning through managing scholarly content. The digital library will play an important role in fulfilling this mission.

There will be a production prototype in place for this fall of the digital library. It will be a first design, but it will be functional. It’s a jumping off point for learning about what we need to do next. It will work, but it won’t be perfect, and we want feedback on it.

It will contain several thousand digital journals, more than two hundred specialized databases, finding aids for primary source materials in Rauner Special Collections, faculty publications such as “Linguistic Discovery.” We will have access to new tools that will allow cross database searching and allow users to integrate search results from multiple streams.

We’ll also be premiering a BorrowDirect service, which will allow users to check out books online from all of the Ivies except Harvard and have them sent here. Through this service, our collection becomes an aggregate of the collections of these several institutions.

We’re continuing to use and explore consortial relationships with groups such as the North East Research Libraries, the Digital Library Federation, Mellon, and ARL Libraries involved in the Scholar’s Portal Project.

And for our Alumni, there will be a digital library provided by Northern Light that should be operational in a few weeks.

Cyndy Pawlek: Digital Competency and Information Literacy

People need to be comfortable using computers to be comfortable accessing information and using the library.

Information literacy is a set of skills that allows people to identify, judge, evaluate, use and manage information. We’re hoping to build a foundation for lifelong learning through mastery of information literacy skills.

The complexity of our information environment is escalating. There is a huge variety of formats.

Where should librarians be going and what should they be doing? We should be looking to be more proactive and do more outreach. Our liaisons with departments should be setting up office hours, getting out in their communities, etc. Librarians will be producing more resources and guides in the future to help users through the information universe. Subject specialists are also participating in the creation of the digital library.

How can we integrate ourselves better into the on-going curriculum? Single library use classes aren’t always effective. We need to look for ways to reach students over the course of their academic careers.

And the digital library can help us do more in the areas of education and accessibility. We can create integrated links to help screens, we can provide self-guided and human help. We are experimenting with online tutorials and we are exploring linking to things like production and management tools from within the digital library.

How are we trying to make all this happen? We’re recruiting a Director of Education Programs. This position will work with faculty across the campus, and coordinate library efforts in this area.

Comments were solicited.

What do you imagine languishing?

REL: Nothing will suffer, but critics will see journals or monographs not on the selves and they'll assume it's because of digital library. His response to that is we have to look at how we leverage resources.

Art history still needs books to get high quality images – will they be there?

REL: We’re walking fine line, but we're treading it very carefully. The necessary materials will be available. We’re also looking forward to digital efforts such as Mellon’s ArtStor project, a huge database of art.

Are fair use restrictions an obstacle?

REL: Yes, they can be, especially in digitizing content. We to carefully look at the licenses we sign. With licensed content we're still bound by fair use. However, Bob Donin and I are co-chairing a campus committee to look more closely at this issue and Dartmouth’s policies. These issues are also being addressed at the national level.

How do we get faculty and students involved in designing and developing the digital library? What’s an effective way to do this?

REL: We haven't done a good job of doing that kind of thing and we’re taking steps to improve.

CP: We learned a lot from the catalog transition. We face challenges in articulation and users face challenges trying to make changes. How can we be more effective in helping users make transitions? If our users aren't aware of tools, what’s the point of owning them? We’re undertaking a new educational initiative to be more effective communicators and guides.

REL: Are we going in the right direction? Is this what the campus needs? I think we’re right on target, but he has one worry. We’re moving towards investing in access to digital information we don’t own, and moving away from the library being an institution that preserves knowledge on site. How do we know there won’t be an economic crisis that shuts down our access? We feel a lot better about this dilemma now than a few years ago. We have clauses in our licenses that insure perpetual access whenever possible, and we’re not moving away from paper when we’re not assured that the digital version is durable.