The staff of IUPUI University Library Center for Digital Scholarship spent a great deal of time (rightly so) toiling over: 1. Defining digital scholarship and, 2. What services we would focus on in connection with this definition. We struggled with describing digital scholarship similarly to others, wanting to ensure some cohesion with our national and international colleagues. We also wanted to create a mission and suite of services that was unique to and served our university. Creating a mission statement is precarious enough, add to this a yet solidly defined area of study and prepare to see a group of structure craving librarians squirm.
Recent attendance at my first Coalition of Networked Information meeting this week supplied evidence that definitions are good and necessary for functioning within an administrative rich university but they need not be rigid, unchangeable absolutes. Here was my initial canned self intro at CNI, “Hi, I’m Kristi Palmer. I’m at IUPUI in Indianapolis (pause to see if conversant appears bewildered by IUPUI and explain IUPUI if necessary), I’m the director of our library’s Center for Digital Scholarship.” Always, the next comment from conversant, “Ahh, so what does your center for digital scholarship do?” There were lots of representatives from center and center-like units in attendance and while we all pulled from the same menu of services, each unit’s mix was different.
No one Center did it all. Many offered services IUPUI University Library does not. Many were excited by the services we do offer and wanted guidance for implementing in their institutions.
My revised intro: [Deep inhale]: “Hi, I’m Kristi Palmer. I’m at IUPUI in Indianapolis. I’m the director of our library’s Center for Digital Scholarship which for us means the library supports the:
- institutional repository
- data management planning including an open data repository
- management of open access publishing and digitization funds
- open journal publishing and
- cultural heritage digital collection creation (the majority of which are community collaborations and with which we’ve just started dabbling in digital humanities applications)
[Catch breathe]. “And what do you do at [insert name of institution from name tag here]?
I left CNI with loads of valuable information that will affect specific projects at the Center but I am most appreciative of the reinforcement that all digital scholarship-ers are defining and redefining as they go.