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Tips for Liaison Librarians

By Cory Lampert on March 1, 2007 3:02 PM | Permalink
This afternoon, I joined our Subject Liaison librarians at a meeting where I was asked to talk about potential roles they might play in working with faculty on digitization projects. Here are some notes from my handout: Roles 1. Main Contact with faculty- Role identifying collections, opportunities, proposing projects 2. Information Source- Role communicating campus/school issues, priorities, interests of faculty 3. Subject Specialist- Collection Development role: selection, identification, organization and description to help create useful metadata 4. Research Expert- Usability/Instruction Role: understanding of faculty and students research needs should be part of designing collection web pages, custom searches, and database design. 5. Cheerleader- Role promoting digital collections and the original primary resources, help provide context and relate digital collections to other resources. 6. Eye on the Marketplace- Role interacting with vendors, database providers, publishers of other online resources (including other digital collections). Tips: So you’ve heard tidbits about a potential project…what next? Tip 1: Call your friendly Digitization Projects Librarian; for support, to brainstorm ideas, or for therapy! Tip 2: Remember, exuberance shown by faculty at the onset, is a sign that you are going to need a thoughtful plan. There are many steps in planning and I can help get you on the right track. Tip 3: Collaboration means that you will probably have to work with a variety of personalities along the way- it is important to talk to key people early on in the process. Most digital projects at our institution will involve at minimum 8-10 people. These people all have unique communications styles, work styles, and “agendas”. Tip 4: Selection is a key part of being a librarian. Just as Liaisons work within a budget when selecting materials, we also need to be selective about what to digitize. Your help is requested in the process of determining what is really important; for instance, in that generously donated collection from the faculty member’s attic. Tip 5: So what if you didn’t sign on as a cataloger? Metadata is not a four-letter word. Yes, it is important, and yes, you might just find yourself getting more intimately acquainted with it! Don’t be afraid, catalogers are standing by to help. Tip 6: There is no perfect system. If you keep hearing your faculty member rave about a particular software program, rant about ours, or propose that the Libraries design a brand new open source solution, beware! No tool will be perfect but it is important for you to understand and advocate for what we’ve already got, if possible. Tip 7: The project needs to end in your lifetime. Back to the planning thing…we need to be realistic and persuade faculty to see things our way. There is always time for Phase 2. Digitization projects can only benefit from the involvement of subject liaisons and engaged faculty members, I hope these notes help those of you on the "front lines" get involved in the process!

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