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Updates from the DLF Assessment Interest Group (AIG)

he DLF Assessment Interest Group (AIG), founded in 2014, seeks to engage the community in developing best practices and guidelines for various kinds of digital library assessment. Research and cultural heritage institutions are, as a matter of course, providing online access to converted and born-digital scholarly and cultural content. As the amount of that content continues to grow, there is an increased need to strategically standardize our assessment efforts. The only requirement for participation in a DLF AIG working group is a willingness to dig in and devote a small part of your time contributing to the tools, methods, and body of knowledge on digital library assessment. Attendance at the DLF forum is not a requirement for participation in any of the working groups. Additionally, if your institution is not a DLF member, you can still participate! Please feel free to join these group activities, attend meetings, and get in touch with group leaders to learn more. AIG Content Reuse Working Group Over the next year, the DLF AIG Content Reuse Working Group is focused on planning and the beginning stages of building the Digital Content Reuse Assessment Framework Toolkit (D-CRAFT). D-CRAFT builds off of the successful Developing a Framework for Measuring Reuse of Digital Objects (Measuring Reuse) project, an IMLS grant initiative (LG-73-17-0002-17), which ran from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. The team has focused on concluding the work of the Measuring Reuse project and setting the foundation for D-CRAFT. To date, the group has: Released Setting a Foundation for Assessing Content Reuse: A White Paper From the Developing a Framework for Measuring Reuse of Digital Objects (DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/BQJVR) in September 2018. Published “Barriers and solutions to assessing digital library reuse: preliminary findings” in Performance Measurement and Metrics, detailing the initial results of the Measuring Reuse project. Submitted an IMLS National Leadership Grants for Libraries proposal to build D-CRAFT. If awarded, the project will begin in Summer 2019 and last 2.5 years. How can you participate? Those interested in knowing more about the project should reach out to any team member (listed below). The Content Reuse Working Group: Elizabeth Kelly, Ayla Stein Kenfield, Caroline Muglia, Santi Thompson, and Liz Woolcott AIG Cost Assessment Working Group Cost Assessment Working Group in 2018 The Cost Assessment group’s primary task is to collect, aggregate, and share data on the time it takes to perform various tasks involved in the digitization process to help with project planning and benchmarking. When the group formed in 2014, we found few practical resources geared towards helping the community determine the cost of digitization. To help address this gap, we built a Digitization Cost Calculator that allows individuals to enter information about a project and get back an estimate of the staffing costs and time needed to complete it based on real data from the community. Our work in 2018 was focused on learning more about how the calculator was being used in the community and opportunities for improvement. Over the summer we had 11 volunteers participate in both user interview and user testing. Over the fall we reviewed the sessions, captured all of the feedback in a spreadsheet and started discussing and prioritizing our next steps in GitHub issues. For more information about the group, see the Cost Assessment Working Group wiki. The source code for the calculator is available via the Calculator’s GitHub repository. Goals for 2019 Our goal for 2019 will be to start working our way through the identified issues with the calculator with the goal of making the tool better. We plan to have a standing meeting every month to work together and discuss priorities. Some of what we’ve identified are feature requests, while others are more philosophical questions, like what is the purpose of the calculator. There is also the opportunity to work on the more technical side of the tool with Wayne Graham. How can you participate?   Join our meetings! We welcome participation from anyone with an interest in this area. If you join our Digital Library AIG Cost Assessment google group you will get notifications and invitations each time we meet. You’re also welcome to drop in on any of our standing meetings which are listed on the DLF Community Calendar and in our meeting agendas. Questions? Contact co-facilitator Sarah Severson. The group typically meets once a month, and the time commitment is generally less than an hour per week. AIG Cultural Assessment Working Group (CAWG) CAWG in 2019  CAWG was established in 2016 to discuss ways by which we may assess our digital collections and their cultural impact. Where lacking, CAWG will develop helpful and nuanced rubrics for institutional measurement and analysis of cultural biases and assumptions in the process of digital collection creation. In 2018 CAWG successfully Collaborated as a review board for the User Experience group bibliography project Conducted an environmental scan of relevant “diversity” events across the nation in order to understand the landscape of cultural assessment work Embarked on the Selection Workflow Framework draft #2 which refocused the Selection Workflow Framework into something more approachable to users Established a new Inclusive Metadata Task Force to address metadata creation practices and explicit/implicit bias. For more detail, check out our wiki page, and/or join our Slack channel. CAWG Goals for 2019 If you’re interested in what the group will do next, there are upcoming meetings which you are more than welcome to join (details below), where we will brainstorm and develop new goals for 2019! Here are some potential directions… Conduct new survey on Selection practices Identify relevant community groups for review of our work Develop a running Speaker Series to engage those working to address bias in the digital realm Collaborate with the Metadata Assessment group on a new project targeting inclusive and equitable metadata creation practices And others. Add your thoughts at our next meeting! How can you participate? We are looking for diverse perspectives and welcome participation from anyone. We are in particular need of Public Libraries, HBCUs, Tribal Libraries, and Museum perspectives. We are looking for people who are on the front lines of engaging community members, people Read More

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How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Use a MAP!

Lisa Barrier, Asset Cataloger (right) and Kathryn Gronsbell, Digital Collections Manager (left) work together in the Carnegie Hall Archives. Kathryn is also an active member of the DLF Metadata Assessment Working Group, and co-leads its Website subgroup. In celebration of Preservation Week 2018, Carnegie Hall Archives released the initial version of its Digital Collections Metadata Application Profile. The Metadata Application Profile (MAP), co-authored by Lisa Barrier (Asset Cataloger) and Kathryn Gronsbell (Digital Collections Manager), describes metadata elements for item-level asset records within the Carnegie Hall Digital Collections. Our goal for developing the initial MAP was to begin to assess our metadata maturity. We recognized the opportunity to document and share the Carnegie Hall (CH) metadata standards, cataloging procedures, and controlled vocabularies. We want to share the relatively streamlined process for generating and publishing a MAP to encourage others to consider this path for self-assessment of collections metadata. We expected this level of metadata wrangling and organization to be a daunting task. However, we realized the benefits of utilizing the resources in the DLF AIG Metadata Application Profile Clearinghouse Project, which is part of the larger Assessment Toolkit. We opted for a simple MAP profile format of a “Quick Look” summary and a separate, detailed elements table. We created the Quick Look, a list of metadata elements and their obligations (required, mandatory if applicable, and optional). We then compiled element descriptions and pulled sample data from the CH Digital Collections to create entries in the Elements table. The samples helped us identify controlled vocabularies, free-text fields, and different sources and structures. We described input guidelines to clarify how to populate each element field. We referenced the Sample Metrics for Common Metadata Quality Criteria and followed instructions for building “Your Application Profile” in the Framework section of the Toolkit. This metadata gathering and documentation process took approximately eight hours, over three days. Internal documents and implementations were referenced to create the elements table and Quick Look: staff training wiki entry for uploading and tagging material; cataloging requirements; Carnegie Hall/Empire State Digital Network (ESDN) Mapping exercise supported by the Metropolitan Library Council (METRO) to prepare for contributing to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA); local taxonomy managed in the CH digital asset management system; and integrated performance history data, which has its own authority control (version available at We published the MAP via our institutional GitHub account (, using the GitHub Pages option with a default Jekyll template. GitHub Pages is a feature that semi-automatically turns repository content into streamlined websites, useful for presentation and ongoing maintenance. We translated the elements table from a draft spreadsheet to a text document using the lightweight markup language Markdown. Markdown text displays in GitHub documents and GitHub Pages as formatted text. Because of the lengthy elements table, we chose to create a MAP overview homepage to link to the elements and to the Quick Look. We borrowed language and structure from Clearinghouse examples and other open documentation projects to draft a brief overview, feedback options, and acknowledgements. The publishing, formatting, summation, and copy-editing process took roughly four hours, over two days. Our initial MAP release demonstrates significant progress in metadata documentation through a small investment of time. Two staff members organized, drafted, and implemented the CH Digital Collections MAP in about 12 hours, over 2 weeks. Through the process, we prioritized metadata fields for evaluation, revision, or removal. We used the MAP to update our internal Digital Collections wiki, which guides CH staff members how to add and edit system metadata. While some elements map to Dublin Core and to DPLA properties, others are CH specific. These elements require further research for normalization and interoperability. Future additions to the MAP will include mapping to DPLA properties, Dublin Core, and other appropriate metadata schema. We recently contributed the CH MAP to the DLF AIG Metadata Application Profile Clearinghouse Project. We hope that others can borrow formatting or content from our profile, as well as provide constructive feedback so we can continue to correct, clarify, and improve the site.

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#DLFteach Digital Library Pedagogy Cookbook

The DLF Digital Library Pedagogy professional development and resource sharing subgroup invites all interested digital library pedagogy practitioners to contribute to the creation of an online, open resource focused on lesson plans and concrete instructional strategies. The DLF Digital Library Pedagogy group is an informal community within the larger DLF community that is open to anyone interested in learning about or collaborating on digital library pedagogy. We use the hashtag #DLFteach to organize Twitter conversation, and we also hold open office hours via the Digital Humanities Slack. Further information about the scope and planned work scheduled can be found below. We welcome practitioners from all digital library settings, roles, and career stages. Experience is less important than willingness to be involved in the process of creating this resource. Interested contributors should complete the Intent to Contribute form by May 31, 2018 at The Call for Participation can also be viewed at Scope We seek to coordinate a collection of instructional resources that recognizes and reflects the diversity of context and practice within this broad field. We take as models the popular Library Instruction Cookbook (eds. Sittler and Cook) and Critical Library Pedagogy Handbook (eds. Pagowsky and McElroy). We plan to adopt a template for submissions, as modeled by the Collections as Data Facets project. We envision that contributions will be lesson-plan like: while they won’t necessarily be full lesson plans, they should focus on providing examples of instructional goals and activities that can be put into practice. Some example contributions might look like: 50-minute introduction to Early English Books Online for research on religious discourse A multi-session outline or description of embedded approach to combining archival research with a digital project A sample workflow preparing students to create metadata for a critical digital exhibit Introduction to data literacy in the context of seeking demographic data An outside-of-class preparatory activity evaluating the accessibility of a digital resource Exercise on determining the rights status of visual resources on museums’ and archives’ websites An annotated list of recommended resources for introducing a tool or topic with suggestions for instructional use An assignment development workshop for instructors Activities that foster a critical approach to digital library materials A workshop on critical digital humanities methods that intersect with the library in some way Potential topics include but would not be limited to: Combining archival research with a digital project Creating critical digital exhibits or archives Embedded librarianship (and how it relates to the other two) Tool- or method-based workshops Assessing appropriate assignment scope Matching tools and methods with learning goals Critical digital library pedagogy Universal design principles Learner-centred teaching strategies Critical information literacy Critical digital humanities methods that intersect with the library in some way The goal of this project is twofold: first, we want to gather resources for critical digital library instruction with a bent toward the practical and concrete; second, we want the process itself to be a form of community building and professional development. In particular, we hope to encourage collaborations that connect participants with new areas of expertise, especially between practitioners of different levels of experience in different areas. Prospective contributors may elect individual authorship, form their own collaborative pairs or groups, or request to be paired with a collaborator of complementary interest by an Editor. Authors will be connected with a Section Editor who will facilitate the process. Next steps for participation Review the schedule, roles & responsibilities below and consider what you would like to contribute. Complete this Intent to Contribute form at to suggest topics and ideas and/or to volunteer for a particular role. If you contribute a topic or idea but do not want to volunteer in another capacity, you will receive acknowledgment credit. Completion of the form will also add you to a focused email group list for this project. Watch this thread for further general calls, announcements, and opportunities. Work plan To meet these goals, we propose a distributed, iterative, and collaborative process to unfold throughout the rest of 2018 along a rough target timeline: Planning phase 1: In progress. Template for contributions and peer review process developed in open subgroup meetings and weekly Slack chat (see instructions for joining). Planning phase 2: April 23–May 31. Potential contributors invited to submit topics of interest and indicate desire to author and/or review future entries. Assignment phase: Early June. Editors and Section Editors will finalize topic assignments to Contributors, group prospective Contributors as co-authors based on interest, and assign small groups of Contributors to a Facilitator. Drafting sprint: mid June–July. Co-authors draft initial version of submission, in consultation with Facilitators. Drafting and revision sprint: August. Co-authors revise or expand initial draft. Review sprint: September–October. Over a 1–2 week period, reviewers comment on submissions. Revision sprint: November–December. Co-authors respond to comments and select revisions. Formatting sprint: January–February. Subgroup leaders facilitate the organization and publication of reviewed content on Open Science Framework (likely platform). Roles & responsibilities The purpose of these descriptions is to facilitate your participation at any level that meets your interest and availability at this time. A willingness to show up and take part is more important than prior experience. Editor: Participate in scheduled planning meetings (anticipated 1–2 per month), help make decisions and problem solve via email or chat if necessary, follow through on agreed upon tasks that may relate to communication, content creation, content review, background research, promotion, or other project needs as they arise. Steady participation expected through first iteration of the cookbook. Section Editor: Communicate regularly with Facilitators, Reviewers, and Format/Copy Editors for one section of the cookbook. Work with Editors to generate review procedures for peer review and beta testing. Steady participation expected from Planning Phase 3 through first iteration. Facilitator: Work with a small group of contributors to organize the creation of content by setting meetings, sending reminders, communicating about when the next sprint will happen, helping to set goals and accountability checks for those goals. Communicate with Section Editors and Editors as needed. Bulk of participation would likely take place during summer of 2018. Contributor: Author, either individually or in groups, section(s) of the Cookbook. Respond to communications from Facilitator and meet drafting deadlines. Drafting and revision Read More

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Recording available for #dlfgrt presentation on immigrant justice and federal records transparency

The DLF Records Transparency and Accountability group hosted a special presentation on Federal Records Transparency and Immigrant Justice, featuring presentations by Emily Creighton (Deputy Legal Director, American Immigration Council), Victoria López …

Introducing the “Miracle Workers”

This post comes to us from new group facilitators Leigh Bonds and Alex Gil. Leigh Bonds is the Digital Humanities Librarian at The Ohio State University where she supports research projects, provides learning opportunities for faculty and graduate students, and works with campus partners to coordinate DH efforts. Her research applies DH methods and tools to textual studies in British Romanticism and scholarly editing work. Alex Gil is Digital Scholarship Coordinator at Columbia University Libraries and Affiliate Faculty of the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He collaborates with faculty, students and library professionals leveraging computational and network technologies in humanities research, pedagogy and knowledge production.  e are delighted to invite you to our newly formed working group! We are professionals working in roles with many titles, but a similar charge to support digital scholarship projects, coordinate community efforts, and bridge campus silos with few resources, minimal infrastructure, and informal partnerships. If we had you at hello, you can join by becoming part of our Google Group. If you would like more context, read on. Weeks before this Fall’s DLF Forum, we sent out a call to those in positions like ours to join us for a dinner—an idea hatched at DH2017 over veggie wraps: Are you a digital scholarship librarian? Coordinator? Digital humanities liaison?  We come to libraries with many different titles and from many different backgrounds. Some of us are alt-acs with Masters and PhDs in the Humanities, some of us have MLS/MLISs, and some have other professional backgrounds. In the end, we all share one thing in common: we have been given the mandate to coordinate and support digital scholarship at our institutions without being part of a fully staffed center or institute (like Scholars’ Lab or MITH). If you are one of these “miracle workers,” then this is the dinner for you. The response exceeded our expectations—and our initial reservation for fifteen—but we were not surprised. Following a boom of hires and re-assignments in the past decade we started noticing that a class of library worker was being born. About a year ago, a call was put out on Twitter to create an open directory of these “miracle workers.” The tongue-in-cheek moniker comes from the difficulties our positions must overcome in fulfilling our often ill-defined mandates through arduous, creative work, while being unable to escape the perception that a miracle—hard to explain or understand—was performed. Several topics of interest emerged during our dinner discussions at the Forum: funding models filling expertise gaps labor curricular integration pedagogical integration communication channels complementing existing efforts by other organizations assessment Encouraged by these discussions—and by the number who answered our initial call but were unable to attend—we met with the DLF staff after the Forum to discuss creating a working group. On Friday, 8 December, we sent a preliminary invitation to those who had signed up for the open directory. Our group grew to 65 members in the first week, even before the official, public announcement. The group will liaise with existing DLF working groups to address issues related to labor (invisible, contingency, alt-ac, student, career paths, etc.) and pedagogy (instruction and curricular integration). In addition, we will have the opportunity at future Forums to propose panel sessions and workshops, and to hold working lunches or breakfasts. We also envision our group including those who have the full support of a fully staffed digital scholarship units or centers who can enrich our conversations with their experiences. We have now setup our DLF Wiki page to provide members with information about our group, to announce Twitter chats and calls for DLF Forum panel/paper sessions, and to post meeting notes, working group initiatives, and opportunities to liaise with other DLF groups like the Working Group on Labor in Digital Libraries, the Assessment Interest Group, and the Digital Library Pedagogy Group. This is just the beginning. We have high hopes that this group—through thoughtful discussion and creative engagements (perhaps starting with an exchange on the “miracle workers” name!)—will serve to demystify our roles broadly, while giving us a space where we can share our concerns, and help each other with our very real collective work. To join, just visit our Google Group and sign up. If you have any questions, please send us an email at and We look forward to working with you! Leigh Bonds and Alex Gil

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New “Technologies of Surveillance” Group

This post comes to us from new group facilitators Yasmeen Shorish and Shea Swauger. Yasmeen Shorish is the Data Services Coordinator at James Madison University. Her research focuses on changes in scholarly communication, data information literacy, and issues related to representation and social justice in librarianship. Shea Swauger is the Head of Researcher Support Service at the Auraria Library in Denver, Colorado. He is passionate about the intersection of technology, data, and ethics and their impact how people interact with information and with each other. His research areas are in critical data studies, Open Data, and civic engagement.  here is a perennial conversation in libraries about demonstrating value, sometimes formulated as showing our relevance or effectiveness to our stakeholders, that circulates in most library administration meetings and disciplinary publications. Often the techniques employed to justify a library’s value or effectiveness is through the collection and analysis of some kind of data: use of our collections or technology, building access, instruction assessment, website visits, etc. In addition to this conversation, the drive for utilizing learning analytics in higher education systems has increased the impetus of data collection and analysis. Given these factors, libraries and higher education institutions are increasingly investing in products and systems that can track and correlate user behavior via data and technology. A library’s adoption and participation in these systems is not without ethical concerns, and there could be consequences in terms of patron privacy that directly contradict some of the tenets laid out in our Professional Code of Ethics, such as the right to confidentiality and the prioritization of patrons, colleagues, and institutions over private interests. The Technologies of Surveillance Interest Group will interrogate the methods and ethical implications of some of these technologies and seeks to establish guidelines for how to operationalize that interrogation, whether in systems that we create or purchase, or ones that our larger institutions do. Below are some of the questions we will be starting out with: How can we protect patron privacy using our current and future technology? What is the difference between assessment and surveillance? How do we identify bias built into library data collection and analysis? What is our intellectual and ethical stake in the things we spend money on? How do we work with people who make the tools we use to protect privacy? How do we communicate with our patrons and administrators about privacy? How are we incorporating this information into our instruction and outreach efforts? How can we advocate for patron privacy when we are considering purchasing or building new technologies? The Technologies of Surveillance Group came out of the Surveyance or Surveillance? Working Lunch at the 2017 DLF Forum. We are the inaugural conveners of this group and we hope to develop a vibrant and engaged community. As this topic is so broad, with so many potential avenues of investigation, we propose creating three sub-groups to start: A group to investigate library-built systems: What are we building and how are we managing data collection in our systems? What guiding principles should library-grown systems adopt? A group to investigate vendor supplied systems: How do we ensure transparency with respect to system data collection? Are there minimal requirements that we should be requiring of vendors, with respect to data collection and privacy, in order to align with our professional values? A group to investigate instruction and outreach strategies for our communities on topics related to data collection and privacy: How can basic online awareness factor into information literacy instruction, in areas such as online tracking and user behavior analytics? How best to discuss biases in databases and search engines? We have begun to populate the DLF Wiki with this information, but we are glad to modify these groups or start different ones based on the input of the community. In terms of communication, we have a DLF Listserv that anyone can join ( and on Twitter we are gathering stories related to technologies of surveillance, using the hashtag #panoptitech. Our very first virtual meeting will occur on January 31, 2018 at 11am PST/12pm MST/1pm CST/2pm EST. Connection details will be sent out via the listserv, so sign up today! (You do not need to be a DLF member to participate.) We look forward to building this community with you! Yasmeen & Shea

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