Carolina Digital Library: Exploring a Common Framework. Improving the digital scholarship tools, infrastructure, and support available to faculty and students across the Carolinas.


Carolina Digital Library Network

Exploring Collaborative Digital Scholarship Service Possibilities

This pilot project is funded by a grant from IMLS to enable small to mid-sized academic libraries in North and South Carolina to explore the possibilities of new digital scholarship services for their researchers.  

Technological changes over the past three decades have radically changed the digital scholarship services which libraries can provide to their clientele. The pace and rate of change has meant that it is difficult for individual libraries, especially smaller libraries, to fully embrace or even experiment with new opportunities to support faculty and students in the production of digital scholarship. 

Collaborative efforts by groups of libraries can empower individual libraries to more effectively test and assess digital scholarship tools and infrastructure in support of their campuses. This pilot project will model and test the process of creating a digital library alliance to address these points, specifically working with Discovery Garden (Islandora) and Gale (Digital Scholarship Lab). 

If successful, this network is not envisioned as a “new” or standalone initiative; instead, this work would likely be maintained and moved from pilot to production in collaboration with existing local consortia in these states.

The aims of this project have been informed by a combination of successful previous collaborative results, current needs analysis activities, and a literature review of similar cooperative library efforts, and they include the following:

  1. Pilot the Carolina Digital Library Network: Our primary aim is to test the viability of a digital scholarship network comprised of small to mid-sized academic libraries in the Carolinas. The aim of this network is to collectively provide constituent libraries with improved and more affordable means of offering new and innovative digital library services to their clienteles. The general strategy will be to trial cost-effective services that can be provided through negotiated group licenses with service provider partners. The pilot project libraries in the steering committee section will be the primary institutions responsible for testing and evaluating these services during this pilot project. 
  2. Document DL Community Formation Opportunities, Challenges, and Strategies: A secondary goal is to use this pilot project to document opportunities, challenges, and strategies for digital library community formation activities more broadly. This goal is intended to ensure that the results of this project have the potential to be easily adoptable, generalizable, sustainable, and widely implementable by others. 
  3. Foster National Discussion of Digital Scholarship Community Formation Models: The project will undertake various dissemination steps to foster discussion on successful digital library community formation models, and to share project findings. This will be accomplished through a symposium, a website, webinars, and symposium proceedings. 

The Carolina Digital Library Network will increase the shared infrastructural capacity of libraries throughout the regions of North Carolina, South Carolina, and (optionally) portions of adjoining states in order to improve access to digital content, collections, and services for a wide range of users. This project builds on previous success of UNC Greensboro in negotiating group discounts, repository services, and other innovations for large numbers of libraries. This project is generously supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through its National Digital Infrastructures and Initiatives program.