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Behind the Scenes: Digital Services

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29/01/2010

By | Digital Developments, In the Library

This is the first in a series of posts aimed at revealing the cogs and wheels that make up the Wellcome Library. These are the departments and teams that provide the services our readers are so familiar with.Now, we find ourselves on the first floor of the Wellcome Collection building with Digital Services. This department brings together several roles and resources in the Library centred around the technical delivery of websites, catalogues, digitisation projects, digital imaging services, an open access repository for research outputs, and digital curation.The Imaging Department will be the focus of a future blog post. Here, we concentrate on the rest of Digital Services. There are 9 members of staff (outside Photography) who work in the following areas:

Systems support services (LSS). This team works to keep the Library catalogues and website in top condition to serve the high expectations of the Library users. As well as leading a programme of projects to upgrade and streamline services, the team helps manage access to electronic resources, including databases, electronic journals and digital collections. In addition LSS provide first line support for all IT systems and services used throughout the Library both by Library users and staff.

Open Access: Digital Services is also responsible for taking forward the Trust’s open access policy. Specifically, this takes the form of managing the contract to run UK PubMed Central (the UK’s largest free online life sciences resource), working with publishers to help them develop policies that comply with the Trust’s OA mandate, and planning the ongoing development of the UKPMC service. With regard to this latter activity, plans are afoot to expand this resource into a single, Europe-wide, open access repository for lifesciences research.

Digitisation Projects: The Digitisation Project Manager oversees the Library’s Digitisation Program, working with two Content and Metadata Officers to aid the Library in the development of digitisation projects, digital storage and delivery of digital content. The department is currently involved in developing a large scale digitisation program that will see the digitisation of much larger collections of material around a series of strategic themes. The first of these is “Modern Genetics and its Foundations;” under this theme half a million page images of archival collections will be digitised over the next 2 years.

Digital Curation: The Wellcome Library accepts born digital archival material as part of its collecting strategy. Digital Curation is the long term management of all the Library’s digital assets, ensuring that they remain viable, authentic and available to users of the Library. Responsibility for managing the Library’s Digital Asset Management system is divided between the Library Systems Administrator and the Digital Curator.

The biggest challenge for the department is determining how to deliver on The Library’s ambition to provide online access to a large number of digitised collections, including books, archival material, artworks and audio visual materials.

Understanding the components of a digital library system that can bring together both the physical collections and the digitised content in a flexible, engaging, and powerful way is no small feat. A Feasibility Study is underway to model this system, and create a proof-of-concept to test ideas around how catalogues, page-turners, storage layers and full-text indexing – for example – will interoperate.

Christy Henshaw

Christy Henshaw

Christy Henshaw manages digitisation at the Wellcome Library. @Chenshaw. Linkedin

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