Train to Share: Statewide Interoperability Training for Cultural Heritage Institutions
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In 2008, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, working with the University of North Texas Libraries, Amigos Library Services, and a variety of additional partners and participants, was awarded an IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Grant to develop “Train to Share: Interoperability Training for Cultural Heritage Institutions,” a project of the Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative (THDI). In this three-year project, we will address the need, identified nationally but equally evident at the local level, for quality sharable metadata, metadata produced within specific traditions of practice that can nonetheless be shared to create rich experiences for both today’s user and the user of tomorrow. Through activities including outreach, observation, education, and production, the “Train to Share” project will assist metadata specialists in envisioning, developing, and sustaining digital products that can be combined seamlessly to provide a rich experience for the ultimate audience of the project, the end user community consisting of students, teachers, and researchers interested in Texas history and heritage. In this presentation, we will review our project goals and objectives, introduce the ten participant teams that will be involved in the training, and invite feedback from conference attendees to assist us as we develop our training workshops and supplemental materials. The “Train to Share” project activities will include three phases. In the first phase, outreach and observation, we will work with separate communities of practice from libraries, archives, museums, government agencies, and other cultural heritage institutions. Our goal will be to identify training needs and to establish the depth of resources, skills, and knowledge already available. In the second phase, education, trainers from TSLAC and Amigos Library Services will adapt the “Digital Library Environment” workshop series from the Library of Congress to incorporate the needs and traditions of the separate communities of practice. Participant teams and other interested individuals will be trained using the adapted workshop series, which will require a minimum of five two-day workshops offered at locations across the state, plus two additional online-only offerings. In the final phase, production and evaluation, our participant teams will put what they have learned into practice through the development of a total of ten digital products. The three-phase structure of the project is designed to provide maximum support to learners as they acquire new skills and develop trust in the partnerships that will be fostered as a consequence of this project. The intended outcomes of the “Train to Share” project will be significant increases in knowledge by and among participating metadata specialists, as measured by improved metadata quality and consistency; improved access to the rare and unique materials held by cultural heritage institutions, as measured by the number and type of objects available from project participants at the end of the project; and new and sustainable partnerships vital to the ongoing development of digital projects across the state.