Creating a Roadmap for Digital Scholarship Services at the University of Houston Libraries
Hilyer, Lee Andrew
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Over the last decade, scholarship has predominantly originated and lived in the digital environment. Not surprisingly, scholars, researchers, and students are increasingly in need of skills related to data literacy and manipulation, data management, and data archiving and preservation. Libraries, traditionally well suited to assisting users with these issues in analog formats, are playing larger, more active roles in the digital environment as well – enhancing the research, teaching, and learning missions of many institutions of higher education. One approach academic libraries have used to respond to the growing digital needs among users is the development of digital scholarship services and centers. According to Lippincott, Hemmasi, and Lewis, these programs offer services focused on building and strengthening “relationships” with their users and by offering technological expertise in some core areas, including data visualization in the environmental sciences, data mining of texts in the humanities, and GIS representations in the social sciences. In October 2015, the University of Houston (UH) Libraries’ administration charged a group to develop recommendations for how the Libraries should move forward in the growing area of digital scholarship. Since then, the Digital Scholarship Services Team (DSST) has been hard at work researching and developing a roadmap for potential future services. In this presentation, DSST members address the methodology used to formulate the roadmap, highlight findings from their work, and share lessons learned from this collaborative, cross-departmental process. They start by describing the tasks performed to generate future plans around digital scholarship, including the development of a working definition of digital scholarship, the assessment of current needs associated with digital scholarship activities, the benchmarking of service models at other institutions, and the scanning of existing services currently offered in the libraries and on campus. Next, DSST members discuss key results, prioritized around popular services in the field of digital scholarship, including data visualization, digital humanities, and data repository services. Finally, the group reflects on the collaborative aspects of their work, including their close ties to the UH Libraries’ Strategic Planning Team. While only just started, DSST members believe that their work (and the roadmap they developed) contributes to the growing digital scholarship efforts among institutions in Texas. They believe this presentation will facilitate audience conversation, particularly on the challenges of starting and sustaining digital scholarship activities.  Joan K. Lippincott, Harriette Hemmasi, and Vivian Marie Lewis, “Trends in Digital Scholarship Centers,” Educause Review (June 16, 2014): http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/trends-digital-scholarship-centers.