Building Relationships with Researchers and Enhancing the Library's Reputation through Digital Services




Lyon, Colleen

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Connecting with faculty, students, and staff is a major objective for many librarians. We do this through many avenues like reference, instruction sessions, collection development activities, library and university committees, and participating in department or university events. One very meaningful, and perhaps overlooked, way to interact with our campus community is through our digital services.

Every step within a digital project offers an opportunity to develop or enhance long-term collaborative relationships with researchers at your institution. Facilitating the creation and management of a digital collection is one of the best ways to get to know researchers. This is a point-of-need activity that usually involves sitting down with a researcher and having an in-depth discussion with them about their work; something which would be very difficult to schedule in any other way. These discussions are great opportunities to involve subject librarians who can enhance the conversation and improve the final product. Getting other librarians involved includes the added benefit of making digital services more visible within the library.

As the Digital Repository Librarian at the University of Texas at Austin, I’m involved in several digital services offered on our campus: the University of Texas Digital Repository, electronic journals*, conference management*, blogs*, and research wikis*. My job is really about building relationships, not necessarily trying to sell our services. During this session I will discuss how I’ve been able to leverage the services we offer and develop meaningful relationships that frequently lead to researchers referring their colleagues to me. These referrals are a far more effective recruitment tool than even the best crafted email or elevator speech.

Participants in this session will learn how to use digital services as a springboard for starting discussions with faculty and students on campus, how to recognize unique relationship-building opportunities, how to manage these relationships, and how to successfully continue the relationship after a digital project has concluded.

*Offered in collaboration with Texas Digital Library (TDL)


Presentation slides for the 2012 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries (TCDL).