Evolution of a Service Management Framework - Spotlight at Stanford as a Use Case




Aster, Catherine

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Texas Digital Library


The practice of service management is a growth area for libraries and archives, particularly for the support and sustainability of open source repository solutions and their allied applications in the digital library ecosystem. Opportunities exist to leverage practices from IT service management as well as Agile methodologies, to craft effective and innovative service frameworks we can use to support digital library applications and most importantly, our users. As with the practical application of project management principles in libraries and archives has taught us, we need to mine from these standards and communities of practice to create our own unique frameworks that are both feasible and sustainable. A good service framework also positions us to bring key value as collaborators, enabling us to work effectively with software development teams. Using Spotlight at Stanford as a service management use case, we’ll explore the inner workings of an institutional service team: our initial challenges, what it took to get us up and running effectively, our goal-setting process, our accomplishments to date, and our future aspirations. Spotlight was developed in 2013/14, to address a gap we had identified in our digital library ecosystem, where we needed to have a sustainable, repurposable and configurable solution to feature and showcase selected digital collections. We also needed a solution that provided the ability for curators and content experts to build their own websites without the need for developer support for each online exhibit. Spotlight is a repository-agnostic plugin to Blacklight, an open source discovery platform. Spotlight allows curators, librarians and collection managers to showcase digital collections, and contextualize the content with “storytelling” features. In early 2016, a shift in management in Digital Library Systems and Services at Stanford, alongside a growing need to train more curators and grow the use of Spotlight at Stanford, resulted in the formal establishment of a service team and a named service manager. In April 2016, guided by a Service Charter created specifically for Spotlight at Stanford, we held our first service team meeting. As we wrestled with the well-known challenges of establishing a new workgroup, i.e. what is referred to as “forming, storming, norming, and performing,” we made adjustments during the remainder of our first year to diversify service team membership, better define the service team scope of influence and responsibility, and incorporated a newly-learned Agile SCRUM technique to coalesce the service team around identifying, prioritizing, and executing annual goals.
With three years under our belt now as a service team, we’ll summarize some of our challenging moments as well as our accomplishments, alongside sharing generalizable lessons learned in the hope that allied communities of practice can benefit from our experiences. Finally, we’ll also discuss the process we undertook to help establish a Spotlight Service Community with a core group of institutional partners and summarize the progress that has been made over the past eighteen months.


Presented by Stanford University, 2C | Technology & Tools, at TCDL 2019.