The Digital Assembly Line: Renning an effective and efficent digital lab
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Over the past year and a half, the Texas Tech University Libraries Digital Lab has experienced a huge learning curve. When the digital lab was first developing, the focus was on learning the equipment, the digitization process, developing workflows, and striving for quality. The lab typically ran with only 3-7 students, matching individual students to individual projects. This allowed detailed knowledge of the digitization process to be documented and to establish workflows for a variety of different types of formats that could be produced from the lab. Quality was highly coveted, regardless of the lack for speed in the lab. At this point, the library administration brought in project management training. This helped to streamline how projects were planned and allowed employees to explore how a project would be implemented before actually beginning the project. As the digitization efforts of the library increased, the number of projects increased and therefore the demand on the lab increased as well. Consequently the digital lab needed to explore new ways in order to become more efficient: by using human resources more effectively and by matching equipment to the digitization needs of the library. The lab was able to effect change by increasing the number of students to 24-36 and by increasing the number of hours the lab was staffing individuals. The lab was then forced to look at how students were assigned to projects. Instead of matching an individual student to an individual project, the lab moved to a system that uses the priority matrix for digital projects set by the DLI Team to assign a portion of the number of hours in the lab to each project. At the same time, the lab looked into increasing the productivity level as workflows had been established for several formats and quality was replaced for quantity; concurrently the lab manager evaluated the equipment in the lab and was able to identify ways to streamline efficiency by increasing the number and speed of the computers in the lab. In conclusion, Texas Tech University Libraries Digital Lab was grown significantly over the last year. We have moved from exploring how to develop digital projects to a fully functioning effective digital assembly line.