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New approaches to digital archival collections [report]

On the same day that Paola Marchionni and I speak at this year’s UKSG conference on the subject of digital archival collections (‘DACs’), we are pleased to make available a new report summarising the series of roundtable talks, described in a previous post on this blog, in which representatives of libraries and publishers came together to discuss the future direction of these important elements of the research infrastructure.

You can click here to read the report in full:

New Approaches to DACs report (April 2021) FINAL

Our thanks to both the members of our DAC Advisory Group who shaped, ran and fully engaged in the series of talks, and also to the participating publishers – Adam Matthew Digital, Gale Cengage, ProQuest and Taylor & Francis – all of whom joined these discussions in an open and honest manner and allowed them to be genuinely informative and useful.

The full report (linked above) outlines the specific issues and concerns driving these discussions, provides some context and background to the topic, and details the various messages and talking points raised during the roundtables. To provide clarity and to encourage focus we have attempted to distil the process into six key recommendations – reflecting on the original themes and points of consideration:

Summary of Recommendations

  • Publishers are encouraged to set up UK-wide library advisory boards for the development of DACs to ensure their offer is informed by faculty and library. Libraries are also encouraged to approach publishers if they wish to be included in existing advisory groups.
  • Publishers are encouraged to work more closely with the community to ensure that DAC content provision reflects increasing teaching requirements and consider developing collections or subsets of larger collections focused on teaching needs.
  • Publishers should consider or revisit the implementation of multiple payment and evaluation methods to support uptake of DACs across Jisc bands. Libraries are also encouraged to propose to publishers, and Jisc, alternative approaches that are more affordable to them.
  • Publishers should consider providing full metadata records to libraries when they purchase a product, possibly wrapping up the cost of metadata in the price of the collection.
  • Libraries are encouraged to be more proactive in showing leadership in the community around DACs and championing their value in teaching, learning and research.
  • The community and publishers are encouraged to work with Jisc to address some of these issues.

Please download and read the report in full to see the breadth of discussion and the circumstances and concerns that lie beneath these proposals.

Finally, I should like to thank my colleague Peter Findlay – who has been the key point of liaison with the DAC Advisory Group and who not only organised this complex series of meetings with participants from all around the UK and beyond, but also set about sorting and collating the thousands of words spoken across hours of discussion into a coherent and accurate report of our findings.

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