DUBLIN, Ohio, 17 November 2020—OCLC's WebJunction, in partnership with Washington State University's Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation, is creating a series of 10 free online courses for staff at tribal archives, libraries, museums (TALMs), and small public libraries on digital stewardship and community-centered curation of cultural collections.
These on-demand courses, adapted from the successful Tribal Digital Stewardship Cohort Program developed at Washington State University, are scheduled to launch in early 2022. OCLC and WSU are partnering on this project with support from an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant.
"Staff at tribal archives, libraries and museums and at small, rural public libraries often do not have access to specific educational resources that could help them manage, preserve, and care for the unique and diverse cultural heritage materials they hold in their collections," said Sharon Streams, Director of WebJunction, which is part of OCLC Research. "These free online courses will provide training and resources to help TALM staff curate and digitize these significant collections so that they can be preserved for generations and tribal community members, as well as the public, can have increased and appropriate access to them."
The project will also adapt and expand the original program's curriculum for staff at small public libraries throughout the United States, many of which are in under-resourced, rural, and geographically isolated locations. This expansion will address an important training need documented in OCLC's 2017 research report, Advancing the National Digital Platform: The State of Digitization in US Public and State Libraries, which was funded by IMLS. According to that report's findings, while 92 percent of the public libraries surveyed reported having unique, locally significant materials, most respondents from small libraries indicated they have never digitized their collections. Among public library respondents, 61.4 percent identified insufficient staff training/expertise as a barrier to their digitization efforts.
The courses build upon the IMLS-funded Tribal Digital Stewardship Cohort program, curriculum, and open educational resources developed by WSU's Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation (CDSC). The Tribal Stewardship Cohort Program has focused on the unique needs of tribal archives, libraries, and museums through a cohort-based model that focuses on tribal values, histories, and needs. The program builds on Mukurtu CMS, the open source platform built with Indigenous communities, as a core component of culturally sustainable digital heritage management.
"Over the last six years, the cohorts have shown us that building curriculum from the unique and shared needs of TALMs fosters community and grows networks, so that stewardship of these vital collections is sustained through rich sets of relationships," said Dr. Kim Christen, Director of the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation and the Tribal Stewardship Cohort Program.
This adapted training will strengthen staff skills and knowledge of:
- The life cycle of digital stewardship
- Collaborative curation
- Providing access to collections based on community values and priorities
- Caring for physical and digital collections
- Digitization planning and digital workflows
- Creating policies to sustain and manage collections
- Ethical stewardship of culturally sensitive collections
The continuing education courses being developed will be freely and broadly accessible to tribal archive, library, and museum staff and small public library staff, through WebJunction and on WSU's Sustainable Heritage Network.
The project is currently underway and will run through March 2022. More about this project can be found at oc.lc/digital-stewardship.
OCLC is a nonprofit global library cooperative providing shared technology services, original research and community programs so that libraries can better fuel learning, research and innovation. A program of OCLC Research, WebJunction designs and delivers transformational programs that connect public library service to community needs such as lifelong learning, health and wellness, and economic success. Through OCLC, member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections and services. Libraries gain efficiencies through OCLC's WorldShare, a complete set of library management applications and services built on an open, cloud-based platform. It is through collaboration and sharing of the world's collected knowledge that libraries can help people find answers they need to solve problems. Together as OCLC, member libraries, staff and partners make breakthroughs possible.
About the CDSC
The Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation (CDSC) promotes collaborations that use technology in ethically minded and socially empowering ways through meaningful partnerships with a commitment to foster long term relationships with Native American nations locally, regionally and nationally. The Center enriches Washington State University's land grant mission by promoting social justice in and through digital scholarship, research, and outreach. The CDSC works with diverse sets of people, institutions, and groups to create digital tools, projects, public programming, and educational opportunities for the many publics that Washington State University serves with an emphasis on ethical curation and collaborative scholarship.