Scaling Up for Digital Scholarship

The DePaul University Library has provided access to digital resources and digital services, including electronic journals, virtual research consultations and online tutorials, for more than a decade, but it has only been in recent years that we have established a sustainable approach to providing an increasing array of digital scholarship services in support of emergent teaching, learning, and research needs across the curriculum.

Our first effort in this area was to adopt the Digital Commons platform to support our institutional repository, Via, in order to provide open access to DePaul theses and dissertations, scholarly journals, conference proceedings, and more. Heather Jagman has described her use of our IR to provide access to her recent work at DePaul, and the ways in which we have used Via to promote the library’s contributions to university initiatives has been noted both on campus and by Digital Commons. A review of the services and “success stories” highlighted on our recently-expanded Digital Services site provides faculty and students with an idea of the spaces, services, and technology platforms that the library, along with campus partners, can now bring to bear in support of areas such as digital humanities, data-intensive social sciences, digital image creation, description, and curation, scholarly publishing, and more. Since 2013, we have collaborated with faculty to deliver innovative instructional programming in the Richardson Library’s Scholar’s Lab, and to support open-access publishing initiatives such as DePaul Discoveries and Map of the Month. Our designation in 2015 as one of the nation’s first “digital depository” members of the U.S. Federal Depository Library Program provided us with additional access to content and expertise needed to bring government information resources into our suite of services offered to the DePaul community.

As DePaul continues to expand its academic offerings in areas defined by digital scholarship, including the Graduate Certificate in the Digital Humanities and a number of new programs in Data Science, the library has made a strategic commitment to expanding access to library spaces, services, and expertise to support that work. In addition to the resources available in the Scholar’s Lab, we are engaged with colleagues in several colleges, and with the Provost’s Cross-College Collaboration Task Force, to consider how a broader array of technologies and services can be provided as part of the next phase of the Richardson Library’s renovation. Likewise, and with support from the Office of the Provost, we are currently engaged in searches for two new positions in the library that will provide focused support for faculty and students working in these areas – the Digital Scholarship Librarian and the Data Services and Government Information Services Librarian. Together, these librarians will provide the core for a new focus on digital scholarship services in the DePaul University Library bringing together expertise from across existing areas such as Reference, Instruction, and Academic Engagement, Digital Services, Special Collections and Archives, and Technical Services. This focus, in turn, will be shared across our network of liaison librarians, and will allow the library to better serve the needs of emergent academic programs and to ensure our continued contribution to the university’s strategic goal of enhancing academic quality and supporting educational innovation.

If you are working in one of these areas, or would like to explore how the library can further support your work in one or more of these areas of digital scholarship, please contact your liaison librarian to learn more.

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