Digital Initiatives

As of August 1, 2012, work began on a library-wide digital strategy covering:

1. Digital Initiatives
2. IT Infrastructure
3. Metadata
4. Digital Preservation
5. Legal Guidance

The information provided here as basic orientation for those in or working with Yale University Library (YUL) on digital projects, whether long- or short-term.  


In Susan Gibbon's announcement in July 2012, she cited one recommendation of the Digitization Task Force was the creation of a “sustained, ongoing, and robust Digital Collections Program” with a “governance structure that is real, integrated, funded, strategic, and authoritative.”  After extensive discussions, the LEC moved to establish a governance model that consists of an executive and an advisory/steering committee.  That model is explained in page 8 of the task force report and parallels the structure we are currently using for Collection development (Director of Collection Development (Daniel Dollar) with a Collections Steering Committee). 

In August, Digital Initiatives began with a Director and an Advisory Board for a 2-year term.   Additionally, the success of YUL's digital initiatives also relies on the presence of a robust IT infrastructure.  A Digital Infrastructure Deployment Working Group was charged to design a digital collection infrastructure facilitating preservation and access and universal discovery.  These two groups will work in tandem to ensure that the policies, procedures and workflows developed are supported by the infrastructure, and vice versa.

Another recommendation of the Digitization Task Force was to create “common policies and procedures for metadata creation and implementation for digital assets across the Library system.”  In order to address this need, the Metadata for Digital Assets Committee reviews current metadata practices throughout the library, national standards, and with appropriate consultation to recommend and endorse content and structural standards appropriate for YUL’s digital initiatives.

The task force report also identified the need for a digital preservation strategy “strengthened by appointing a digital preservation officer.”   In response, a new position, Digital Preservation Manager joined the YUL staff in 2013 to develop a plan to ensure effective acquisition, description, preservation, future migration, and security of all Yale Library digital components that must be preserved indefinitely. 

The need for legal guidance in our digitization decisions was also recognized by the task force.  Working with the Office of General Counsel, YUL has established a regular, every-other month meeting which will provide the Library with a forum to present our latest copyright, intellectual property and other legal questions to Counsel for advice and guidance. 

Our hope is that these are the correct first steps towards building a sustained and robust digital collections program at YUL.  We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but a strategic road map is starting to take shape.