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UC Davis Leading Reboot of Libraries Operations

The University of California, Davis will be leading the charge to figure out how best to catalog collections so online researchers can find what they need. The two-year project is designed to develop a roadmap for strategic planning and investments in software, standards, processes, and practices that could be adopted by other academic libraries. The research study will examine the entire workflow of library operations: acquisitions, licensing, cataloging, processing, digitization, and newly identified areas that encourage the use of technology.

"Libraries have valuable information that is locked away in antiquated databases and inaccessible from the online places where students and researchers look for them," said MacKenzie Smith, UC Davis' librarian and lead investigator. "Our project will explore how to break through roadblocks to modernizing library operations so that our data can reach its audience where they live online."

The complexity of libraries, which have links with other institutions, specialized vendors, interdependent functions, and ever-tightening budgets, makes its "ecosystem" resistant to change, Smith said in a statement. "Until libraries can modernize their data and how their clients interact with it, library collections will be increasingly hidden from the people who need them most."

The work is being funded by a $494,000 grant issued by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through its National Leadership Grants for Libraries program, which supports work that promises to improve professional practice beyond the institution receiving the grant.

Participants in the project go beyond the libraries at UC Davis and include the Library of Congress; library cooperative OCLC; the National Information Standards Organization; higher ed open source organization, the Kuali Foundation; and software development company Zepheira.

The consortium said it expects the work it develops to be continuously updated into the future as new forms of data, standards, and other aspects of library operations emerge.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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