Getting Started (with Digital Library Architecture)

I’m not particularly fond of the term “digital library architecture” because it suggests capital ‘A’ architecture.  It’s big; it’s monolithic.  The term leaves lots of room for abstraction and complexity and formalism, and I am a fan of simplicity and practicality.  I have tried to be upfront about my inclinations, and so I can only assume that the hiring committee found them acceptable. Great.

My charge as digital library architect is to work with a team of folks in ITS and the Libraries, among other groups on campus and in the digital library community abroad, to design systems for curation of digital content.  It’s a huge problem space involving dozens of stakeholders across campus, terabytes of content, and diverse use cases and requirements.

At the outset, I expect to work – especially with the fellow members of the Digital Library Technologies team, the Libraries’ digital collections curator, and the Digital Initiatives Steering Committee – on building out the university’s e-Content Stewardship program.  I intend to start with a ton of contextualization: reading functional requirements, sitting on various committees, tracking down key articles and local wiki pages, and engaging folks over caffeinated beverages.

Beyond that, I imagine we will want to turn to building a team to work on a pilot project. There are many potential pilot projects competing for time, to be sure.

I’m excited to be working on this at Penn State, and can’t wait to dig in.  I’ll share more as I go along, and hope that folks reading along will participate in the discussion.

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