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Penn State University Libraries

Appointed by: Mike Furlough

Chair: Bonnie Osif

Membership: Amy Paster, Heidi Abbey, Doris Malkmus, Nonny Schlotzhauer, Stephanie Movahedi-Lankarani, Jane Ingold, Linda Friend, ex officio, Sue Kellerman, ex officio, DOT co-chair


Role:  The University Libraries have been digitizing materials for access for over a decade with a number of factors driving the decisions. It has become increasingly clear that larger sets of similar materials are likely to prove most useful to users.   Now that we have entered an era of “mass digitization” it has become more important to carefully review what collections we choose to digitize with our own resources.    The role of the Digital Collections Review Team is to provide a collections-oriented focus in the selection and prioritization of materials digitized by Penn State Libraries. DCRT will help the Libraries build larger, intellectually coherent aggregations of collections online that minimize duplication and complement other activities of the Penn State Libraries, and that of other research libraries in the CIC and elsewhere.

Environment:  Applying a collections approach to our locally digitized collections will, however, have to consider the wider audience for these resources.  Exact funding available for digitization may vary from year to year, depending upon a range of issues. In the next several years, engaging in national collaborative efforts will become more important. External funders are increasingly emphasizing the need for libraries to consider the needs of students, teachers, and researchers, even to the extent of advising that they be leads on any digitization grants. We will have to think about ways of improving these links.


The Digital Collections Review Team is charged with: 

  1. Developing, on an ongoing basis, priority recommendations for materials to be digitized from our collections based on collections strength.  These recommendations will be made to Collection Development Council and the Assistant Dean for Scholarly Communications.
  2. Conferring with subject specialists and other librarians on the needs of the Penn State user community, and with related project teams to determine these priorities.
  3. Reviewing existing digital collections offerings from other research libraries as well as commercial providers, to identify opportunities to extend work underway in the wider field, and to avoid duplication of effort to extent possible.
  4. Recommending policies or projects that will ensure better access and discovery of our digital collections as needed.
  5. Recommending useful methods of assessment for digitized collections.
  6. Communicating its work to Collection Development Council and the Libraries in general.

First Year Agenda:

  1. Review the report of the Task Force to Recommend Collection Development Priorities for Digitization (dated May 15 2007), especially the collection strengths.   (See: (staff only).
    a. Review of the recommended selection criteria; determine how they can best be applied. 
    b. Develop process and methods for identification of collections to be digitized.
  2. Identify sets of materials to be digitized during the 2008/09 fiscal year.
  3. Expand planning to recommend materials for digitization in 2009/10.
  4. Review and if possible, act upon the “further recommendations” specified in the report of the Task Force to Recommend Collection Development Priorities for Digitization.

Related Committees and Activities:

  • Collection Development Council: DCRT will make recommendations to CDC.
  • Google Scanning Project: Consultation as needed to ensure complementary activities.
  • Digital Initiatives Steering Committee (DISC): Common membership on this operations committee should ensure communication on feasibility for collections digitization. 
  • Instructional Collections project: A current ad hoc effort to pilot close collaboration with a few teaching faculty to develop materials in support of classroom teaching. 
  • ETD Services Review Team:   Will review current electronic theses services for improvement, and identify opportunities to manage the collection and management of related “capstone” efforts in Penn State schools. Not yet underway.
  • Media Task Force:   To be charged, will be reviewing needs for delivery of multimedia for teaching and general collection delivery.

Deadline/duration: ongoing