Development of a Cross Institutional Digital Repository
Through the expertise of many, we can leverage success for the collaborative was the guiding philosophy as members of the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries considered how we might utilize technology and software to join our digital collections enabling access to a wealth of collections. In 2013, members of the Alliance were struggling to develop and support digital collections in a variety of formats. Librarians were unsure how to handle video, photos, books, and learning objects that seemed to mushroom overnight with rising and uncontrolled costs. In addition, many of the members lacked technical and professional staff to develop critical digital access. Working together, Alliance members sought a common solution that would enable every member to achieve success in providing open access to existing collections and to develop new collections that were responsive to the respective organizations.
Through the use of information technology, members were able to develop a new system that would meet the needs of a variety of member libraries and across the Colorado Wyoming border. Members also pooled resources to hire staff to manage the digital repository in addition to forming communities that would oversee the direction and management of the site. Through institutional collaboration of multi- type institutions, the Alliance was able to improve access to rich digital collections and to expand digital services to new collections such as theater performances, learning objects, and radio shows. The Alliance members were able to transform routine digital projects at the local level into an engaging, relevant, and attractive set of resources for the Rocky Mountain region.
This paper will describe the process of forming a cooperative, selecting open and commercial software to develop the repository, and how social engineering is critical to the success of any cooperative.