Delivering the goods

I’ve been skimming the report from the University of Minnesota Discoverability. Lorcan recently blogged about this report in detail, but this bit caught my eye:

Users draw little distinction between discovery and delivery; systems, data, and information objects should be optimized for fulfillment.

This is no surprise, but the finding deserves attention in relationship to unique materials. In special collections, the “information objects” that should be “optimized for fulfillment” are usually not. The report does not specifically address concerns related to special collections, focusing instead on materials where timeliness of delivery is a factor. However, with the expectation of timely and convenient availability of materials (if not instant access to materials) a growing trend in general collections, what about special collections?

Two activities in the RLG Partnership are addressing this: Sharing Special Collections (led by my colleague Dennis) and Streamlining Photography and Scanning (led by my colleague Jennifer). Both groups are have working groups populated by smart and motivated professionals.

We’re some distance from special collections that are optimized for fulfillment, but I’m pleased that we have great minds focusing on the issue. Take a look at these activities and let us know what you think.

2 Comments on “Delivering the goods”

  1. Matthew, I absolutely do think this work is important. This report landed on my desk just before this blog posting. I attended one of the meetings mentioned in the report, and hope to do a blog posting about my experiences and the report sometime soon! I also know that Jen’s group is taking a look at the UNC report. Thanks for including the link for other readers.

  2. Merrilee,

    Do you think the work at UNC on large scale digitization of mss collections is a step toward uniting discovery and delivery?

    The work was done by the Southern Historical Collection, University Library The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    I like the decision matrix they developed. I think it could be adapted to similar or related prioritization activities

    “The SHC will digitize many of its 4,600+ collections in their entirety. The detailed decision matrix will serve as a guide for the staff as it makes decisions about which collections to digitize and about the priorities for digitization.”

    The report (pdf, 85 p., see appendix G for the decision matrix) is at

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