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Taking the National Digital Platform for Libraries to the Next Level

Thursday, July 23, 2015

By Trevor Owens, Senior Program Officer
Emily Reynolds, Program Specialist
Office of Library Services, IMLS

At the end of April, an interdisciplinary group of experts on libraries and technology met at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C., for an IMLS Focus convening on the subject of the national digital platform for libraries.

Two participants talk to each other at the IMLS Focus convening.

Convening attendees Rachel Frick and Jeffrey Reznick

Today we are excited to share a summary report outlining the major discussion points of the convening. The report, prepared by OCLC Research (PDF, 8.6 MB), highlights some of the key themes and issues raised by convening presenters and participants. We hope that these notes will be particularly useful for those interested in proposing projects for the national digital platform priority area in the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program and the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program. Below are a few key focus areas of the report, as well as specific priorities that were identified in each of those areas.

Engaging, Mobilizing and Connecting Communities

  • Engaging users in national digital platform projects through crowdsourcing and other approaches
  • Establishing radical and systematic collaborations across sectors of the library, archives, and museum communities, as well as with other allied institutions
  • Championing diversity and inclusion by ensuring that the national digital platform serves and represents a wide range of communities

Establishing and Refining Tools and Infrastructure

  • Leveraging linked open data to connect content across institutions and amplify impact
  • Focusing on documentation and system interoperability across digital library software projects
  • Researching and developing tools and services that leverage computational methods to increase accessibility and scale practice across individual projects

Cultivating the Digital Library Workforce

  • Shifting to continuous professional learning as part of library professional practice
  • Focusing on hands-on training to develop computational literacy in formal library education programs

Educating librarians and archivists to meet the emerging digital needs of libraries and archives, including cross-training in technical and other skills

Trevor Owens sitting at the front panel table with a PowerPoint presentation in the background.

Trevor Owens presenting a definition of the National Digital Platform

We are very much looking forward to engaging with the library community as it continues to work collaboratively to develop new tools, services, and educational programs.

For further background on the development of the national digital platform for libraries see the first national digital platform grant narratives and this recent article from American Libraries magazine.  

National Leadership Grants for Libraries
Initiative Publications