Consortial Models for Shared Digitisation Services
One of the final pieces of work has been to draw on all other aspects of the project in order to explore shared digitisation services. Following consultation with the WR Library Directors, the project team created models for 3 collaborative digitisation services:
- Digitised course readings
- Digitisation training
The Collaboration Continuum (Diane M. Zorich, Gunter Waibel, Ricky Erway www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/2008/2008-05.pdf) was used as a framework to establish the types of collaborative work involved in the models for these services.
The Continuum outlines the different activities involved at each level of collaboration. We were able to apply these to the three services and so provide details of the staff, infrastructure, communication methods, funding model and governance required. Further details of these models are available, see the separate Consortial Models document (.PDF). As a result of these models, the White Rose Directors have agreed to a collaborative approach to digitisation, with the establishment of an Electronic Key Texts working group and a new governance model for shared content creation.
As the shared service models were developed, it became clear there was a significant amount of crossover in the types of tasks required to deliver these services. These tasks also had similarities with those involved in existing shared White Rose services such as White Rose Research Online and White Rose ETheses Online. The project team proposed a model for offering a new service, White Rose Digital, which would combine the existing repositories with Electronic Key Texts, digitisation and training.
Establishing White Rose Digital would require the kind of commitment and radical rethinking of service delivery that the highest level of the Collaboration Continuum, convergence, demands. It would offer the opportunity to develop a truly innovative service. This could also open up the possibilities of collaborating with local, national and international partners as White Rose Libraries would be competitive on a scale with other existing large consortia. However, it would need to be part of a much longer term strategy to make the partners' services more closely aligned. This type of service illustrates the key strength of collaboration, that it can provide something more than the sum of its parts.
Recommendations to achieve deeper collaboration
- Build trust - start with the lower levels of the collaboration continuum and build up the collaboration and with this build the trust between the partners. This will assist long term sustainability of the collaboration.
- Commitment to communicate - provide institutional support for communication with consortial colleagues. This could be financial support for exchange of experience events or a commitment to allow time for attending meetings or for participating in online discussions. Communication is key to the success of collaboration as it helps contribute to the building of trust.
- Same service, same name - where comparable services at different institutions are working collaboratively it is recommended that these services all adopt the same name.
- Coordinate infrastructure - when purchasing substantial pieces of equipment, it is recommended that institutions coordinate efforts and establish whether something could be bought collectively, or perhaps whether another partner's existing equipment could be used instead. This also applies to any system which may be fundamental to the running of a service (e.g. a repository, database to manage CLA scanning), where partners should explore using the same system. This requires open communication before any procurement process is started, and coordination of long term strategic aims.
- Mandate to innovate - one of the benefits of collaboration is the power to produce new and innovative services. Thus any collaborative project should be allowed to move beyond individual institutional expectations and assumptions.