Tuesday, June 3, 2014

From Beyond Library Walls: 2014 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries

With the goals of developing their professional expertise in digital collections and institutional repositories, 
TWU Libraries staff members Bethany Ross (L) and Julie Watson-Reed (R) attended the 2014 Texas 
Conference on Digital Libraries in Austin, Texas.
Editor's Note:  In addition to their myriad responsibilities at the libraries in Denton and Dallas, and at the Houston ARCTWU Libraries staff members place a high priority on professional development--including training, conference attendance, and self-directed skills advancement.  Julie Watson-Reed of Library Systems, who with Bethany Ross of the Woman's Collection attended the 2014 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries, shares the following about that experience.

The 2014 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries (TCDL) took place April 28-29, 2014 at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin, Texas. We were excited to attend and see what our colleagues were up to across Texas, the U.S. and Mexico.

The topic of this year's conference was Engaging Outliers: Context, Collections & Community.  There was a lot on the agenda from which to choose, including more than a dozen full presentations; two panel sessions; 12 24/7 presentations; and 20 Minute Madness posters (
a presentation format in which presenters give a poster content summary in 60 seconds or less.  Attendees are then invited to view the poster and ask questions.)

Keynote Speaker Dan Cohen, of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), provided a year-in-review of the DPLA featuring its inaugural year accomplishments.  In addition to being named one of the 50 Best Websites 2013 by Time Magazine, the DPLA: 
*  Developed APIs (application program interfaces) so that programmers can grab "slices" of data to reuse and repurpose; 
*  Created four main pathways into DPLA collections, each designed to help promote serendipitous searching with a different user preference in mind: geographic, timeline, exhibits, and bookshelf; and
*  In one year tripled the number of service hubs (member institutions that help funnel collection data into the DPLA).
Over the course of the two-day conference, Julie (Watson-Reed) attended presentations related to institutional repositories, and Bethany (Ross) sat in on those focused on digital collections (although there was some crossover). 

Highlights pertaining to institutional repositories included University of North Texas’ value study of its digital repositories, and University of Texas at Austin’s creative inclusion of web archiving using their institutional repository.  Texas A&M provided an in-depth overview of the latest two years of their Early Modern OCR Project (developed to improve OCR searchability of Early English books and Eighteenth Century collections.) 

Conference highlights on digital collections included a presentation about The Texas Runaway Slave Project at Stephen F. Austin State University, with a project overview/timeline and technical aspects, and an overview of the process used by the Digital Projects Lab at the University of North Texas for training students on proper scanning techniques (including the development of a departmental wiki.)

For more on the 2014 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries, see the 2014 TCDL Program; the 2014 TCDL Workshops, Tours, and Special Events listing; or 2014 TCDL Presentations and Authors for slideshows, slides and PDFs of conference presentations.


~Julie Watson-Reed

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