A Note from the Dean: An Update on UC Libraries’ Strategic Initiatives

Xuemao Wang

Dean and University Librarian Xuemao Wang

Last May, the University of Cincinnati Libraries launched our Strategic Plan. Strategic plans are common in organizations today, both in the public and private sector. They set priorities, create a strategy and help companies identify a common direction to pursue. And while the thoughtful creation of a strategic plan is incredibly important, so is its implementation.

For the first year of UC Libraries’ Strategic Plan we set ambitious goals, including last fall the launch of 10 strategic initiatives. These initiatives are managed by faculty and staff across our library system, and are created with the sole purpose of fulfilling our mission to “empower discovery, stimulate learning and inspire the creation of knowledge by connecting students, faculty, researchers and scholars to dynamic data, information and resources.”

Now in their second year, it is our goal that the initiatives will mature in their success and that the knowledge gained since deployment will enable the initiative teams to continue their transformative work.  Here are some of the highlights of their progress thus far:

  1. strategic plan

    UC Libraries Strategic Plan

    Next Generation Digital Repository: A digital repository makes accessible, enables re-use, stores, organizes and preserves the full range of an institution’s intellectual output. Scholar@UC, UC’s new digital repository, went live with a core group of faculty Early Adopters on October 6, 2014. The first ‘production’ release took place at the beginning of this fall semester, meaning the repository is now open for faculty submissions. Initiative members presented at numerous conferences, including Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), Open Repositories and HydraConnect, and the group became the first sustaining member of the Academic Preservation Trust.

  2. DigitizeUC: Digitization workstations were deployed to the Archive and Rare Books Library and in the Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions, and a prototype of a BYOD (bring your own device) self-service digitization station was deployed for testing in Langsam Library. Surveys and site visits were conducted across peer institutions and the individual libraries at UC.  Documentation for digitization standards and procedures was created and the first training sessions completed.
  3. Delivering Health Informatics: This group held programs and workshops, consulted with faculty applying for grants, and taught REDCap Courses in the College of Medicine. Individual initiative members completed in-depth learning experiences related to biomedical informatics, including a course sponsored by the National Library of Medicine and the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship. This August, the HSL Informatics Lab opened providing a space for innovative and collaborative hands-on learning experiences and discussions.
  4. Exploring Digital Humanities/Digital Scholarship (DH/DS):  This initiative has raised awareness and facilitated engagement of digital humanities and digital scholarship. The group completed a successful speaker series featuring onsite visits from two renowned DH/DS scholars and one Skype session with a Canadian scholar and distinguished professor. In the spring, the Libraries hosted UC’s first THATCamp, an unconference where humanists and technologists gathered to learn more about DH/DS.
  5. eLearning and Digital Literacy: The initiative group hosted several shareposiums for library faculty, staff and guests and presented at the Online Course Design Institute. In addition, they completed the training and first tutorials for Guide on the Side and Articulate Storyline and created Campus Guides featuring online tutorials, pedagogies of engagement and embedded support. They are currently assessing the current instruction efforts to identify fits and gaps.
  6. Support for the UC Researcher: Developing a Suite of Programs:  Data management workshops were held in the summer of 2014 along with individual workshop sessions. A Geographic Information System (GIS) working subgroup was created and collaborated with UC Geography for last fall’s GIS Day, an international celebration. Multiple webinars were hosted with a focus on researcher services.
  7. Langsam 462

    Renovated Langsam 462

    Langsam Library Digital Scholarship (DS) Area: The initiative groups researched various DS spaces in other libraries and universities looking at services, physical configurations, staffing support, partnerships/collaborations, equipment and more. The group conceptualized a plan for space in Langsam Library and socialized that concept to various stakeholders. They began Master Planning with various groups within UC Libraries that could benefit or contribute to the initiative. Phase 1 of the 400 Level plan for Langsam began this summer, including renovation of classroom 462, a BYOD learning commons and the library’s central service desk. The library will continue the phased approach to complete the conceptualized plan.

  8. UCL Discovery: The initiative group is looking at how users search and locate library resources via our website. They performed an environmental scan of available discovery solutions, including vendor and open-source possibilities, investigated and discussed issues of library linked data and discovery beyond local curated systems, and conducted a library user survey and an investigation of the current resource discovery tool, Summon. Lastly, they hosted professional development webinars focused on discovery tools and systems.
  9. Collection Management Life Cycle:  A white paper on the full life cycle of collection management was completed and emergent trends and innovative options for the management of our print collections, eCollections and document supply and delivery were investigated and identified.
  10. Collection Budget Realignment:  This initiative group researched budget allocation frameworks and developed a draft budget for managing the UC Libraries’ collections. They identified data collection methods and criteria as well as centrally funded expenditures to realign with subject funds.
progress report cover

Progress Report: Transforming through Collaboration

More about the advancement made on the UC Libraries Strategic Plan will be included in the annual Progress Report: Transforming through Collaboration, publishing in print and online in November. In addition to providing an update on the Strategic Plan, the Progress Report also explores new and existing partnerships and collaborations that have impacted UC Libraries, the university and the greater academic community. It presents a wide range of events, programs and activities that have propelled the Libraries forward as we strive to achieve our vision to become “the globally engaged, intellectual commons of the university.”

To reserve your copy, email melissa.norris@uc.edu.