Visiting Digital Research Services Librarian
University of Nevada Las Vegas
Assistant Director for Digital Scholarship
University of Pennsylvania
Manager, Digital Library Product and Service Management
Collections as Data is an Institute of Museum and Library Services supported effort that aims to create a framework and set of deliverables that guide cultural heritage professionals in the development, description, and provisioning of collections that are amenable to computational analysis. Project deliverables are designed to be helpful to institutions with a wide range of resources at hand, from large museums and academic institutions to small cultural heritage organizations. To date, the project has hosted a national forum (with plans for a second), collected and developed use cases, created personas that span library staff and end-users, and hosted sold-out project workshops at a wide range of disciplinary and professional conferences. Enthusiastic community participation in project deliverable development has been integral to success. More broadly, the growth of internationally distributed collections as data branded events, curricula, and job descriptions suggests that collections as data provides a conceptual motivation with increasing currency. Collections as data challenges all aspects of an organization to think of digital collections as more than surrogates of physical objects – to consider the ways in which an object become data affords the capacity to support new questions. The consequence of this orientation calls into question current library configurations of people and resources and creates an imperative for thinking differently. Always Already Computational seeks to engage library leaders in a conversation about the meaning and potential utility of collections as data in their local context. In order to set the stage for this conversation, project leads will share work completed to date on the project born of collaboration with institutions large and small. Products include an advocacy deliverable (The Santa Barbara Statement on Collections as Data), an implementation deliverable (Collections as Data Facets), and a development deliverable (Collections as Data Personas and Use Cases). With these three deliverables in hand we hope to garner conversation with library leaders that strengthens the utility of the project for library use writ large. We also hope that the conversation serves to encourage further project deliverable development from session participant institutions.