Associate Vice President for Digital Programs and Technology Services
Director, Libraries Digital Program Division
Carole Ann Fabian
Director, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
Over the last 10 years, the research library community has made significant investments in developing and utilizing open-source software products to build sustainable digital library infrastructure and services at scale. Community-driven open standards, data formats, protocols and governance are crucial to fulfilling the objective of scalable preservation and access infrastructure. Our collective investments in such development has the further benefit of helping reduce the amount of locally written code while delivering more “product” in the form of online archives, digital collections, exhibitions and services, offering flexible solutions to unique requirements. A good example of the benefits of leveraging open-source infrastructure can be seen in Columbia University’s Seymour B. Durst Old York Library project. In August 2011, Columbia received a substantial gift of New York-related materials from the Old York Foundation together with supporting funds to accession, process and produce a digital library based on the materials. The gift funded digitization of this large and unique collection and provided capacity-building funding that helped us to explore new project management models, establish new collaborative workflows and production processes, and expand development of our digital library infrastructure and feature set. The session will include an overview of Columbia’s strategy for leveraging community-based, open approaches to digital library infrastructure and also describe the specific set of open-source technologies used to implement this and other digital library projects. It will also describe how the Old York Library project helped to accelerate our development efforts, reduce the amount of locally written code, and build more sustainable approaches to meet the needs of unique and distinctive digital collections.