Practice Article

When a Repository Is Not Enough: Redesigning a Digital Ecosystem to Serve Scholarly Communication

Authors: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


INTRODUCTION Our library’s digital asset management system (DAMS) was no longer meeting digital asset management requirements or expanding scholarly communication needs. We formed a multiunit task force (TF) to (1) survey and identify existing and emerging institutional needs; (2) research available DAMS (open source and proprietary) and assess their potential fit; and (3) deploy software locally for in-depth testing and evaluation. DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM We winnowed a field of 25 potential DAMS down to 5 for deployment and evaluation. The process included selection and identification of test collections and the creation of a multipart task based rubric based on library and campus needs assessments. Time constraints and DAMS deployment limitations prompted a move toward a new evaluation iteration: a shorter criteria-based rubric. LESSONS LEARNED We discovered that no single DAMS was “just right,” nor was any single DAMS a static product. Changing and expanding scholarly communication and digital needs could only be met by the more flexible approach offered by a multicomponent digital asset management ecosystem (DAME), described in this study. We encountered obstacles related to testing complex, rapidly evolving software available in a range of configurations and flavors (including tiers of vendor-hosted functionality) and time and capacity constraints curtailed in-depth testing. While we anticipate long-term benefits from “going further together” by including university-wide representation in the task force, there were trade-offs in distributing responsibilities and diffusing priorities. NEXT STEPS Shifts in scholarly communication at multiple levels—institutional, regional, consortial, national, and international—have already necessitated continual review and adjustment of our digital systems.

Keywords: digital asset management systems, software evaluation, testing rubric, needs assessment, digital asset management ecosystem

How to Cite: Sewell, R. R. , Potvin, S. , Melgoza, P. , Creel, J. S. , Huff, J. T. , Bailey, G. T. , Bondurant, J. , Buckner, S. , duPlessis, A. R. , Furubotten, L. , Mosbo Ballestro, J. A. , Muise, I. W. & Wright, B. J. (2019) “When a Repository Is Not Enough: Redesigning a Digital Ecosystem to Serve Scholarly Communication”, Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. 7(1). doi: