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Journal cover: OCLC Systems & Services

OCLC Systems & Services

ISSN: 1065-075X

Online from: 1985

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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Digital library of the Caribbean: a user-centric model for technology development in collaborative digitization projects

Document Information:
Title:Digital library of the Caribbean: a user-centric model for technology development in collaborative digitization projects
Author(s):Mark Sullivan, (University of Florida – Digital Library Centre, Gainesville, Florida, USA), Marilyn N. Ochoa, (University of Florida – Education Library, Gainesville, Florida, USA)
Citation:Mark Sullivan, Marilyn N. Ochoa, (2009) "Digital library of the Caribbean: a user-centric model for technology development in collaborative digitization projects", OCLC Systems & Services, Vol. 25 Iss: 4, pp.249 - 262
Keywords:Caribbean, Collections management, Digital libraries, Sustainable development
Article type:Case study
DOI:10.1108/10650750911001833 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the technological approach used by the Digital Library of the Caribbean project to build an international collaborative library across many separate institutions with varying degrees of expertise, technological abilities, and motivations.

Design methodology/approach – A freely-distributed digitization toolkit was developed to assist with tracking and digitization of the distributed resources. In addition, on-site training was provided for most partners and was open for anyone in the area to attend. The strong emphasis on branding and presenting the same data within differently branded interfaces in the web presence encouraged greater participation of international partners.

Findings – Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC), a joint project of the University of Florida, University of Virgin Islands and Florida International University in partnership with institutions in the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean, serves as the access point for scholars, students and citizens of interdisciplinary Caribbean and circum-Caribbean research and gathers together a critical mass of cultural, historical and research materials originally held in archives, libraries and private collections. Involving partners in the process of usability studies, as well as conducting internal usability studies, have also assisted in the creation of a successful project web interface.

Practical implications – One concrete practical implication is the availability of a standards-based digitization toolkit, which can be freely used by non-members as well as members. Findings also suggest a course for digital library development in collaborative ventures. In addition, this case shows the benefits of the recurring, iterative process of performing usability studies during the development phase.

Originality/value – This paper has value for anyone looking to build collaboration in under-represented regions.

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