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UGA’s Graham proposes system-wide digital repository for electronic scholarship

UGA’s Graham proposes system-wide digital repository for electronic scholarship

Athens, Ga. – P. Toby Graham, director of the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG), has been selected to attend the Frye Leadership Institute at Emory University and plans to use the experience to help the University System of Georgia create a digital repository for electronic scholarship.

The institute’s purpose is to develop creative leaders to guide and transform academic information services for higher education in the 21st century by providing an understanding of the issues, including academic, technology, economic, public policy, student and constituent-relations dynamics.

Based at the UGA Libraries, the DLG is a collaborative project providing a gateway to Georgia’s history and culture found in digitized books, manuscripts, photographs, government documents, newspapers, maps, audio, video and other resources. The collection now encompasses 90 collections from 60 institutions and 100 government agencies.

“Acceptance to the Frye Institute is very competitive and we are thrilled Toby has this opportunity,” said William Gray Potter, the UGA university librarian. “In looking forward to hearing the ideas he brings back, we know that his experience will benefit the entire state as the DLG is part of GALILEO, the state’s virtual library, and it continues to grow under Toby’s leadership.”

Among the criteria for selection, applicants are asked to describe a year-long project that they will undertake after the two-week residential portion of the Frye Institute. Graham proposed helping UGA and the 35-member University System make substantial progress toward the goal of a system-wide institutional repository program.

“The application of information technologies in academia has led to significant changes in scholarly communication among both faculty and students. Much of the intellectual product of universities never appears in a permanent printed form. Instead it exists as a disorganized and decentralized body of digital objects held in personal computers, Web and file servers, or on various removable media across the university,” Graham explained.

“These digital objects include technical and research reports, pre-print research, working papers, data sets, conference papers, electronic journals, learning objects, electronic theses and dissertations and service publications. They represent a vital part of the scholarly output of a university, but also the part that is most endangered of being lost and that often is the least visible to the scholarly community,” Graham said. “In response, institutional repositories have emerged as an important trend in higher education. These institutional repositories are designed to promote open access to scholarship, increase the visibility of faculty research and preserve the intellectual product of a university that exists in digital form.”

Graham was named DLG director in 2003 and has significantly increased the scope and holdings since then. The Civil Rights Digital Library (CRDL) is a current major project. It is a significant example of an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional Web-based initiative that brings together librarians; archivists; scholars in English, history, and education; information technologists; Web designers; publishers; K-12 educators; public broadcasters; and others to build a seamless virtual library on the movement.

“The site will feature a collection of historical news film, which we will stream via the Internet in order to help learners be nearly eyewitnesses to key events in the civil rights struggle. The CRDL includes a curricular support component resulting in Web-based learning objects to aid educators. A CRDL portal will bring together digital collections hosted by libraries, archives, museums, public broadcasters and other institutions on a national scale,” Graham said. “This is the kind of effort that places academic libraries squarely at the forefront of creative information technology use in higher education.”

The institute, partially supported by a grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, is sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources, EDUCAUSE, and Emory University, is named in honor of Billy E. Frye, now retired, who has served as the chancellor and provost of Emory University, a member of the board of the Council on Library and Information Resources and a distinguished leader in higher education.