Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00004150/00001
 Material Information
Title: Managing an Open Access, Multi-Institutional, International Digital Library: the Digital Library of the Caribbean
Series Title: Resource Sharing & Information Networks, Volume 20, Issue 1-2
Physical Description: Journal article, pages 35-44
Language: English
Creator: Wooldridge, Brooke
Taylor, Laurie N.
Sullivan, Mark V.
Publisher: Resource Sharing & Information Networks
Publication Date: 2009
Subjects / Keywords: Digital Library of the Caribbean
Cooperative digitization projects
collaborative partnerships
information technology
worldwide digital libraries
cultural heritage
Spatial Coverage:
Abstract: Developing an Open Access, multi-institutional, multilingual, international digital library requires robust technological and institutional infrastructures that support both the needs of individual institutions alongside the needs ofthe growing partnership and ensure continuous communication and development of the shared vision for the digital library as a whole. This article explains the methods and factors that have led to the Digital Library of the Caribbean's ( dLOC ) success in building the necessary infrastructure, following the initial planning to the current stage of development, along with how challenges were met and the challenges that remain.
General Note: This is an electronic version of an article published in Research Sharing & Information Networks, Volume 20, Issue 1-2, 2009, "Managing an Open Access, Multi-Institutional, International Digital Library: The Digital Library of the Caribbean" by Brooke Wooldridge, Laurie Taylor, and Mark Sullivan, pages 35-44, available online: 19 Oct 2009, DOI: 10.1080/07377790903014534. Research Sharing & Information Networks is available online at: www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07377790903014534
General Note: This publication provides documentation and academic discussion that is closely related to many presentations by the authors and others on dLOC.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: FIU: Digital LIbrary of the Caribbean
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution.
System ID: AA00004150:00001

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Managing an Open Access, Multi-Institutional,
International Digital Library: The Digital
Library of the Caribbean

Florida International University, FL, USA
University of Florida, FL, USA

ABSTRACT. Developing an Open Access, multi-institutional, mul-
tilingual, international digital library requires robust technologi-
cal and institutional infrastructures that support both the needs of
individual institutions alongside the needs of the growing partner-
ship and ensure continuous communication and development of
the shared vision for the digital .,i.. i,-y as a whole. This article ex-
plains the methods and factors that have led to the Digital Library
of the Caribbean's success in i..'-. .l i., the necessary infrastruc-
ture, following the initial planning to the current stage of develop-
ment, along with how challenges were met and the challenges that

KEYWORDS Cooperative digitization projects, collaborative part-
nerships, worldwide digital libraries, cultural heritage projects,
preservation, archiving, digital, collaboration, cooperation, library,
university, college, archive, museum, information technology


The Digital Iii'.1 'y of the Caribbean (dLOC) is a cooperative digital li n ,ry
that provides centralized access to digital collections that otherwise may
exist in isolation. Bringing together collections from the diverse countries
that comprise the Caribbean, dLOC provides researchers with greater access
to resources that are physically dispersed throughout the Caribbean and the
world. Supported by partner institutions with additional funding from the

Address correspondence to Brooke Wooldridge, Florida International University, Green
Library, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199. E-mail: Brooke.Wooldridge@fiu.edu

B. Wooldridge et al.

Department of Education's Technological Innovation and Cooperation for
Foreign Information Access (TICFIA) Program, dLOC currently hosts over
675,000 images representing content submitted by nine Caribbean countries.
Universities, national lii 1 ! .- .. national archives and private collections
partner with dLOC to gain access to equipment, training and the online in-
frastructure to ensure that endangered research materials from the Caribbean
are preserved and ._..-_....- to current and future researchers and educators.
To remove barriers to possible contribution, dLOC promotes the open shar-
ing of materials without the loss of ownership, copyright, or rights related
to cultural heritage materials. All materials contributed are il idi lki i.. in dLOC
as open access resources and partners retain full ill ii for all materials
contributed and all rights to the contributed materials.
In addition, dLOC works with scholars and K-12 educators to incorpo-
rate these materials into research and t. . i.- 1,in providing greater context
for contributed resources and further promoting new teaching and research
based on the unique resources found in dLOC. By providing the infrastruc-
ture for diverse institutions in the Caribbean and worldwide to digitally pre-
serve and offer online access to resources from and about the C il '.... ii and
circum-C ili..'.. in, dLOC is contributing to the advancement of Caribbean
Studies and the related disciplines.
This article will explore the how the Digital I ii,'-y of the Caribbean
has grown from a pilot project with five members to a thriving partnership
of many distinct institutions that benefit from shared technologies and col-
laboration. It will also address some of the stru-4.41l.-, that the project has
encountered and how, as a group, the dLOC partners have chosen to ad-
dress them. In a follow-up article, we will address the partnership from the
perspective of a sample of the member institutions and discuss the tactics
for the future su-.i uiini i 'il of the collaboration.


In 2002, the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), the University of Florida
(UF) and Florida International University (FIU) entered into an agreement
to collaborate in building a United States Virgin Islands History and Culture
digital lii' iiy collection.' It was through this successful partnership that
the idea for dLOC was born. The representatives from UVI, using a grant
from the Institute of Museum and I.i, iiiy Sciences, developed the model
for local collaboration to select resources appropriate for digitization. The
Digital Ii'1 iiy Center at UF provided the technical expertise necessary to
advise the development the digital collection. The partners developed a
model in which the cultural and national patrimony would be united online,
but the items and the rights would remain with the contributing partner.
This model established in the US Virgin Islands project demonstrated the

Managing an Open Access Digital Library

potential for greater collaboration at the regional level, and it was with this
collaboration that the idea for the Digital Iii,! i y of the Caribbean emerged.
The success of most projects is incumbent upon adequate human and
financial capital. The collaborators from the aforementioned project demon-
strated the necessary human capital. The Technological Innovation and Co-
operation for Foreign Information Access (TICFIA) program provided an
opportunity to raise the necessary financial support. TICFIA supports "inno-
vative techniques or programs using new electronic technologies to collect,
organize, preserve, and widely disseminate information on world regions
and countries other than the United States that address our Nation's teaching
and research needs in international education and foreign languages."2 Since
its inception in 1999, the program has funded more than twenty distinct
projects focusing on diverse world regions including Latin America and the
Caribbean, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
With this funding opportunity in mind, the original dLOC project direc-
tors presented the model of a joint digital l!i ,' ,y to a group of lii , ,1! in-, and
archivists at the 2004 Annual Conference of the Association of Caribbean Uni-
versity Research and Institutional I ii ,! .-_-. (ACURIL). Representatives from
interested institutions met later that year at the University of Puerto Rico,
Rio Piedras, to establish the framework for collaboration. TICFIA awarded
the Florida International University's Latin American and C i'i.... ii' Center,
in collaboration with the Center for Latin American Studies and the Digital
I li I ,)y Center at the University of Florida, the University of the Virgin Islands
and the University of Central Florida a four-year grant in the fall of 2005 to
develop the technical infrastructure and to build capacity in the Caribbean
to digitize and make n ,i ,i i.- C l .. .. ini resources to students, scholars and
citizens. The federal funds and university cost share provided the project
with the support necessary to develop the technical infrastructure, local ca-
pacity for on-site digitization for the initial five foreign project partners3 and
outreach funds to promote the freely i...._..- .-.iiI..- collections for teaching and
The development of digital collections requires equipment, knowledge
and technical infrastructure. Many lii mi ...-, and archives cannot allocate the
necessary resources to build and host their own digital collections from
scratch, and this is also the case for many C 'II.... ii' hiim li'.-.- and archives.
dLOC offered the basic equipment, t! liiniiini. and the technical infrastructure
needed for its partners to embark on the journey towards digital preserva-
tion and access for their resources. In the dLOC model, the partners retain
ownership of their collections while sharing the content online in exchange
for the technology required to provide digital preservation and access. Rep-
resentatives from each partner institution guide the development of both
their digital collections and the future of dLOC as a whole. The University
of Florida's Digital I ii, !i - Center provides software to facilitate the digitiza-
tion process (including metadata creation and the submission of electronic

B. Wooldridge et al.

files), long-term digital preservation of archival files and online delivery via
a digital lhi ,i y- infrastructure. Generally, the mission of dLOC is to:

* Serve as gateway to existing digital resources from and about the Caribbean
* Ensure digital preservation of resources
* Generate new digital content for scholars and students
* Increase access to rare or at-risk Caribbean materials
* Build capacity for digitization in the Caribbean
* Implement technical infrastructure and a support network to assist digital
* Form partnerships with Caribbean institutions and digital lii ,i y initiatives

The model has proven so successful that the project has incorporated six
new partners4 with content online and additional partners that are building
collections from both the Caribbean and the United States.


The key foundation for the current success of this project was laid during the
initial planning r'......lii'4 the subsequent development of the grant proposal
and the later adoption of the by-laws. The organizational structure defined
in the by-laws, the project's four-year work plan and clear evaluation tools
have facilitated the project's continued success despite significant changes in
leadership.5 Even with changes in the project's principal investigator, one of
the project's co-directors, the coordinator and the technical director, dLOC
is on target to meet the majority of its original goals. The strength of the
initial planning documents has facilitated our continued achievement of the
project's goals.
The by-laws clearly define the structure and the roles of two governing
bodies for the organization. The institutional partners who are contributing
content are represented on the Executive Committee which is the group re-
sponsible for policy ri 1 iki-, planning and fundraising efforts. The Executive
Committee also oversees the project director and appoints a seven-member
Advisory Board charged with providing collection development and addi-
tional guidance for the project. The Executive Committee meets annually at
the Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional I i'! 11'.- -.
(ACURIL) conference to determine major policy issues. It also meets pe-
riodically through phone conferences to address on-going concerns. The
participation of dLOC members in the leadership of the collaboration en-
courages practical planning and effective follow-through on the part of the
project's members. Similarly, the Advisory Board meets annually and pro-
vides advice for the development of the project. The members of this board
also work with the project coordinator on specific projects in their content

Managing an Open Access Digital Library

areas during the year. The by-laws stipulate two-year staggered terms which
ensure continuity while providing for a consistent stream of new ideas and
new areas of expertise on the board. These institutional structures, outlined
and nurtured from the beginning of the collaboration, have sustained the
project through its first four years.


While the institutional structures are vital for success, an even more im-
portant contributing factor in dLOC's success is the personal commitment
by the people involved in the project. Building upon longstanding relation-
ships established through the Association of Caribbean University, Research
and Institutional I ii i, i'..-, (ACURIL) and a long history of cooperative col-
lection development and cooperative preservation activities, the institutional
representatives of the partner institutions demonstrate a level of trust and
commitment that carries dLOC forward. The partners from the US institu-
tions that participate in the project value the collaboration and provide time,
energy and resources. The local operations teams are committed to preserv-
ing their institutional collections and making them more widely .i i il..- to
the public. In addition, the grant funding has allowed the project team to
travel to the member institutions to provide instruction, troubleshoot tech-
nical issues, and develop personal relationships and an understanding of
the challenges in each location that may affect participation. Without the
commitment and support of both the leadership and operational staff of the
member institutions, dLOC would not exist.
The work required to develop dLOC includes staff from all areas within
each of the partner institutions. The collection development and technical
teams at the partner institutions dedicate the hours necessary to review their
physical collections, select appropriate materials to build their digital col-
lections, negotiate for copyright clearance, develop the necessary metadata,
prepare materials for digitization, digitize materials and submit the digital
resources. The technical representatives provide vital feedback on the digi-
tization software throughout this process. This feedback aids the dLOC pro-
grammer in tailoring the digitization software and internal systems at the UF
Digital I i ,i ;- Center to best serve the needs of each partner institution. The
majority of this work, which is crucial to making dLOC succeed, requires
significant internal and external collaboration.
dLOC's technical team at the University of Florida continues to research
and improve both the workflow for our partners and the user experience
for the online interface. The dLOC programmer at UF participates in the
majority of the training visits to project partners where he trains the partners
how to use the metadata creation and tracking software and receives valuable
feedback. In addition to numerous development requests from colleagues,

B. Wooldridge et al.

partners and users, UF has conducted a number of formal u-. i ,iliy tests for
the project that have facilitated continued improvements to the dLOC site.
Ochoa and Sullivan have a forthcoming article on user-centered technology
for digitization projects that explains the user-centered process,6 a process
which has informed the design of both the digitization tools and the dLOC
site. The dedication and desire of the technical team to constantly refine
existing technologies and to continue to evolve those technologies for new
solutions has greatly contributed to dLOC's success.
In addition to the commitment from staff directly related to the part-
ner collections and to the digitization process, the member institutions have
benefited from strong administrative and institutional support. The Deans,
Directors and other administrators of the member institutions have under-
stood the problem of limited resources, the vital need for a collaborative
solution, and the opportunity presented in dLOC to maximize existing re-
sources. Administrators encouraged the original five partners to embrace the
risk and opportunity presented in the idea of a collaborative digital li ' i y-.


dLOC now provides access to over 6,000 titles and 675,000 images of
C ( ',i.... ii' content. Representatives promote dLOC as a digital lii' 'r3- re-
source and as a tool for ongoing digitization at various academic confer-
ences such as the C (il'.. ii'n Studies Association and the Association of
C 11 i.... ii' University, Research and Institutional Iii !ii!.--. (ACURIL). Statis-
tics show a significant spike in traffic to the digital lii i 1y- immediately after
the conferences. Additional outreach and promotion include teaching train-
ing workshops in Miami-Dade County, a lesson plan competition for K-12
classrooms, and a scholarly lecture series highlighting research of content
in dLOC. Since the initial launch in 2006, the project has grown from a few
thousand hits per month to almost 50,000 hits per month. New users can
easily find dLOC content through regular web searches using commercial
search engines because the metadata and full text for all items are i ni ,il.-.
to search engines. dLOC, like many digital lihi 11..._-., has dynamic web ad-
dresses built when users access materials within its digital lihi 1 y- system;
however, the dLOC programmer designed static citation and text pages of
all content to ensure and optimize search engine access. Other users find
dLOC through direct links provided by lihi mii'.--, and archives that highlight
C i 'i.... ii' digital content, through many other sites as dLOC's rich content
is found by others and linked from blogs and Wikipedia pages, and through
the RSS feeds i i 1.i..- for new items for all of dLOC and RSS feeds for
new items from each partner institution. As both the content in dLOC and
awareness of the project continue to grow, dLOC continues to attract new
users and members.

Managing an Open Access Digital Library

The pilot project with five Caribbean partners established the technical
and organizational framework for a sustainable model for regional digital
collaboration and growth. During the initial grant period, we have also been
very successful attracting new members. By joining dLOC, members receive
digitization training and trouble-shooting support; digitization tools within
the dLOC Toolkit which include metadata creation, tracking software, elec-
tronic submission and archiving tools; and have their materials hosted and
......-.--...-. on dLOC with its robust infrastructure which supports full-text
-.... 1i.1in-4 multiple file formats with downloadable content and page image
views with zoom (. ip ililly. The digital li n' ,y- hosting includes both part-
ner pages within the dLOC webpage as well as customized interfaces for the
partner's website.' The customized holding and interface pages are to ensure
that all partners receive i i , i',, and credit for materials submitted and to
ensure that materials submitted by each institution can easily be searched
individually. This customization allows partners to benefit individually and
collectively from participation, showcasing the value of dLOC's leveraging
of digital technologies in terms of modularity, discrete representation, and
1,- 41,1.- 11 i. ,1) Finally, new partners also receive back-up archiving through
the collaboration with the University of Florida Digital I ii,! ,y Center and
the statewide Florida Digital Archive.8
dLOC continues to grow as a successful and well-regarded digital li-
brary, and word of mouth among lii i, ... -, and archives generates significant
interest. The dLOC Project Coordinator contacts potential members who are
already interested and those who have yet to learn about dLOC, a process
that has resulted in many new partners. For new partners to join dLOC, the
interested institutions submit an application and that application is reviewed
by the dLOC Executive Board. In order to join, institutions must meet the
following criteria:

1. Willingness to contribute collections and to make these freely n ,.i ii id.. to
the project.
2. AN 111 ii ,iliy- of appropriate collections with Caribbean content.
3. Willingness to comply with common standards.
4. Willingness to designate a representative to manage local participation.

The requirements to join dLOC are minimal, to limit barriers for new part-
ner institutions. Like dLOC's technological infrastructure, which is designed
to ensure that all partners benefit individually and collectively, dLOC itself
benefits from more contributing partners so any nonessential restrictions on
membership would hinder dLOC's growth and development.
The list below includes all project partners that are currently contributing
content online. The new members come from diverse countries, linguistic

B. Wooldridge et al.

groups, and types of institutions and with varying levels of experience with

* National Archives of Haiti
* National I ',! !y of Aruba*
* CARICOM, Guyana
* The College of The Bahamas*
* Florida International University
* La Fundaci6n Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE)
* National Ii'!1 'ay of Jamaica
* Belize National Ii i ! ,y Service and Information System*
* Pontificia Universidad Cat61lica Madre y Maestra*
* Universidad de Oriente, Venezuela
* University of Central Florida
* University of Florida
* University of South Florida*
* University of the Virgin Islands
* Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network*

*New Members

Growth always implies change, and dLOC now has to balance the desire for
new content and growth with our li ,ii y to support that growth. dLOC must
support its current project partners while incorporating the new partners.
This will bring changes in the governing structure and current operating
structure. These questions about dLOC's future are currently being addressed
by the group, and will be discussed in further detail in the follow-up article
in the next issue of this journal. It is the dedication and flexibility of all dLOC
members that has enabled the project to be a success; these same traits will
help the group to determine the next steps.


It took time to establish the infrastructure and develop a critical mass of re-
sources, and in the beginning there was not enough content to build topical
collections. The majority of our partners contributed content focusing on a
specific theme of their ch-.... -i and the partner collection was a useful di-
vision of the content for the user. As the content grows, significant thematic
and geographic collections are now emerging. Some obvious thematic col-
lections include historical photographs, cultural history, travel and tourism,
biology and environmental conservation, literature, agriculture, legal docu-
ments, slavery and resistance, government documents, university archives,
maps and newspapers. Finding aids and additional contextual materials are

Managing an Open Access Digital Library

necessary for the most effective use of the materials in dLOC for teaching
and research. dLOC is developing strategies that will address these needs
in the most useful manner to meet ut-. i ,iliy and technological needs and to
best enable additional growth and extension in the future.
Project partners and advisors are also developing strategies to address
the needs of the growing number of institutional partners for training and
additional resource preservation. While personal on-site training is ideal,
both time and resources limit the number of training dLOC can present per
year. dLOC is training existing partners to conduct digitization workshops,
providing workshops for multiple partners at the ACURIL conference and
developing online training videos. The video training will be ,i. n i i..- online
or by mailed DVD. By moving the existing dLOC training to a series of video
tutorials, basic training will be ,i i ,ii 11..- on demand, and onsite dLOC training
will then serve as the secondary level of training for advanced digitization
concerns. With advanced training likely to be in demand from many existing
and new partners, more onsite training partners are also being added, and
the University of Central Florida has already begun sending trainers for new
dLOC partners. Other partners are developing projects that combine training
with resource collection and preservation. For instance, the University of
South Florida has developed guides and training materials for conducting oral
histories. Using those materials, the University of South Florida is developing
an oral history project, "C 11 l .... iin I l 1i i ,in-, in the 21st Century: An ACURIL
Oral History Project," that will support training for conducting oral histories
alongside the collection of oral histories.


Developing an open access, multi-institutional, multilingual, international
digital li ,i riy requires robust technological and institutional infrastructures
that support the needs of individual institutions alongside the collaborative
and ensure continuous communication and development of the shared vision
for the digital lii ' ,ry as a whole.
The Digital I l1,! ry of the C iiii.... ii' (dLOC) first found success with
the pilot project of five C (i i.... in1 members. dLOC has continued to grow
into a thriving international, multilingual, multi-institutional partnership that
is cooperatively enhancing and expanding dLOC as an open access digital
lii , iiry. Factors contributing to dLOC's success include an established history
of trust and cooperation among partner institutions, institutional support
from both staff and administration, a strong technological core that allows
all materials to benefit individual institutions and the ,'--, ..' , l- group of
partners, and the planning documents that established strong governance for
cooperative development.

B. Wooldridge et al.


1. http://webpac.uvi.edu/imls/project2002/2000.shtml
2. www.ed.gov/print/i 1 I i , I - I,. , c601.html
3. The nine: ,-,- I,, - institutions for dLOC: CARICOM Community Secretariat, Florida International
University, Fundacion Global de Desarollo y Democracia, National Library of Jamaica, University of
Central Florida, Universidad de Oriente (Venezuela), University of Florida, University of the Virgin Islands,
National Archives in Haiti.
4. National Library of Aruba, Caribbean Studies Association, The ( II of The Bahamas, Belize
National Library Service, Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra, University of South Florida,
Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network. All members that have contributed content are listed
on the dLOC Partner page: http://www.dloc.com/?m=hbbpart.
5. The governance information is available online at http://www.dloc.com/?c=dloc&m=hitbylaw.
6. Ochoa, Marilyn and Mark Sullivan. i .... ,I Library of the Caribbean: a user-centric model for
technology development in collaborative ,li. ii1, , projects." Invited paper to a Special Issue, OCLC
Systems & Services: International Digital Library Perspectives: in press.
7. Partner pages include customized pages that show all materials contributed by the holding
institution and the customized interfaces show those materials within an interface which has been
customized to match the partner's website. For instance, see The ( II- of The Bahamas holding
page: http://dloc.com/?h=cobn and the holding page with the customized interface: http://dloc.com/?h=
8. For more on the Florida Digital Archive, see: http://ww' i I li.i I .1 i 'I