Monday, November 19, 2007

Preparing for Next Generation Digital

Digital is everywhere. It is in your ear bud, on your high definition screen. It buzzes through academia, transforming it on demand. Librarians, archivists, and other information professionals are virtually immersed in meeting the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital environment.

Although perhaps arguably, we could say that we have met the challenges of the first digital generation and can claim some successes. But that first generation is graying already. A new front is already forming. Next Generation Digital is coming fast.

The Ball State University Libraries have been proactive in facing the current generation of digital developments. Some of the University Libraries’ digital initiatives in this generation include:
· Development of more than 60,000 diverse digital assets for learning, teaching, and research in the Digital Media Repository
· Centralized access to digital resources through the Digital Commons
· Continuing development of Ball State University’s Cardinal Scholar, a project of the University Libraries, as part of the University’s research and publishing distribution strategies
· Developing and hosting highly attended and successful conferences and workshops on digital issues for information professionals
· Participating in professional conferences, presenting papers, and publishing articles to share and promote the Ball State University Libraries’ digital programs
· Providing an organizational structure and development of units and personnel to meet the developmental needs of a digital initiatives program

As we face the Next Generation Digital, the University Libraries’ digital initiatives are expected to grow and adapt to the changing environment. Already work has begun on exploration of a University Libraries’ presence in the virtual world of Second Life. Advances continue to be made in developing strategies for providing digital information and resources through new delivery devices. Discussions of digital scholarship, digital teaching, and digital learning are underway as Ball State’s Institutional Repository prepares to premiere in early December 2007 and as Ball State’s librarians contribute to new publications in this area. There is more to discuss and more to do in many areas.

For more information, contact John B. Straw, Ball State University Libraries’ Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections,, 765-285-5078.

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