End of October 2010, Markus Wust, librarian at the Copyright & Digital Scholarship Center, D. H. Hill Library, Raleigh N.C., was our first GNARP-scholar in Germany. After attending the "International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries 2011 in Berlin", he visited the Center for Retrospective Digitization at the University of Göttingen. Here he talks abut his experience:
As part of my GNARP scholarship, I recently had the opportunity and pleasure to visit the State and University Library (SUB) in Göttingen; I also attended the 2011 Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries Conference in Berlin and the LIBER Workshop on “Preservation Policies and Long-term Collection Management” in Halle. In the course of this trip, I was able to meet with colleagues from Germany and other European and African countries working in areas of interest to me, such as digital publishing, digitization, digital curation, digital library development, and digital humanities.
One of the factors that attracted me to this particular library was the institution’s experience and long involvement with the digitization of print resources and its involvement with various collaborative national and international projects that promote the discovery of and access to these digital derivatives. In 1997, the German Research Foundation (DFG) funded the creation of two digitization centers in Germany, one at the Bavarian State Library in Munich, the other one—the Center for Retrospective Digitization (GDZ)—at the SUB. Since then, the GDZ has not only been working on smaller projects related to the digitization of subject-specific materials from the SUB's historic collections, but has also contributed materials to two DFG-supported projects, VD17 and VD18. These projects aim to generate an exhaustive bibliography of all the books printed in the German-speaking countries during the seventeenth and eighteenth century and to provide access to digitized versions of these titles. An earlier project (VD16) covered the sixteenth century and was originally published in print form; titles are now being digitized retroactively at the Bavarian State Library.
In addition to digitized prints, the SUB also collaborates with national and international partners for the provision of research tools to make these digital resources discoverable. One example is the ZVDD <u>Zentrales Verzeichnis Digitalisierter Drucke or Central Registry of Digitized Prints), which was developed in collaboration with several national partners and is currently hosted by the SUB. It provides a comprehensive research and access tool to prints that were digitized in Germany and contributed by a variety of partners. In addition to its valuable central gateway to these digital resources, another aspect I found interesting about this project was the role played by the DFG. In addition to financial support, it also provides an important part of the project's technical infrastructure in form of the DFG Viewer, a METS-based page turning application that is used as a viewer for all digital derivatives.
Another example of institutional collaboration involving the SUB, albeit on a larger scale, has been the creation of a distributed national library through the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Sammlung Deutscher Drucke , which was founded in 1989. Whereas the United States has had a national library—the Library of Congress—since the early 19th century, it was only in 1912 that the Deutsche Bücherei was founded in Leipzig; its mandate was the collection of all literature published in Germany and all German-lanugage materials published abroad since 1913. While the German National Library as the successor of the Deutsche Bücherei continues to contribute this growing body of literature to the project, the five other participants were assigned collection periods that aligned well with their existing collections; in the case of the SUB, this is the eighteenth century. The project participants strive to fill any remaining gaps in their assigned focus areas and to provide electronic access to these materials. A similar concept has been used in selected German libraries since 1949 to build a national print collection of foreign research publications. The system currently consists 36 state, university and special libraries that were assigned one or more special collection areas (Sondersammelgebiete). Rather than asking a variety of libraries to individually cover all research fields, each participating library attempts to build a comprehensive collection in a small number of areas that can then be shared with other German institutions through interlibrary loan, thus ensuring the availability of at least one copy of every relevant work in any given area. It is noteworthy that this particular model was developed long before the emergence of our current, increasingly digital library environment. However, to my mind, it provided a good platform for institutional collaboration in the creation and dissemination of library collections, be they in print or digital and something that has been duplicated to a certain degree in large-scale American digitization/distribution projects such as the Internet Archive/Open Content Alliance and Hathi Trust.
I would like this opportunity to thank the Goethe Institut, Bibliothek & Information International and the German-North American Resources Partnership (GNARP) for supporting this unique experience, as well as the staff members at the State and University Library in Göttingen for taking the time to share their knowledge and experiences with me; I owe particular thanks to Margo Bargheer (SUB Göttingen) for planning my visit to the SUB.
Wednesday, 30. November 2011
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