On Tuesday, I participated in the IMLS NDP (National Digital Platform) at Three meeting. It was a good day of learning more about NDP and IMLS, and all the amazing projects that IMLS funds.
- here’s the report (https://www.imls.gov/
publications/ndp-three-report) they sent out ahead of time. It gives a great overview of NDP projects.
- The meeting was livestreamed (and saved here – https://youtu.be/hZql7VW0_cs ). Long, but interesting!
- Or just read Jill Hurst-Wall’s great notes from the day. This post provides links to Jill’s notes from each session.
So what happened? The day was divided into 5 panel discussions – smart people sharing what’s happening in these five areas. The panels included:
- Building digital cultural heritage capacities
- Expanding digital cultural heritage capacities
- Opening scholarly communications
- Museums and the NDP
- Going forward – what’s next
During each panel, 3-5 panelists who are doing projects (or know stuff) related to those areas shared their thoughts, then the floor was opened up to questions. The first four panels largely discussed what is in the NDP at Three report linked above, plus added some personal insights.
The last panel focused on what needs to happen next. Panelists focused on ideas like figuring out how to handle what they called “modern manuscript collections” (i.e., collecting and preserving Snapchat conversations, Slack conversations, email archives, etc); helping people navigate personal digital archiving; how to expand the concept of library as platform; and the age old idea of helping our communities see value in libraries.
And a bunch of other ideas.
What were my take aways from the day?
I didn’t know that IMLS NDP funded all this stuff! I’m certainly familiar with many of these projects (or these types of projects). For example, I know libraries working on issues related to data privacy and security, mini hotspots and better broadband access, TV whitespace use, gigabit networks for libraries, training and convening to help create better ideas, big data, open access, repositories, and digitization projects of all types.
But I didn’t really connect IMLS NDP to all of these projects. But it totally is! Good to know.
Also – there are a LOT of institutions doing a lot of great things – but sorta on their own. Yes, they might have a project partner or two. But some of these projects could be made better, and have better sustainability, if they connected more directly with other organizations doing similar work, and maybe even sharing what they do with each other to build something better and bigger than they could on their own.
That’s not really happening – it’s all silos. Which one the one hand makes a lot of sense. After all, theses are all individual institutions creating grants for their individual projects.
On the other hand, this IMLS program is called National Digital Platform – this seems to hint at … well … a National Digital Platform. So … shouldn’t there be more than individual projects taking place? Some of their funding certainly addresses that – DPLA is a recipient, for example. But certainly not all. Not really a criticism – just an observation after the fact.
Otherwise, I learned a TON about what IMLS does for libraries and museums in the digital realm – pretty amazing stuff!
Image from IMLS