Data-driven library infrastructure: a national perspective

Ben Showers

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Libraries find themselves at the centre of a rapidly changing information landscape. Technology and user expectations are creating an environment where library services and systems no longer exist in isolation; they reach beyond the library into the wider institutional/organisational context as well as the social world of their users. Financial pressures mean a focus on reducing duplication of effort, collaboration and interoperability between systems while ensuring agility to innovate new services and solutions. In the face of such pressures the traditional focus on ‘systems’ is shifting toward the data that underpins so much of the library’s mission. Drawing on examples and case studies from across the UK, including JISC’s Discovery programme, open bibliographic data and Knowledge Base+ projects, the work of the British Library and broader policy interventions, this presentation will describe a data-driven approach to library infrastructure. Such a vision sees the library repositioned at the heart of the metadata ecosystem, providing new ways for libraries, and other memory institutions, to collaborate, share, interoperate and invigorate the information ecosystems within which they play such a vital role.

BEN SHOWERS is a programme manager with the Digital Infrastructure team at JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) working in the Information and Library Infrastructure programme. Ben manages a number of programmes of work, specifically around library innovation and emerging opportunities, including: Library systems, user experience, mobile infrastructure and shared library services. Prior to this Ben worked with the eContent team at JISC, working on a number of digitisation and digital scholarly resource programmes exploring new models of content creation and curation, including crowdsourcing and user generated content. Ben holds an MA in Philosophy and an MA in Library and Information Science from University College London.