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Columbia’s Multidisciplinary Digital Centers:. Mary Giunta Columbia University Libraries ASERL Annual Meeting November 19, 2008. Information Commons at Columbia University Libraries. University Librarian’s vision - information commons for: Social Sciences History & Humanities

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Columbia s multidisciplinary digital centers

Columbia’s Multidisciplinary Digital Centers:

Mary Giunta

Columbia University Libraries

ASERL Annual Meeting

November 19, 2008

Information commons at columbia university libraries
Information Commons at Columbia University Libraries

  • University Librarian’s vision - information commons for:

    • Social Sciences

    • History & Humanities

    • Sciences & Engineering

Why three digital centers
Why Three Digital Centers?

  • CU Libraries organization

  • Library expertise

  • Space

  • Existing services, such as

    • Electronic Data Service

    • Electronic Text Service

  • More fully incorporate reference / research services

Lehman social sciences library
Lehman Social Sciences Library

  • Collection supports:

    • Anthropology, political science, sociology, international and public affairs, environmental policy, journalism, political geography

  • US Government documents

  • Map collection

  • Electronic Data Service

Lehman social sciences library1
Lehman Social Sciences Library

  • Renovation – planning begun in 2006

  • Summer 2007 two rooms renovated

    • Quiet study w/ laptops

    • Group Study

  • Summer 2008 – Digital Social Science Center

Digital social sciences center
Digital Social Sciences Center

  • Lehman Social Sciences Library

  • Expand from existing services:

    • Electronic Data Service

    • Lehman reference service

  • Support advanced research in the social sciences

  • Serve graduate students, upper level undergraduates and faculty

Electronic data service
Electronic Data Service

  • Joint venture between the Libraries and Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT)

  • Established in 1992

  • EDS model for DSSC

    • Staffing / service

    • Equipment

    • Software

Electronic data service1
Electronic Data Service

  • Supports instruction and research that involve numeric and geo-spatial data resources.

  • Staff provide support in the use of data with statistical and GIS applications

  • Service staffed by Libraries and CUIT

  • High-end computers for processing large data sets

  • Equipment supplied and maintained by CUIT


  • East Reading Room over 5000 square feet

  • CUIT lab in this space already

  • Electronic Data Service directly below with a connecting staircase

  • Reference offices adjacent

  • Good lighting

Project plan
Project Plan

  • Program team assembled

  • Included various stakeholders

    • Libraries

    • CUIT

  • Finalize physical, equipment & staffing designs


  • Student survey

  • Focus groups

  • Faculty interviews

  • Lehman reference staff discussion

Assessment what we learned
Assessment: what we learned

  • More group study space

  • Scanning & printing are important

  • Presentation practice space

  • Quantitative data analysis software

  • Bibliographic software

Assessment what we learned1
Assessment: what we learned

  • Need to market our services better

  • Students go to peers and faculty for research & technology help before librarians

  • Faculty not expecting students to use very sophisticated technology for assignments

Assessment how we applied results
Assessment: how we applied results

  • Added presentation practice rooms

  • Added more scanners

  • Moved color printer into CUIT / DSSC space

  • Decided to place the information / reference desk in the consultation room

  • LCD panels with group study tables in DSSC

  • Developing marketing strategies

Dssc objectives
DSSC Objectives

  • Flexible workspaces, furnishings, diverse software, and high-end equipment to support collaborative group study and research in the Social Sciences

  • Visible and easy access to professional staff who can assist users with research and technical support questions

  • Space, equipment, and software to support presentation practice

  • Integrate DSSC into the services and equipment now offered by Electronic Data Service and CUIT lab.


  • Renovation

    • Construction

    • Furniture

  • Equipment

  • Staff


  • Moved to offsite storage

    • Government documents

    • Microfilm collection

  • Refurbished space

Columbia s multidisciplinary digital centers

  • 22 Spatial/Numeric Data Stations

  • 4 Scanners

  • 4 Video Editing Stations (CUIT lab)

Columbia s multidisciplinary digital centers

  • Collaborative Design

  • Multiple chairs per desk

  • Convenient electrical access

  • Convenient network access

Presentation practice rooms
Presentation Practice Rooms

  • Created two rooms

  • Equipped one to start

  • Student feedback

Consultation room
Consultation Room

  • Converted office space into a consultation room

  • Opened up with a glass wall

Consultation room1
Consultation room

  • Staffed

    • Monday-Thursday 11am-6pm

    • Friday 11am-5pm

  • Support staff

    • Provide basic information assistance

    • Walkie-talkie to call librarian

  • Librarians

Services staffing
Services & Staffing

  • Building on EDS model of service

    • Incorporating reference services

    • Staff visible

    • Staff with different expertise available

      • Librarians

      • CUIT staff

      • Library support staff

      • Graduate students

  • Reassigning and retraining staff

Dssc eds cuit lab

  • DSSC, EDS and the CUIT lab seamless service

  • EDS will continue to be the starting place for in depth assistance for numeric and geo-spatial data use

  • Experienced users can move into DSSC

  • EDS will also serve as our sandbox for testing new technology and applications

  • As new technology becomes integrated into our services will move into DSSC

Dssc program
DSSC Program

  • Reference /Research Services

  • Consultations

  • Training & Workshops

  • DSSC Webpage

  • Marketing Services

  • Ongoing assessment

Digital humanities center dhc
Digital Humanities Center (DHC)

  • Butler Library

  • Expand from existing services:

    • Electronic Text Service

    • Butler Media Center

  • Support advanced research in history & humanities

  • Serve graduate students, upper level undergraduates and faculty

Columbia s multidisciplinary digital centers

  • Primary support for digital formats:

    • Text

    • Still image

    • Moving image

    • Sound

  • Secondary support for:

    • Numeric & spatial data

Columbia s multidisciplinary digital centers

  • Closer integration of content and technology

  • Single service point for DHC technical support and H&H reference service

  • Coordinate with subject librarians from Music, Area Studies, RBML, Avery & Starr East Asian

  • Collaboration with CCNMTL and CDRS

  • Writing Center consultants

Dhc planning
DHC Planning

  • Assessment

  • Detailed estimate of equipment costs

  • Series of talks to highlight types of work users of DHC might expect to do

  • Discussions with Film Division

  • Identify & implement elements that can currently be introduced at the ETS

Digital science center
Digital Science Center

  • New interdisciplinary science building under construction.

  • Opening Fall 2010

  • Will include a consolidated science library with the Digital Science Center

Consolidated science library
Consolidated Science Library

  • Consolidating collections & services for:

    • Biology

    • Chemistry

    • Physics & Astronomy

    • Psychology

  • Small paper collection will remain onsite

    • Classics in the fields

    • Greatly reduced print reference collections from 4 libraries

    • Select core journals (current)

  • Everything else to be moved to offsite storage

Digital science center1
Digital Science Center

  • Central service point for science research

  • More interdisciplinary approach

  • Closer integration of content and technology

  • Need to better promote electronic resources

  • Develop instruction program


  • Combining reference services with support for various technologies and applications

  • Bringing specialists together to a combined service point.

  • Target users:

    • graduate students and upper level undergraduates

    • Groups or individuals requiring assistance from subject & technology specialists


  • Coordinating group to plan more fully integrated services across the three digital centers.

  • Strengthen individual components by having a common outlook.

  • Flexibility among

    • services: various roles / expertise

    • space configurations

  • Shared idea of service