Introduction and Context
The Claremont University Consortium (CUC) provides library services to seven undergraduate and graduate liberal arts colleges. In 2003, the CUC sought to establish a digital library as a means of supporting growing needs for digitized collections. The creation of the digital library, christened the Claremont Colleges Digital Library (CCDL), is examined using the SMART framework within this report.
As the CUC library services division serves multiple institutions, and does not “belong to any single college,” different problems arise and decision criteria must be weighed appropriately for each (Crane 3). In 2003, the CUC Library was “neither organizationally nor fiscally prepared… to embark on a full-fledged digital library program that addresses all the needs of the Libraries as well as The Claremont Colleges” (Clemens, et. al. 1). Relative comparisons needed to be made: Which college’s special collections would be given precedence? Which software or service deemed more pressing to acquire?
Critique and Implications
Below, a selection of the CCDL’s strategic planning document, CCDL strategic planning fiscal year 2006-2007, is adapted against the SMART framework:
Goal: “maximize patron use of ContentDM’s features” (a digital collection management software) and provide training to faculty to do assist in this; additionally provided is the staff goal, “Allegra will provide training sessions on Friday August 25 and Wednesday August 30. Allegra will provide another two training sessions for reference staff in the spring” (The Claremont Colleges Digital Library, 2006).
· Specific? No.
o It could be made specific by following the example set by Allegra’s personal goal. For example: train 30 professors and 300 students to use features x, y, and z in ContentDM
· Measurable? No – there is no way to measure the maximization of the software.
o Alternative: gauge patron use of each feature (x, y, z) and see if 80% of patrons could use the features without assistance once trained.
· Attainable? Likely no – maximization requires absolute use (100% of patrons using ContentDM’s features)
o As with Measurable, a percentage of patron use would make this goal more attainable.
· Realistic? No – due to the CCDL’s already limited resources, and the unlikeliness of 100% patron use.
· Timely? No –introducing and training patrons on ContentDM for maximum efficacy in a single fiscal year is not practical.
Although the ContentDM goal falls short within the SMART framework, other goals laid out by the CCDL are suitable. Consider:
Goal: “Create Best Practices for Encoding Audio/Video” (The Claremont Colleges Digital Library, 2006).
· Specific? Yes. A best practices policy once established would guide future members of the CCDL in encoding Audio/Video documents and explain why the particular practices were selected.
· Measurable? Yes. The policy is established or not; at the end of the fiscal year, this policy would be publicly available.
· Attainable? Yes. Establishing a policy within a fiscal year is reasonable.
o Within the Strategic Plan the CCDL states that they have “installed an Apple Streaming Server” and that the “Digital Library Cataloger is attending a workshop for applying audio/video metadata,” so steps were taken to make this goal attainable (The Claremont Colleges Digital Library, 2006).
· Realistic? Yes. Best practices with regards to documents of any kind are standard components of Library Science institutions; so the CCDL can realistically be expected to produce them.
· Timely? Yes. There is sufficient time to establish and review the policy, as well as a need within the organization for the policy to be established. As more audio/video documents are acquired, this policy will be paramount.
Although the policy itself once created will be specific and succinct; the CCDL will have to weigh many resources and research to determine the encoding process. Thus, this goal serves the strategic objective of establishing the digital library, is challenging, and provides “a target for which to aim” as well as a specific measure of success (Williams 91).
The CCDL’s goals, particularly those that fulfill the SMART requirements, provide a clear picture of the type of digital library the CCDL becomes. There is a focus on collaborating across institutions and expanding access of electronic resources; these goals directly addresses a balance of service to all seven colleges in the system.
Conclusion and recommendation
Although not every goal laid out in the CCDL strategic planning fiscal year 2006-2007 meets the criteria set out by the SMART framework, the document proposes a series of proximal goals related to training patrons, and creating document policies; which in turn, serve the distal goal of establishing the digital library. The document is especially successful in establishing goals related to policy in acquisitions; having a general course of action predetermined for a variety of digital acquisitions is a key factor to success in the case of a digital library.
In order to improve their success with patron related goals, I recommend that the CCDL focus less on maximizing use of any one software, and instead establish goals focusing on satisficing use of the software. Although not every patron will make maximum use of ContentDM’s advanced search functions, the CCDL should strive for patrons to make keyword searches and use some advanced features successfully 80% of the time. Setting more realistic goals with regard to patron use will allow members of the CCDL to maintain goal commitment because the goal will be genuinely attainable.
Claremont Colleges Digital Library. (2006) CCDL strategic planning fiscal year 2006-2007. Retrieved from http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/adl/id/30/rec/4
Clemens, B., Emery, M., Bachli, K., Marsh, C., Moss, M., & Trainor, C. (2003) Developing the Claremont Colleges Digital Library. Retrieved from http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/adl/id/16/rec/22
Crane, L. The Claremont College Digital Library: A model for digital projects [PDF document]. Retrieved from http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/adl/id/53
Williams, C. "MGMT8: Principles of Management." Engage Learning. 2015.