Our next interview in the “Get to Know A SIG / Get to Know a Chapter” series is with SIG DL (Digital Libraries), which “provides a forum for discussion about research, development, and use of digital libraries in corporate, academic, and public contexts.” SIG DL is one of the largest of the ASIS&T Special Interest Groups, and one with quite a broad range of interests and activities. SIG DL also won the 2014 SIG of the Year award, as awarded at the recent ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Seattle.
To learn more about SIG DL I interviewed Kevin Comerford, SIG DL chair and Digital Initiatives Librarian at the University of New Mexico, and Virginia (Ginnie) Dressler, incoming SIG DL Communications Officer and Digital Projects Librarian at Kent State University. We talked about SIG DL’s areas of interest, the activities they engage in at ASIS&T Annual Meetings and elsewhere, the benefits of becoming a member and volunteering to help out with the SIG, and their engagement with their members, among other topics of interest. Hopefully this interview allows you to get to know SIG DL better, and perhaps become interested in joining and contributing to their activities and efforts! (The interview has been slightly edited for length and clarity and to reflect additional follow-up conversation with Ginnie that occurred via e-mail after the interview.)
About SIG DL
Adam: How long have each of you been a member of ASIS&T, and how long have each of you been a member of SIG Digital Libraries?
Kevin: I’ve been a member of ASIS&T for two stretches of like seven years each. I go back to the 90s, when I first joined ASIS&T. And I’ve been a member of SIG DL for three years now.
Ginnie: So, I was a member of and started going to ASIS&T in 2008, though I’ve been more involved with the local chapter, the Northern Ohio Chapter. I’ve been part of SIG DL for I think a couple of years, although this year is probably the first year I’m really actively involved.
Adam: So both of you are relatively new, in some ways, to the SIG, in that you’ve only been involved for a couple of years, three years at the most, right? But you’re excited to get involved?
Ginnie: Yes, it seems like a good group, I think.
Kevin: Most definitely. When I first joined ASIS&T, before it became ASIS&T (with the T), there was no SIG DL and there really wasn’t a whole lot of emphasis on digital libraries. And I’ve been pleased to see it develop over the years to where digital librarianship has not only gained a presence at ASIS&T, but has really become one of the more interesting forces in developing where the organization is going and providing services to ASIS&T members.
Adam: So somewhat it’s obvious in the name, that SIG DL focuses on digital libraries, right? But perhaps could you be a bit more specific in the topics that the SIG focuses on, and whether it focuses mostly on research, practice, or a combination of those?
Kevin: SIG DL is very wide-ranging in its scope. We cover everything from digital publishing and scholarly communications to digital asset management and research data management. This includes both interests in technology and tools used for various digital librarianship practices and projects, but also in digital library programming and services that are provided through digital libraries. So, we have a lot of, a wide-ranging membership; we have university professors at iSchools, and we have a lot of practitioners who are in one of the areas that I’ve mentioned. Some of them are in cultural heritage, digitization and publishing online, and some of them are corporate, and then we have some in the motion picture industry, and we have some who are actually research data management specialists.
You know, “digital libraries” covers a multitude of sins [group laughs] and on one hand, internally, you know, nobody really knows what a digital library is, because it can be so many different things to so many different people. And so with the programming that we’ve offered, through our webinar series, and through our sponsorship of the Digital Liaisons events, and so forth, we try to be as varied as our membership, and provide a lot of different programs and areas to help provide the professional development that the members are looking for. Continue reading