TEI 2017 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada November 11 - 15

XML Tues Nov 14, 14:10–15:30

Leveraging Library Special Collections to Teach TEI (poster)

Stephanie Savage* Stephanie Savage is currently the Scholarly Communications and Copyright Librarian at the University of British Columbia. In this position, she helps implement the university’s copyright policy and provides educational support to university affililates. She also champions Open Access initiatives and advocates for the adoption of Open policies at UBC and within the larger academic community. Prior to taking the position at UBC, Stephanie received a Master of Arts in English Literature from Concordia University in 2010 and completed her Master of Library and Information Studies at UBC in 2015 where she also worked in the Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office, learning the fundamentals of copyright librarianship. Stephanie is also interested in Digital Humanities and recently received a scholarship to attend the Digital Humanities Summer Institute.

1Academic libraries are looking for new ways to support and contribute to the research being conducted on their campuses and DH, which tends to be collaborative and interdisciplinary, is an excellent place to search out partnerships. For librarians to be valuable partners they need to develop relevant expertise in standards like TEI. Unfortunately, Early-career academic librarians and students in Masters of Library and Information Studies programs are finding themselves entering increasingly specialized and technology-focused work environments without having obtained the computer and technology skills they will need to succeed. As a result, academic libraries are missing out on emerging opportunities to become active participants in faculty research. In order for student and professional librarians to get the requisite training, academic libraries need to create their own training opportunities. I suggest that one way this can be accomplished is by using library collections, and in particular rare and special collections, to teach TEI to early-career and student librarians.
2Given that academic libraries invest significant resources in their rare and special collections there is a strong desire on behalf of the institution to promote them and make them valuable to researchers. One way that libraries increase the value and visibility of these collections is by digitizing them and making them available online. In addition to providing basic digitized copies of items, libraries should consider creating TEI marked up versions of the items in their unique collections. This would give librarians and student librarians an opportunity to learn TEI and apply it and a useful way while at the same time increase the research value of the materials in the institution’s rare and special collections.
3In order to situate my proposal, I look at one specific special collection held by the University of British Columbia Library which consists of a series of over 200 letters written by Florence Nightingale. These letters provide an opportunity to teach TEI fundamentals - informed by Best Practices for TEI in Libraries – and apply them to actual documents. UBC is also a perfect testing ground for such work as it already has an established and robust digitization centre that employs several librarians and student librarians obtaining their Masters degree at UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies. TEI markup could be worked in to the digitization workflows that the centre already employs, thereby situating the work within the broader library services being provided such as digital preservation and metadata and transcription creation.
4The benefits of running a TEI training program from within the library and geared towards librarians are clear. Not only do librarians obtain TEI training and practical experience, the library increases the value of its collections and gets an opportunity to demonstrate its value to researchers. Ideally, library run TEI initiatives would serve as an entry point into more collaborative relationships with faculty members, who may wish to see specific collections marked up, or who may be looking for TEI experience that they don’t have.