Digital infrastructure: Information and library infrastructure programme
Libraries and information providers have always been at the centre of JISC’s mission. Over the years, our work has helped create what might be termed a distributed digital library for UK higher education, consisting of a great wealth of easily discoverable digital content and the support tools and services needed to deliver academic resources to end users.
However, we now need to adopt a different, more holistic, approach if we are to help libraries keep up with the rapidly changing information ecosystem. We have concluded that this can be best achieved by focusing on the data that underpin core library systems, rather than the systems themselves.
A focus on data
Library catalogues, electronic resource management systems and institutional repositories all have bibliographic data at their heart, re-purposed for their particular requirements.
Adopting a data centric approach has a number of advantages:
- A more sustainable and feasible approach to system interoperability: data can be repurposed for different systems (a particular advantage when data are likely to outlive the systems they inhabit).
- A more vibrant and lively information ecosystem: new and innovative third party applications and tools can be built on top of data;
- Reduce duplication of effort: shared and community services will help create enriched and better quality metadata.
This new emphasis on data has been informed by wider developments, for example, the open bibliographic data (obd) movement within the UK and internationally, as well as work by organisations including the British Library on open and linked data. The potential of data is also being realised beyond education and research, for example the government’s policy of opening up data and the EU funded open data challenge.
This new programme of work will focus on three strands:
The programme will deliver JISC’s three aims for the digital infrastructure: service infrastructure; improved and fit for purpose technologies, policies and approaches; and change through developing shared understanding.