BHL Workshop for NDSR Team

On February 1 – 3, the 2017 National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) BHL cohort convened in Washington, DC for an intensive two-day BHL Workshop followed by tours of local library and museum collections. As part of the Institute for Museum and Library Serves (IMLS)-funded Foundations to Actions grant, five residents will each be working with BHL mentors over the next 12 months to identify ways to improve our workflows and website and to enhance the user experience. This highly competitive program provides opportunities for recent graduates to contribute in meaningful ways to the research, planning and development of new approaches for digital preservation and access.

The BHL Workshop provided an opportunity for the five NDSR BHL residents to establish a common, foundational working knowledge of the Biodiversity Heritage Library’s operations. Dr. Nancy E. Gwinn, the Director of the Smithsonian Libraries, kicked off the workshop with a warm welcome and introduction to guest speaker, George Coulbourne. Mr. Coulbourne is the Chief of Internship and Fellowship Programs at the Library of Congress and counts the National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) amongst his chief responsibilities. He provided a history of the program and an overview of future directions. Over the course of the two days, workshop sessions covered collection management practices, workflows and collaborative tools. Discussion topics focused on BHL’s larger vision for a next generation digital library.

We were also pleased to offer a networking event the evening of February 1 that brought together current and past NDSR residents and mentors working on other projects in the region, as well as key stakeholders including representatives from IMLS, Library of Congress, and University of Maryland, among others. All told, approximately 35 librarians, archivists and information professionals gathered at the Smithsonian to participate in the evening.

A variety of tours were also organized for the residents and were reflective of the collaborative nature of both BHL and the NDSR program. On February 1, Leslie Overstreet (Curator of Natural-History Rare Books) provided a tour of the Smithsonian Libraries’ Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History. The group was also treated to a tour of one of the Smithsonian Libraries’ digitization facilities at the National Museum of Natural History, where Jacqueline E. Chapman (Digital Collections Librarian) and Daniel Euphrat (Digital Imaging Technician) discussed digital workflows, policies, and procedures with the residents and showed them how books are prepared and digitized for inclusion in digital library portals like BHL.

On February 3, a tour of the Library of Congress, led by John Y. Cole (Historian of the Library of Congress), was followed by two behind-the-scenes tours at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH).  Floyd Shockley (Acting Collections Manager, Department of Entomology, NMNH) shared collections highlights from the Department of Entomology and Kathy Hollis (Collections Manager, Department of Paleobiology, NMNH) showcased collections from the Department of Paleobiology.

We’re thrilled to host the NDSR BHL cohort and look forward to the new perspectives and contributions they’ll make over the course of the year. You can learn more about each of the residents and the project page.

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Carolyn Sheffield served as the BHL Program Manager from July 2013 - February 2019. She is currently the Associate Director of Library Technology and Digital Strategies at the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She holds a Masters of Library Science from the University of Maryland.