In November of 2018, Athenaeum21 (A21) began working with the New York University Division of Libraries (DoL) to align the organization to its stated mission and values, and to uncover its longer-term aspirations. Continuing through April of 2019, the work focused on organizational discovery and alignment as well as identifying and designing shared criteria for prioritization of work. The work was intended to deepen the conversation among the DoL staff about setting and meeting their strategic goals within the context of foreseeable trends in education and research libraries. Both the activities and outcomes of this work are intended to inform the thoughtful design of administrative structures, decision-making criteria, and a communications plan that will empower staff to respond confidently to oncoming trends, challenges, and opportunities.
Client: Oxford University IT Services & Humanities Division
Project Phase 1: Functional Requirements for a Sustainable Digital Humanities Infrastructure (2018)
In 2018, Athenaeum21 carried out an in-depth analysis of the functional requirements of Digital Humanities (DH) projects at the University of Oxford, including extensive interviews with DH project leads, followed by technical and functional analysis for more than 30 DH projects. Our charge, from the university’s IT department and Division of Humanities, was to help the University to design and more sustainable infrastructure for the DH projects. Our research uncovered a more robust and detailed picture of how both active and retired DH projects differ from the most common research data management and preservation models, and of their unique technical sustainability and preservation issues. In response to these diverse needs, we propose a layered service model for creating a sustainable digital hu...
Prior to rolling out an existing system to a new user base, EBSCO commissioned A21 to conduct a usability study of the system. The study was comprised of an in-depth analysis of 6 months of usage data, interviews with technology and support teams, user task-completion and ethnographic studies with users, and A/B user testing of existing vs. proposed menu structures. A21 identified opportunities for improvement of the user experience, and produced a list of actionable, prioritized enhancements to increase the adoption of, and confidence in the existing system among existing users, before rolling out to their new user base.
The Bodleian Libraries holds well over 20,000 manuscripts and serves hundreds of thousands of readers from around the world. Access to over half of the manuscript collections in the Bodleian is effectively hidden to scholars because they are not described online, or those descriptions are not well indexed. In 2016, the A21 team reviewed the existing cataloguing practices for manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries. The aims of the project were to determine a suitable workflow and technical architecture that would both promote findability and allow use by cataloguers with a wide range of technical skills.
Conducted a worldwide market review of manuscript cataloguing practices
Led a detailed usability assessment of existing systems
Made recommendations for improved workflows and technical architecture
Designed a sustainability plan around training, communications and standards