The Importance of Marketing Digital Collections
ALISS Quarterly, 2009
9 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2011
Date Written: November 23, 2009
An essential but easily overlooked step in the creation of online digital collections is making sure that people — potential users — know they sites exist. Making a digital collection publically available means that your potential user base — your potential patron pool — is the whole world. So what is being done to let that (significantly) wider audience know that your collection exists? Academic libraries have ways of letting patrons know what paper based collections they have and when new titles of interest arrive; and they have outreach programmes to let incoming students and faculty know what services they provide. But there seems to be a disconnect when it comes to online digital collections and often a “build it and they will come” attitude prevails.
This paper is presented in three parts. The first will introduce a method — inlink analysis — that can be used to identify and understand the current and potential audiences for digital collections. Part two will present some evidence from a case at Harvard University’s Open Collections Program (http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu) that marketing efforts have a significant impact on the number of users of digital collections. The third part will look more broadly at marketing in libraries; at what exactly academic libraries are and should be marketing.
Keywords: libraries, digital collections, marketing
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