Digital Stewardship Training Courses for Tribal Archives, Libraries, Museums, and Small Public Libraries

WebJunction /
Cohort from Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation gathered around computer
Courtesy of Washington State University’s Center for Digital
Scholarship and Curation
. Pictured from left to right members
of the TDSCP 2018-19 cohort: Front: Lynn Bowannie (Pueblo
of Zuni), Gloria Lomahaftewa (Hopi Tribe), Colleen Lucero (Hopi
Tribe) Back: Kim Christen, Cordelia Hooee (Pueblo of Zuni)
Photo by Lotus Norton-Wisla.

OCLC’s WebJunction, in partnership with Washington State University’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation, is creating a series of 10 free online courses for staff at tribal archives, libraries, museums (TALMs), and small public libraries on digital stewardship and community-centered collaborative curation of cultural collections (OCLC press release). These on-demand courses, adapted from the Tribal Digital Stewardship Cohort Program developed at Washington State University, are scheduled to launch in early 2022.

The need—and challenges—for digital stewardship training

A pressing concern for staff at tribal libraries, archives, and museums is managing, preserving, and caring for the diverse cultural heritage materials in their holdings. And, like many staff at TALMS, small and rural public library staff also face barriers to accessing training and resources to digitize their collections.

This training will strengthen staff skills and knowledge of:

  • The life cycle of digital stewardship
  • Collaborative curation
  • Providing access to collections based on community values and priorities
  • Caring for physical and digital collections
  • Digitization planning and digital workflows
  • Creating policies to sustain and manage collections
  • Ethical stewardship of culturally sensitive collections

A training program to meet unique institutional needs

This project will create a set of online, self-paced continuing education courses which will be freely available to TALM staff, many of whom have been overlooked by programming that does not consider their limited resources, infrastructure, and distinct training needs. The newly developed courses will focus on tribal values, histories, and needs.

Expanded materials for small public libraries

This project will also produce additional training for staff at small public libraries throughout the United States, many of which are in under-resourced, rural, and geographically isolated locations.

Adapting and expanding the original program’s curriculum will address an important training need documented in OCLC’s 2017 research report, Advancing the National Digital Platform: The State of Digitization in US Public and State Libraries, which was funded by IMLS. According to that report’s findings, while 92% of the public libraries surveyed reported having unique, locally significant materials, most respondents from small libraries indicated they have never digitized their collections. Among public library respondents, 61.4% identified insufficient staff training/expertise as a barrier to their digitization efforts.

Sustainable, free, and openly accessible

All project materials will be accessible to staff at tribal archives, libraries, and museums and at small, rural public libraries across the United States through OCLC’s free and open learning community, WebJunction, as well as on Washington State University’s Sustainable Heritage Network.

How can I stay up to date on this project?

Stay tuned for an informational webinar next year, and subscribe to our twice-monthly e-newsletter, Crossroads, for more details and announcements about the course series.

This project is made possible in part thanks to support from OCLC, Washington State University, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (project number RE-246364-OLS-20).