At Birmingham City University we’ve been users of the DCS since 2016 and the benefits of the platform have streamlined our digitisation request process. As with all workflows there’s always room for continuous improvement so when the opportunity arose to integrate the DCS with our reading list system it seemed a natural step to take.
In context, we have a small team consisting of a Digitisation Supervisor, Copyright Supervisor, and Digitisation Assistant and average around 300 completed requests each year with this figure steadily increasing. We scan the majority of material in-house, or rather, we did until lockdown, but that’s a whole other story and a hefty blog post in itself.
Digitisation requests come through to us in a number of ways including: web-form, print form, weekly reading lists, direct emails from academics and collection management colleagues, and requests can also be submitted directly via Reading Lists Online (KeyLinks). There is no preferred request route as the most important thing is to begin a digital conversation with the academic. However the integration of the DCS with our reading list system brings efficiencies to the workflow.
In KeyLinks, a user (usually academic or library colleagues) can add an entry to a specific reading list module and request a section to be digitised as below.
Once submitted, the request will automatically appear in our DCS dashboard as a New Academic Request with all of its bibliographic information populated.
This is assigned to a staff member, details are confirmed and the request processed in the usual DCS way. If we have the item in stock, the extract is scanned, converted to electronic text, checked for errors using ABBY Finereader, uploaded to the DCS and the link generated. It is then automatically added to the entry on KeyLinks with no need for further staff action. This streamlines the entire process by removing the need for us to manually add an entry, bib details, DCS link etc. to the reading list. The extract is available immediately and can be accessed using the View Digitisation button.
Throughout the whole of the request process, users can see the progress of their requests via a system generated status of either New Request or Complete as below.
Using KeyLinks makes the end to end request process more efficient for the library team and by making the request process easier for the user, adds another string to our bow in terms of academic engagement. In summary, we make it as easy as possible to get material digitised for and accessible by our students.
Where items requested via KeyLinks are not in stock, we ask the requestor to add a note informing us of this. Most of our requests for EHESS sourced material arrive via this route.
We hope this brief account of our current DCS and KeyLinks integration workflow is useful for any other institutions considering a similar approach.
About the Authors
Lee Jones is a Digitisation Supervisor at BCU and is responsible for (you guessed it) digitisation, including the DCS workflow.
Nikki Griffin is a Librarian at BCU and is responsible for Stock Management and Digital teams.