Services and Solutions staff to transition to University Libraries from ITS

September 13, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries and Penn State’s Office of the Vice Provost for Information Technology recently agreed to transfer the development team from Services and Solutions (SaS) and their existing roles this fall to the University Libraries. SaS employees worked alongside Libraries Technology staff previously under the former department name Digital Library Technologies, and this realignment will streamline support of this work, including but not limited to information domain and data repository services and the integration of library-specific applications.

“This change aligns with the University Libraries’ and Penn State’s strategic goals in the advancement of knowledge creation, dissemination and preservation,” Barbara I. Dewey, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications, said.

As part of this alignment of services, nine Penn State employees and one currently vacant position will move from SaS to the Libraries. Dan Coughlin, director of the team, will report directly to Karen Estlund, University Libraries associate dean for Technology and Digital Strategies.

“As the move of the development team reflects, the University Libraries is an important IT partner, and staff from Enterprise Infrastructure and Operations and Teaching and Learning with Technology will continue to make working and collaborating with the Libraries a priority,” Ken Forstmeier, interim vice provost for Information Technology, said.

The SaS team provides support for ScholarSphere, ArchiveSphere, the eTD systems, Activity Insight including development and client support, plus operational expertise to run these systems and databases. A primary goal as part of this move is to align the services provided by the University Libraries with the information domain experts and library-specific and complementary systems.

“The University Libraries already directs many SaS development projects, including ScholarSphere, and provides leadership in the open source communities on which the applications are built. This transition directly aligns these products with our broad University service mission and the narrow yet crucial level of expertise with the Libraries,” Karen Estlund, the University Libraries’ associate dean for Technology and Digital Strategies, explained. “Having these services moved into the University Libraries will enhance cohesive paths for access and user experiences.”

ScholarSphere, Penn State’s research repository that is a collaboration between the University Libraries and the Office of the Vice Provost for Information Technology, now contains more than 5,300 datasets, articles, papers, presentations and reports — reflecting 25 percent growth from last year — from more than 1,400 users, a 40 percent increase. The service allows faculty and student researchers to collect, preserve and share their scholarly work with the world when collaborating on projects, publishing articles or meeting federal grant application requirements, and supports the Penn State Open Access resolution passed by the University Faculty Senate in 2015. 

In the past year, ScholarSphere has been integrated with external initiatives SHARE Notify and Zotero to increase the footprint of Penn State researchers. Future efforts will include how to integrate with Activity Insight, ORCID — a researcher identification service — and providing support for more complex works. Activity Insight projects that are closely related to library projects of authority, archives and data both exchange and intersect with existing initiatives in ScholarSphere development, research data management support and tracking, and digital scholarship integration. 

The University Libraries and Penn State's central IT organization have had a beneficial and close working relationship since the 1970s, and during that time have reviewed multiple realignments to serve evolving information technology and campus community needs.

The SaS team will continue to work from the Technology Support Building on Science Park Road through the current academic year as they work on the transition. 

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Last Updated September 13, 2016