Live and Kicking: The Impact and Sustainability of Digital Collections in the Humanities by Lorna M. Hughes

Proceedings of the Digital Humanities Congress 2012

Edited by Clare Mills, Michael Pidd and Esther Ward
“This paper discusses an initiative at the National Library of Wales to build a research programme around the digital collections of Wales. The programme seeks to document the impact and use of these digital collections for research, teaching and public engagement: and to develop new digital initiatives that will fulfil core remit of the National Library over the long term, set within to context of the “digital transformation of the Library” that “has caught everyone’s attention” (McGann). The NLW research programme seeks to understand this transformation, and its impact internally and on the Library’s users, and to address questions of sustainability of digital collections in the humanities. In order to frame this narrative, this paper will outline the development of technological innovation at the Library, and the ways in which digital collections and digital development are part of a continuum of the adoption of new technologies with a resultant effect on the mission of the organisation, and indeed on the institution itself. Understanding how digital collections are used is key to understanding their impact, and to making provision for the long term-sustainability of valuable digital content. Understanding the impact of the digital transformation in the Library also signposts how the institution itself remains relevant, with a continuing role as a custodian and advocate for documentary cultural heritage in an increasingly challenging economic climate – remaining not just alive, but kicking.”