Last July, Mahendra Mahey Manager of BL Labs and Milena Dobreva-McPherson, Associate Professor Library and Information Studies UCL Qatar sent an invitation to join ‘Digital Cultural Heritage Innovation Labs Book Sprint’, in Doha, Qatar, from 23 to 27 September 2019. Before the publication of the invitation I was involved in different calls in which I supported the idea of writing a book concerning the creation of GLAM Lab with all the information that we had created in previous events. However, when I saw the application form I have to admit that I was a little bit scared. I just filled in the application form thinking that «maybe they do not accept me» and I went on holidays…
7 August 2019. I check my email and see: Acceptance and logistics – Book Sprint on Digital Cultural Heritage Innovation Labs (23-27 September, Doha, Qatar). Many questions came to my mind: What am I supposed to do there? How are we going to do it? Just one week? At the same time, I felt the luckiest man in the world to have this opportunity and meet people from around the world to write a book of a theme that I enjoy.
Some days before going to Qatar we had a call to introduce ourselves. It was the first time I saw everybody and I discovered that we were only 16 people :
- Abigail Potter, Senior Innovation Specialist at the Library of Congress with the LC Lab working to support new and creative uses of digital collections that engage diverse audiences.
- Aisha Al-Abdulla, Section Head of the Digital Repository and Archives at Qatar University Library, managing the first Open Access Institutional Repository QSpace in the State of Qatar.
- Armin Straube, Teaching Fellow in Library and Information Studies at UCL Qatar. He is an archivist with work experience in data curation, digital preservation and web archiving.
- Caleb Derven, Head of Technical and Digital Services at the Glucksman Library, University of Limerick with overall responsibility for strategy and operations related to collections, digital resources and library systems.
- Ditte Laursen, Head of Department, Royal Danish Library, is responsible for the acquisition of digitally born cultural heritage materials, long-term preservation of digital heritage collections, and access to digital cultural heritage collections. She is also a board member of the Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries.
- Gustavo Candela, Associate Professor at the University of Alicante and member of the Research and Development department at The Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes.
- Katrine Gasser, Section Head of IT at KB Labs in the Royal Danish Library, managing a team of experts in programming, networking and research.
- Kristy Kokegei, Director of Public Engagement at the History Trust of South Australia oversees the organisation’s public programming, digital engagement, marketing, learning and education programmes across 4 state government-funded museums, supporting and enabling 350 community museums and historical societies across South Australia.
- Lotte Wilms, Digital Scholarship advisor managing the KB Lab and co-chair for the LIBER Working Group Digital Humanities and a board member of the IMPACT Centre of Competence.
- Mahendra Mahey, Manager of British Library Labs (BL Labs), an Andrew W. Mellon foundation and British Library-funded initiative supporting and inspiring the use of its data in innovative ways with scholars, artists, entrepreneurs, educators and innovators through competitions, awards and other engagement activities.
- Milena Dobreva-McPherson, Associate Professor Library and Information Studies at UCL Qatar with international experience of working in Bulgaria, Scotland, Malta and Qatar.
- Paula Bray, DX Lab Leader at the State Library of NSW is responsible for developing and promoting an Innovation Lab utilising emerging and existing web technologies to deliver new ways to explore the Library’s collections and its data.
- Sally Chambers, Digital Humanities Research Coordinator at Ghent Centre for Digital Humanities, Ghent University, Belgium and National Coordinator for DARIAH, the Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities in Belgium. She is one of the instigators of KBR Digital Research Lab at the Royal Library of Belgium.
- Sarah Ames, Digital Scholarship Librarian at the National Library of Scotland, responsible for the Digital Scholarship Service and the Data Foundry.
- Sophie-Carolin Wagner, Co-Founder of Research Institute for Art and Technology (RIAT), Co-Editor of the Journal for Research Cultures and Project Manager of ÖNB Labs at the Austrian National Library.
- Stefan Karner, Technical Lead of the ÖNB Labs at the Austrian National Library, co-responsible for developing a platform to provide access to some of the library’s data and metadata, for users to create and share annotations and other data.
22 September 2019. I arrived to Qatar and went directly to the hotel.
That night we had a meeting in order to meet us in person. I really felt the tension and the pressure in the room. Each of us expressed what we were expecting about the book. I remember my words: «I had no time to think about it but I trust on us, we will have something at the end of the week». Somehow, I felt that we could do it. In the end, we were there to produce a book 🙂
The next five days we were working hard applying the methodology of the book sprint. Laia Ros Gasch was the person in charge from the Book Sprint organization in order to guide us through the process.
We agreed that the book should be something useful, a first reference for any GLAM institution and not a bunch of scientific papers. Every day we were informed about the state of the book (e.g., number of words) and received the feedback from the editors. Little by little the book was growing and taking shape. We had to decide many things including the title, the cover, a manifesto, illustrations, recipes, examples, references, etc. We learnt to trust each other and to share our expertise, skills and knowledge, otherwise would not be possible in a short period of time.
The last revision of the book was carried out by Sophie-Carolin Wagner, Paula Bray, Lotte Wilms and Kristy Kokegei. They were in charge of giving the same voice to the whole book and decide what should be included and what not. We trusted on them and they did their best to respect the work of all us while taking care of the whole text.
Many thanks to the organizations which sponsored this book sprint UCL Qatar, Qatar University Library, The British Library and the Library of Congress.
The result of the booksprint can be downloaded from the International GLAM Labs community website. We hope that you enjoy this book as we did writing it 🙂
Blog post written by Gustavo Candela.