Charting library use of open vs closed infrastructures

A few weeks ago, our one-time colleague Emmy Tsang, blogged on Rethinking the Scaffolds of Open.

Emmy argued that we (universities, libraries, the research and educational communities) need to make much more values-informed choices about the type of infrastructure we build and invest in; not just blindly reverting to commercial infrastructures because it seems the most convenient.

A first step of this process is actually realising what infrastructures are being funded and supported. Without a clear map of what a library or a university pays for, it’s difficult to make concrete actions. But even this tricky. Responsibility for contracts, services, tools tend to spread over many different people within an organisation

I was delighted to see that Jeroen Bosman from the University of Utrecht had made a rapid attempt to sketch the different areas where a university might be investing in infrastructure to support higher education and research.

This helped us at TU Delft Library make our own first attempts to sketch our use of different infrastructures.

The embedded Google sheet (see full version here) is written from the perspective of the library. It is a first attempt – there are other applications that are missing from this list.

It does not relate to the whole university. My colleague and university archivist Esther Maes reckons there are close to 700 applications used across the university.

This spreadsheet is therefore shared as a ‘conversation piece’. It shows

a) the huge number of infrastructures (in the broad sense of the word) a library engages with

b) that finding areas to prioritise is vital – where does one start with such a long list ?

c) in some areas, both open and closed solutions are used

So, where next?

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