What is the Digital Collections Advisory Team?

Gould Library provides online access to digital collections in support of the Carleton curriculum and original research. The materials in these collections reflect the college’s rich and diverse course offerings and faculty research areas. Access to these collections is provided via online platforms that are paid for by the Library and managed by Library staff. Platforms owned and managed by the Library currently include Carleton Digital Collections (CONTENTdm) and Carleton Digital Commons (bepress). Access to some collections is restricted to on-campus users only.

The Digital Collections Advisory Team (DCAT) is charged with stewarding the Library’s various digital collections platforms. Managing and growing digital collections incurs significant costs for the Library, both in staff time and data storage. DCAT works with Carleton faculty and staff who are interested in adding a collection to a Library platform, to ensure that decisions about online collections are made responsibly, consistently, and transparently. DCAT was formed by the Library in 2023.

Interested in proposing a collection? Complete and submit the Proposal Form.

How does DCAT evaluate proposed collections?

DCAT evaluates proposed digital collection according to four main sets of criteria:

  1. Legal and ethical considerations: Does the Library have permission to host the materials in question? Do the materials require special sensitivity in how they are described or presented?
  2. Technical compatibility with Library platforms: Can the platforms managed by the Library meet the technical needs of the materials in question?
  3. Feasibility and cost: How much work from Library staff would the materials in question need in order to be hosted in an online platform? Would hosting the materials incur significant digital storage costs for the Library?
  4. Collection scope: Do the materials in question support teaching or research at Carleton? Do the materials complement any existing collections already hosted in a Library platform? Have the materials been contributed by an existing campus or regional partner?

Read the complete evaluation criteria used by DCAT.

What sorts of collections can be proposed?

Proposed collections can be digitized or born-digital materials. Proposed collections can cover any time period, geographical area, or subject matter, however materials related to the history of Carleton specifically may be referred to the College Archives, which has its own acquisitions process and online repository not stewarded by DCAT. Most collections are composed of images, audio, video, and/or text.

Who can propose a collection?

Collections can be proposed by current Carleton faculty or staff.

How do I propose a collection?

To propose a collection, complete and submit the Proposal Form. DCAT will review the information provided in the form and contact you to schedule an initial meeting to discuss your collection. The information gathered via the form and subsequent meetings will help DCAT assess the needs of your collection and decide whether the Library is able to host it.

My digital collection doesn’t exist yet. Should I reach out to DCAT now?

Yes! If you will be creating a digital collection as part of a class or other project and would like to discuss adding it to a Library platform, contact DCAT early in the process to discuss your plans for the collection with us. Although Library staff are generally unable to build your collection for you, we can answer your questions about file formats, digital file organization, and metadata to help ensure your project is successful.