UFDC and the beginnings of SobekCM started in March 2006. In February 2008, I wrote about UFDC turning 2. At that time, UFDC had “nearly 1.5 million pages.” Now, UFDC supports more than 300 digital collections and more than 7.6 million pages of open access to unique manuscripts and letters, antique maps, rare children’s literature books, theses and dissertations, newspapers, historic photographs, oral histories, audio and video, and so much more. UFDC has grown in content, scope, and impact.
Alongside UFDC, SobekCM has grown dramatically as well. SobekCM is the system powering UFDC and other collections and libraries including the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC). SobekCM allows users to discover online resources via semantic and full-text searches, as well as a variety of different browse mechanisms. For each digital resource in the repository there are a plethora of display options, which may be selected by an appropriately authenticated use. SobekCM includes online metadata editing and online submissions in support of institutional repositories. All of this has grown and been refined over the past 6 years. By age 3 in 2009, SobekCM had grown too large for its prior indexing and searching methods and switched to Lucene, along with many other enhancements. In March 2011, SobekCM achieved another milestone with full integration of all of the UF Libraries’ Digital Library Center production tracked and managed through SobekCM’s tools. These tools included the open access release of the SobekCM Repository System, METS Editor, MARC Library, and SobekCM Management and Reporting Tool (SMaRT). The software was developed at the UF Libraries by Mark Sullivan, with much input from those in the Libraries, scholars, partners, patrons, and users. This year saw another milestone with Mark moving to become the Head of Digital Development and Web Services and adding the first of his new team members. The integration of production, access, and repository functions also included easy partner tools for local and international partners to manage their own digitization, building their digital collections, and assess their collections and work through automated statistics and usage reports emailed automatically to users each month.
Other improvements occurred as well, including SobekCM and UFDC moving to UF-controlled cloud servers at the CNS/Open Systems Data Center. UF’s CNS/Open Systems group is in the top class level in the world which shows in their equipment, policies, procedures, and people who ensure robust, proactive, and friendly support for all server and data support needs. This is critical because SobekCM’s supported collections met critical mass and kept growing.
UFDC, dLOC, and others powered by SobekCM at UF now receive 3-4 million hits per month, have over 2,800 registered users, and receive so many patron reference questions per month that those questions had to be integrated into the Ask A Librarian queue in order to manage the load. Most importantly to me, SobekCM powers a set of trusted and core scholarly resources for many areas, including scholar curated collections and digital scholarship projects included in it. As the Digital Humanities Librarian and as someone who is passionate about supporting digital scholarship as a way to support individual academic fields and academia as well, I’m both proud to be able to promote UF’s resources to UF and affiliated partners and scholars in terms of how the George A. Smathers Libraries in the University of Florida are providing the rich and robust social and technological infrastructure to support scholarship in and for a digital age.
Happy Birthday UFDC!
Happy Birthday SobekCM!
Thank you to the George A. Smathers Libraries! Thank you to the University of Florida! Thank you to all partners, scholars, contributors, and patrons!