Story of a Bridge, or new UFDC

I’m again working on my metaphors and storytelling, to better communicate on complex topics. One of these is that UF is working to update our digital collection system. Our current system is awesome for so many needs, but is no longer best for us with our ize, scale, and process changes. Now, within the Libraries, we’re at a place where we need to be talking about the pending changes more widely, so we need to be sure people understand so that we can all be productively engaged on the best process for all.

The short technical explanation is that we’re updating in two phases: Phase 1, 2021: patron-facing interface; and, Phase 2, 2022: rebuilding production. Then, work will turn to ongoing maintenance, optimization, and integrations as applicable for related systems. This is clear, but it isn’t super memorable and does not call people in to the conversation in an ideal manner.

For a story to call people in: Our current digital collections and production processes are like a bridge in a small city. The bridge is fantastic for a small city size. But, our city has grown dramatically, and now the bridge can’t handle everything. We need a new bridge to meet current demands. We’ve needed the new bridge for a while, so we have non-ideal traffic workarounds that exist only because we don’t have a newer bridge that meets those needs. For 2021, we are building a new bridge (patron-facing new UFDC). Once we have the new bridge (by 2022), we will then rework traffic flows (rebuilding production, during 2022).