by Eric Koester
The Adventist Digital Library (ADL) officially launched to public beta at the 2016 ASDAL Conference held this past June in Orlando, Florida. Since that time we have seen over 2,500 users access the website with an average on-site time of over six minutes. We are very pleased with these metrics as they indicate a high degree of engagement with the site. We are also seeing a consistent 60% return rate for visitors.
Social media and marketing efforts have been narrowly focused as we attempt to ramp up system usage in a controlled manner during this beta phase. If all goes as planned, we hope to expand our marketing exposure through print and online advertising beginning in January 2017.
From all indications we are gaining traction with our target market segment even as we deal with the inevitable growing pains of launching a new technology.
Recently there have been several personnel changes within the Adventist Digital Library team, resulting in my accepting the role of acting lead manager. First, I would like to share my appreciation for our previous lead manager, Juliette Johnson. Juliette has recently moved to California for personal reasons. She brought energy and focus to the task of building a tangible product out of the vision Library partners have been casting for years. Without her, we would not be where we are today.
My first priority is going to be to maintain continuity. This means that we will continue to service the partners we are currently engaged with and that we will continue to maintain our library platform with a minimal amount of disruption—even as we make changes to our larger process.
My second priority is communication. I will work to regularly engage with our project stakeholders to keep them abreast of developments. These stakeholders include board members, ASDAL representatives, and our contributing institutions.
My third priority is collaboration. Internally and informally, our ADL team seeks to cultivate an open, collaborative atmosphere that encourages engagement with the project and an investment in its success. Formally, the Adventist Digital Library is privileged to have at its disposal both Content and a Systems advisory committees of which I will speak more in the next section.
Besides the change in lead manager, there are three additional staffing changes I would like to share with you.
Henrique Gomes, who has served the project for over two years as a part-time video and media production specialist, is transitioning to become our full-time digitization manager. In this new role, Henrique and his team of student workers will be responsible for all print and media digitization done by ADL. It is my objective that, by enhancing the level of staffing dedicated to digitization, we will be able to increase the level of service we offer to contributors, as well as better leverage our significant investment in scanning technology. While the Center for Adventist Research at Andrews University will continue to provide significant print-based content for processing, our digitization services are available to all contributors whose scanned content is slated for inclusion into ADL.
Chris Hughes is joining our team as a half-time Content Acquisition Specialist. Chris is a graduate student with a strong background in project management and technology. He will be responsible for working with institutions that perform their own digitization or have existing digitized materials they wish to contribute. Chris will provide the human interface between ADL’s internal content ingestion processes and our contributor’s digitization workflow. In addition to working with currently active contributors to ADL, Chris will be reaching out to our partner libraries and universities in an effort to help them better leverage our services.
Brett Puckett is joining the team as our Application Administrator. Bret has a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Kentucky. He will be responsible for the day to day operation of the library software platform. Additionally he will provide telephone and email support to our end-users and contributing partners.
We look forward to how things will develop in the future.