Project Management


What experience do you have in project management and project planning?

My best example is that I previously worked in a university marketing and communications department and all of our projects needed to be planned out in stages for publication well in advance. For example, to publish the university magazine required an editorial meeting to decide on the issue’s content, the creation of content before being laid out by the graphic designer, and multiple proofing stages before being sent off to the printer and uploaded to the web.

While NINCH provides some universal project management advice, it is heavily focused on an academic/cultural institution’s digitization project. Would their approach to managing a digital project work well outside an academic institution?

I would say yes because nearly everything covered in the NINCH guide can (and should) be applied to any digital library project. The evaluation of current software, hardware and digital equipment needs, employing of a project manager to agreement on metadata standards are just a few examples of areas covered in Section II. One area, however, stands out as being less applicable: internal resource identification. For instance, a small public library will have significantly less internal resources such as personnel to collaborate with or “physical” equipment to borrow. A large organizational setting such as UW offers the opportunity for resource and skill sharing through the number of people working, and the availability of equipment, in are abundant (i.e. multiple libraries, and the management of a huge IT infrastructure.

How does a project management plan such as this transfer to other library work — could you implement something like this for a website redesign, a renovation, or a grant application?

Absolutely. A lack of planning can breed a chaotic work environment. Using a project management plan allows for accountability and responsibility of the project team and the organization as a whole. It also guides the project work in general and specific terms/goals. The plan may need to be tweaked in relation to its application, but it should reflect all project components.

How does something like this work when you may not be able to gather all your stakeholders in the same room — how does project planning across state (or even international) lines challenge the best practices that NINCH has gathered?

I would be concerned about what might fall through the cracks in terms of information. If everyone cannot attend a meeting, how do you ensure that all stakeholders are well informed about the discussions taking place and to make decisions that support the project and its goals? Sustained efforts should be made for the efficient flow of information.



3 responses to “Project Management

  1. Thanks for the thoughtful response! I’d say that internal resource identification is less applicable in a small library, it is probably good practice to list resources out, if only to make sure they’re allocated appropriately when it comes to use. And yes, publication management is an outstanding method for learning project management!

  2. I agree, good and effective project management is important for any project in any field! Here is the link to an article by Sharon Leon (, who shares that there was little to no formal project management training during her undergrad/grad school career to help her successfully collaborate and manage projects. In conjunction with your point that many aspects of librarianship need good and effective project management, it is interesting to think about the experiences you’ve had in school. If it’s so important, then perhaps there needs to be more focus on it!

  3. I agree with you that NINCH’s project management advice can be applied to many other institutions. For example, Madison Public library has some free e-books that can be borrowed in their digital collections. And the number of those e-books are growing. So I think this will be a very useful resource for them to create their project plan on those collection. And I also agree that project management is very important, especially when there are a lot team members working on that project.

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