To Discovery and Beyond: Using Workflow Automation as an Opportunity for Collaboration and Education

Rebecca B. French
Rebecca B. French is the Metadata Analyst Librarian at James Madison University, where she develops workflows and tools for efficiently creating, manipulating, transforming, and analyzing metadata at scale. Her work spans traditional MARC cataloging, e-resource batch loading, and metadata for archival and digital collections. Rebecca was previously a music cataloger at James Madison University and at Indiana University’s William and Gayle Cook Music Library. She holds a BA from The College of William and Mary and an MLS with a specialization in music librarianship from Indiana University.
This poster describes a project to automate portions of JMU Libraries’ workflow for distributing Special Collections finding aids to various discovery platforms. Through the development of a custom Python app called Spaceport, we were able to greatly improve the efficiency and sustainability of this process while also providing a more consistent discovery experience for our patrons. The project also had broad impacts in other areas. Our incremental and collaborative approach provided space for professional development related to the project, supported evolving project goals and the process of adapting to the new workflow, and strengthened relationships between departments. In addition to describing these and other benefits, this poster includes an overview of the Spaceport app’s functionality along with recommended learning resources for technologies used in the project, including XSLTs, Python scripting, and APIs.
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