Brenna Cullen (she/her)
MRAi Student Librarian, UBC Library & UBC Learning Exchange
MLIS student, UBC iSchool
Welcome to this year’s Collection Snapshot! As “snapshots” of the Downtown Eastside Research Access Portal (DTES RAP), these annual updates are intended to give folks an idea of how the portal has grown and evolved in the last year. This Collection Snapshot focuses on the collection’s growth from May 2022 to March 2023. You can find our last round of the Collection Snapshot here.
So, what’s new for the DTES RAP?
March of this year marked two major milestones for the DTES RAP: the portal turned three years old, and the number of items in the portal’s collection surpassed the 1,800-item mark! These achievements would not be possible without the incredible output of work from students, researchers, community members, and community organisations that live, work, and study in and around the DTES.
Nearly 400 items were added to the collection in the last year, marking the largest growth that the collection has seen since the RAP first launched in 2020. What is even more exciting about this growth is that approximately half of the additions are community-generated materials and accessible genres, such as podcasts and infographics. This is largely due to the success of a pilot project that the DTES RAP team launched last year to work with DTES community organisations to increase the number of community-produced items in the collection.
Not only were we able to add items from genres outside of academic research but we also grew in topic areas that didn’t have many items such as in Arts, Culture, History, and Heritage and Labour, Income, and Social Services. Given the success of this project, and the invaluable community connections it allowed us to build, we intend to continue this work. By collaborating with community organisations in the DTES we can preserve and make accessible the rich array of community-generated materials that already exists within the DTES community. If you are a part of a community organisation or know of a community organisation that may be interested in collaborating with us to preserve their valuable work, please feel free to reach out to us at our shared email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
We also saw the growth of topic areas added to the DTES RAP within the last year, namely: Environment and Sustainability, Education, Literacy, and Digital Access, and Community-University Knowledge Exchange. The addition of these topics, and the active effort to add to them, shows the DTES RAP’s commitment to be a place-based portal that is responsive to the interest and needs of DTES RAP users. As always, we welcome folks to reach out to us and let us know if there are topic areas that they would like to see more of in the DTES RAP collection.
We also want to touch on a feature of the collection that brings us great joy: Open Access (OA). Many items in the DTES RAP collection are OA, which means that they are free to use either through UBC’s institutional repository cIRcle or via other online repositories and hosting sites. Discovering items that are already OA or taking steps to make restricted use items OA is a large part of the work that we do, and we are proud to report that it’s the leading access type in the DTES RAP collection. While restricted items – those that may charge a fee or require an institutional login to access them – are present in the DTES RAP collection, the DTES RAP team is actively working to have these items, in addition to other mediated access items, made freely accessible in the portal. Find yourself with questions about OA and restricted use items and what that means for items in the DTES RAP collection? Check out the definitions on our Help page. As well, if you would like to access a restricted item, please reach out to our team at our shared email address (email@example.com) and we will do our best to help you! Additionally, if you are a researcher with a restricted access item in our collection and would like to make it open access, please contact us and we can help you through this process.
To wrap up this year’s Collection Snapshot, we’d like to remind folks that the Collection Snapshots are also an opportunity to give feedback on the collection, be it the addition of certain types of items and/or different topics. We always welcome input via our shared email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) with suggestions for the DTES RAP, as well as feedback on how we can improve the portal overall.
See you for our next Collection Snapshot!
Do you have questions or feedback about this article? Do you have an idea for the news section or suggestion for the collection? We’d love to hear from you! Please reach out to the MRAi team members at email@example.com with any questions, suggestions, or comments.