Developing your digital collection
An inclusive school library collection can include a variety of quality digital resources. An effective digital collection will:
- meet the learning needs of students
- be aligned with the learning priorities and pedagogies of your school, and
- complement any physical collection.
Selecting and purchasing school library resources
Building an inclusive collection
In developing your collection of digital resources, first consider the mission and goals of your school library. These can usually be found in your library's guiding documents.
Library guiding documents
Before you choose resources you may need to do a needs assessment to work out the type of digital resources you need, and what access to them teachers and students need. Talking to teachers and students can help with this.
Assessing your school library collection
School community profile — identifies the characteristics of your students, teachers and the local community.
From this you can develop a set of criteria which will make it easier to evaluate resources for your collection. You may also need to consider putting together policies and procedures for:
- selection, acquisition, storage and curation of digital resources, and
- your library’s online presence including how digital resources can be accessed.
Working out your library's collection requirements
It's also a good idea to work out who is responsible for championing digital literacy and digital citizenship in your school.
Developing digital citizenship
Selecting the right digital resources
When you're selecting digital resources, consider their cost, quality and ongoing management, and whether they:
- can be accessed and used independently by students
- are owned by library or are just accessed online
- need a user account and login
- are compatible across a range of browsers, platforms and devices
- offer user support, such as help screens and video tutorials
- support students with sight or hearing impairments, for example by changing the size of the font.
The National Library provides access to a range of quality digital resources. Many are free to use and specifically selected for schools. We curate these resources to support inquiry-based learning and research across the curriculum.
Teaching and learning resources
Curating digital resources
Curation is the process of:
- selecting, sorting and arranging content on a specific topic or theme
- adding value and meaning to what has been curated for your users.
Curation has always been integral to services provided by school libraries. You can also curate digital content for your school's collection.
Curating content — information about the process and some useful tools.
Creating easy access to digital resources
Providing equitable access to digital resources is important within a school. It helps support digital literacy, digital citizenship and learning in general.
How you choose to provide access depends on your students' learning needs. Different students may need different access points. Observe your students' online habits to understand their preferences and skills. Talk with teachers to understand how staff access and use digital resources.
Creating easy access to digital resources needs careful management. When you select and acquire digital resources, you need to think about:
- how you'll organise, catalogue and store them
- what technology arrangements you'll need to make for providing access, and
- how you'll manage security.
For example, you could:
- aim for easy, 24/7 access — so students can access digital resources away from school
- store resources on a server at your school or in the cloud.
Options for providing access
The ways you can provide access to digital resources include using your:
- Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) — this provides access via keyword searching when digital resources have been catalogued in your Integrated Library System (ILS)
- library's blog or website — where you can include pages for digital resources and research help
- school's learning management system — there you can incorporate digital resources within a specific learning context
- curated content collections — these add value to the digital resources in your collection.
Creating a virtual school library
Find out more
Strategies to help students ‘go deep’ when reading digitally — MindShift.
Navigating the ‘Wild West’ of digital collections in schools — MindShift.