The library is becoming the center of creative activity in our communities through the library's emerging roles as an open access journal publisher, digital archivist through institutional repositories, and as experimental manufacturers using 3-D printers in library MakerLabs.
Big, small, or medium, managing data produced by our communities is a challenge facing libraries. From local storage of operational data created by sensors and experiments, to national and international data sharing sites for various disciplines, we need library systems that are flexible enough to handle the preservation of highly variable textual and binary digital artifacts. We also need library systems that at least capture the provenance of these digital artifacts while still providing sufficient description to be both generally discoverable as well as using discipline or profession specific vocabularies.
Libraries are emerging as one possibility of hosting and publishing scholarship through digital repository and publishing technologies. While we acknowledge the controversies surrounding Open Access, the functionality to support these different models is something we need from our library systems.
Situating 3D printers and other tools in the library as Makerspace, may just be a passing trend but it points to a critical need for library systems to be able to describe and associate a creative work through the initial ideas, to intermediary blueprints, through manufacturing, and then finally as a functioning artifact.