Steelcase Inc., a global leader in the office furniture industry, celebrated its centennial anniversary on March 16, 2012. The anniversary was the driving force for hiring Reagan Marketing + Design, LLC in 2009 to develop, implement and recommend best practices for a digital repository. Goals for the endeavor included the creation of a globally accessible system that would preserve and allow access to the corporation’s heritage materials, was quick-to-implement, user friendly, and provided secure access to many items housing intellectual property. After careful consideration, DSpace was chosen for the private Steelcase digital repository.
In 2011 the anniversary team strategized various solutions for collecting stories from people around the world, DSpace again was determined to be the best fit for online story submissions. The story collection site is split from the private repository, making it feasible to create public collections without communicating that a much broader repository exists. A multi-lingual feature was added to the story instance, allowing submitters to share their story in up to seven languages.
Clear goals ahead
It is the goal of the archivist to add 1,500 items to the private “Heritage” instance this year, and 500 each subsequent year. Although open to all employees and select vendors, the heaviest users are a relatively small group of employees. Feedback indicates that users are able to find and retrieve items in a timely manner. Growth of the “What’s Your Steelcase Story?” instance is expected to start out slow, peaking in early 2013, before slowing back down.
Working with an Open Source platform was not a conscious decision. The feature set of the software itself was evaluated as best of breed and fit with the requirements of the project. Available support options from a range of DSpace Registered Service providers ensured enough sustainability to go ahead.
Access on mobile platforms was not considered in the decision to use DSpace. However, the team has been pleasantly surprised at how well the Mirage theme for the DSpace XML User Interface works on mobile phones and tablets.
The Share Your Steelcase Story site makes it possible to submit stories in English, French, German, Malay, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. The DSpace 1.8 workflow framework made it possible for @mire to automate language based reviewer assignments. This means there is not just one group of reviewers for a specific collection, but groups based on the reviewer language proficiency. A logical future step would be to translate the whole interface for those international Steelcase audiences where we see high uptake.
Over the past century, Steelcase has brought insight to business by studying how people work, wherever they work. These insights can help organizations achieve a higher level of performance by creating places that unlock the promise of their people. Both repositories are intended to help Steelcase employees strengthen their knowledge of the company’s heritage. By accessing records in the each repository, employees can learn from the past as well as carry forward the human insight business initiated by the company’s founders 100 years ago.