CNI News

An alternative access method for the same information available from the CNI-ANNOUNCE listserv.

CLIR report on Digging Into Data Program

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has just issued a helpful report (available at at www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub151 ) on the first round of the multi-funder international Digging Into Data program. I’ve reproduced their press release below.

Clifford Lynch
Director, CNI


New Report Provides First Public Appraisal of Digging into Data Challenge

Washington, DC, June 12, 2012-The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) today issued the first public appraisal of the Digging into Data Challenge, an international grant program first funded by the US National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the US National Science Foundation, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the United Kingdom, and the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

The report, One Culture. Computationally Intensive Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences, was made public today at the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries JCDL 2012 conference in Washington, DC.

The Digging into Data Challenge was launched in 2009 to better understand how “big data” changes the research landscape for the humanities and social sciences. Scholars in these disciplines now use massive databases of materials that range from digitized books, newspapers, and music to transactional data such as web searches, sensor data, or cell phone records. The Challenge seeks to discover what new, computationally based research methods might be applied to these sources.

In its first year, the Digging into Data Challenge made awards to eight teams of scholars, librarians, and computer and information scientists. Over the following two years, report authors Christa Williford and Charles Henry conducted site visits, interviews, and focus groups to understand how these complex international projects were being managed, what challenges they faced, and what project teams were learning from the experience.

Their findings are presented in One Culture, along with a series of recommendations for researchers, administrators, scholarly societies, academic publishers, research libraries, and funding agencies. The recommendations are “urgent, pointed, and even disruptive,” write the authors. “To address them, we must recognize the impediments of tradition that hinder the contemporary university’s ability to adapt to, support, or sustain this emerging research over time.”

Brett Bobley, Chief Information Officer and Director of the NEH Office of Digital Humanities, heads the Digging into Data Challenge. “Do we have big data in the humanities and social sciences? Yes-buckets of it,” he says. “But our ability to produce huge quantities of digital data has outstripped our ability to analyze and understand it. One Culture helps us to see not only why we would want a computer to assist us with our work, but how big data is changing the very nature of traditional humanistic research.”

Co-author and CLIR President Charles Henry said, “This report discloses the complexity and sophistication of humanities and social sciences research in a digital era. It underscores the excitement and potential of new discovery through deep collaboration across disciplines and affirms the continuity of traditional values and perspectives of scholarly communication in a data-dependent milieu. The report also seeks to animate a collective responsibility to more concertedly appreciate, extend, fund, and provide adequate services to sustain this remarkable research.”

In 2011, four additional funding bodies joined the four original cooperating agencies in support of fourteen new international collaborative research projects. These funders include the Institute of Museum and Library Services (US); the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK); the Economic and Social Research Council (UK); and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

JISC Director Stuart Dempster said, “We are proud to be a partner in this trans-Atlantic endeavor which aims to assist individual researchers, academic departments, and research institutions to succeed with the ‘data deluge’ in the humanities. For the UK to continue to punch above its weight in terms of digital scholarship and research it is vital for it to collaborate in ‘smart partnerships,’ which foster innovation in the development of tools, skills, and new research findings. This report shows that success in action.”

“The CLIR report is an excellent assessment of this unique and exciting international partnership,” said Gisèle Yasmeen, Vice-President, Research, at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. “The Digging into Data Challenge project is generating innovative computation and data analysis techniques to better advance research and we look forward to its continued success.”

“NSF has found the Digging into Data Challenge to be an excellent mechanism for enabling collaborative, data-intensive research in the social sciences and humanities,” said Elizabeth Tran, program officer in NSF’s Office of International Science and Engineering. “It has significantly reduced some of the key barriers to conducting research across borders and has resulted in a number of turly international outstanding research projects.”

The report is available online at www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub151 in pdf format. Case studies, not included in the print version, are also available in html format at the same url. Print copies will soon be available for ordering through the website.

National Academies Report Release on Future of Research Universities

CNI-announce readers who attended Jim Duderstadt’s opening plenary talk at the Spring 2012 Member meeting or watched the video of the event will recall him discussing the work of National Academies Committee on the Future of the Research University. The report of this committee will be released on 14 June, and should be of interest to many readers. In addition, there will be a release event at the National Academies in Washington DC on that date, which is open to the public in person (registration required) and will also be webcast. Information on the report and the release event can be found at:


Clifford Lynch
Director, CNI

DataWeb Forum for Scientific Data Exchange and Interoperability

Chris Greer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Alan Blatecky of the National Science Foundation have prepared a concept paper outlining their thinking about what they call the DataWeb Forum, an organization to facilitate the exchange and interoperation of scientific data across disciplines and national boundaries. These ideas have been under development for some time, but Chris and Alan believe that it’s now time to give the broad global community an opportunity to join in the discussion.  For convenience, I have placed a copy of their concept paper here


Chris and Alan would welcome comments and expressions of interest. They have included their email addresses at the end of the document.

Clifford Lynch
Director, CNI

Digital Preservation Network: Cliff Lynch Speaks with UVA’s James Hilton

In the latest CNI Conversations podcast (http://wp.me/p1LncT-2oE), CNI Executive Director Clifford Lynch speaks with James Hilton, Chief Information Officer at the University of Virginia, about the Digital Preservation Network (DPN), an initiative which aims to create a federated approach to preservation of academic content:

“To avoid the catastrophic loss of scholarship, we must build and sustain a diverse ecosystem that can ensure the survival of scholarship in digital form for future generations.  We envision a system that is scalable, sustainable, and complementary to existing collection and preservation efforts—the Digital Preservation Network (DPN or Deepen).”

New Video: ‘Key Trends in Teaching & Learning’ by Phil Long

Key Trends in Teaching & Learning:  Aligning What We Know About Learning to Today’s Learners, the closing plenary from CNI’s spring 2012 membership meeting, by Phillip D. Long, is now available on CNI’s two video channels:


In his talk, Long considers some of today’s most significant trends in teaching, learning, and technologies, and he explores technology’s potential impact on higher education.

Phillip Long is Professor of Innovation and Educational Technology in the School of Information Technology & Electrical Engineering and the School of Psychology, founding director of the Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology (CEIT) at the University of Queensland (UQ), dedicated to research on learning environments that have the potential to innovate teaching, learning and creativity.

More videos of other sessions from the spring 2012 CNI meeting are forthcoming.  To see all videos available from CNI, including the opening spring 2012 plenary Reinventing the Research University to Serve a Changing World by James Duderstadt, visit CNI’s video channels on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/cnivideo) and Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/channels/cni).

New Podcast: ORCID Update, Scholarly Attribution, 21st C. Libraries

This update from CNI leadership (http://wp.me/p1LncT-2kS) includes discussion of several recent conferences:  the International Workshop on Contributorship and Scholarly Attribution, an ORCID (Open Researcher & Contributor ID) Outreach Meeting, the “Designing Libraries for the 21st Century”  conference in Calgary, and others.

Pacific Neighborhood/Electronic Cultural Atlas Meeting, Berkeley, Dec 7-9, 2012

This is quite a special meeting that I’ve been fortunate to attend a few times over the years, and I’m honored to be doing one of the keynotes this year. ECAI has a long history of groundbreaking, intellectually challenging and important work, and I’m sure a good deal of it will be featured here.

Clifford Lynch
Director, CNI


2012 PNC Annual Conference and Joint Meetings
University of California Berkeley, California, December 7-9, 2012 (Friday – Sunday)

Submission Deadline:  July 31, 2012

Invitation to Participate
It’s our pleasure to announce that the 2012 PNC Annual Conference and Joint meetings will be held in Berkeley from December 7th to 9th.  The conference is being hosted by ECAI (Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative) and the School of Information at UC Berkeley with the collaboration of the UC Berkeley East Asian Library.

Since ECAI is the primary host of the meeting this year we will be integrating ECAI participation into the entire conference.
The conference theme is “New Horizons: Information Technology connecting Culture, Community, Time, and Place”.

Looking to the future, supporting collaboration and shared knowledge, this year’s conference will encourage participants to explore several streams of interest and discover relationships between them.

The proposed streams include:
Collaboration – Building a Collaborative Research Universe – collaboration tools and knowledge integration
Community – Digital humanities and social sciences in the interest of society
Virtual Cultural Information Management – Visualization, Analysis, and Interaction – 3D data, multimedia, and virtual museums
Digital Text – New horizons in text integration, analysis, and visualization
Cultural Atlases – Integration, Visualization and Complexity –   regions, themes, and change over time
Open Knowledge – Sharing Cultural Heritage – Semantic Web, Linked Open Data, and related technologies

Further information on the program and proposed panels can be found on the ECAI website at: http://ecai.org/activities/PNC2012

Since its initiation in 1993, the annual PNC Conference has become a key meeting for access to digital research on the Pacific Rim. It is a forum for interaction between scholars, technicians, librarians, museum professionals, educators and anyone working with cultural materials and technology.  Please join us at Berkeley in December to learn the latest development in this fascinating field.

General Contact and send submissions to: ECAI@berkeley.edu
Hui Nie, ECAI, UC Berkeley

Learning Space Toolkit released

I have been on the advisory group for this innovative project that I think will be of great assistance to many of our members.  Please check it out and send comments and examples to the Toolkit Team (see instructions below).
–Joan Lippincott, CNI
We are happy to announce the release of the first half of the Learning Space Toolkit (http://learningspacetoolkit.org). Roadmap, Needs Assessment and Services content has been posted with the rest coming soon. The Toolkit will be complete by November.
The Learning Space Toolkit is a freely available resource designed to support the full lifecycle of a learning space design project, from defining the goals and needs to designing the space to supporting it. By using the Toolkit, institutions will be better equipped to orchestrate the planning process so that learners are better supported and spaces, technology, and services are effective. Watch this video (http://youtu.be/bjd8TQnXm5E) for an overview. Also watch for an Educause ELI webinar on the Toolkit on November 19.

Please check out the Toolkit and send us your ideas and reactions. What’s not there that you would like to see? What elements could be more useful if they included something else? There are Feedback links on the website or you can email us directly at info@learningspacetoolkit.org.
We are also interested in hearing about your institution’s informal learning spaces. Please submit one or more of your spaces for consideration as featured examples in the Toolkit. If you would like to nominate an excellent space that we shouldn’t overlook, please fill out this survey (http://bit.ly/lstkspaces) to let us know (or email us at info@learningspacetoolkit.org).
Thank you,
The Learning Space Toolkit Team
NCSU Libraries and DELTA, brightspot strategy, DEGW

Report from CNI Roundtable on Multiple Devices and Platforms available

We have just posted a report on the Executive Roundtable that was held at the Spring CNI meeting on April 2, 2012.  The topic was Multiple Devices and Platforms:  Institutional Strategies.  Teams representing senior level library and IT organizations from 11 institutions described their development of priorities, policies, and strategies related to the multiplicity of devices that members of university communities are bringing to campus.  The report summarizes the discussion and includes perspectives on overall strategies, campus wireless infrastructure, security issues, and geospatially-aware applications and services.  The report is available at:


Joan Lippincott

New Podcast: Mobile Technologies; Future of the Web

In the latest CNI Conversations podcast (http://wp.me/p1LncT-2jn), recorded May 10, CNI Associate Director Joan Lippincott discusses mobile technologies, including a brief description of the executive roundtable that took place at CNI’s Spring 2012 Membership Meeting.  CNI Director Clifford Lynch reports on a workshop on the future of the Web.

Last updated:  Friday, February 1st, 2013