Fall 1997 Task Force Meeting
by CNI Executive Director Clifford Lynch
A Guide to the Fall 1997
Coalition for Networked Information
Task Force Meeting
The Fall 1997 CNI Task Force Meeting covers a broad range of developments in networked information and is designed to update attendees on significant developments and emerging issues. The pace of events has been intense over the past few months, and the range of breakout sessions reflects this; we recognize that attendees will face real dilemmas in choosing among parallel sessions and well make every effort to ensure that materials are available on the CNI web site that help to inform you about the sessions that you were not able to attend in person. Details on the fall CNI Task Force meeting can be found on the CNI web site, at www.cni.org.
The legal and commercial framework for intellectual property in the global information environment continues to be a topic of great importance to our community. While the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) conference of December 1996 is now behind us, the focus has shifted to enabling legislation in the US. In addition, proposals for the revision of the Uniform Commercial Code to address transactions in networked information may reshape the landscape for commerce in intellectual property. The National Research Council has just published an important study, Bits of Power, on the interactions between science and intellectual property policy. Professor Pamela Samuelson, a 1997 MacArthur fellow who holds joint appointments in the Schools of Law and Information Management and Systems at the University of California, Berkeley — and also a member of the NRC committee that authored the Bits of Power study — will offer an overview of current developments and share her views on the policy issues facing the nation. It’s hard to think of a more informed, honest and insightful voice on these critical issues.
The technology framework that has shaped our thinking about the future of the Internet, national telecommunications policy, and the feasibility of developing applications such as digital libraries is undergoing massive change. While much of the Internet world has been focused on very high speed optical fiber networks, for example, major corporations like Teledesic, Loral, and Motorola are investing billions of dollars in low earth orbit and hybrid GEO and LEO satellite networking which promise to expand the networking options and economic trade-offs. Studies have been done that suggest that users will not read lengthy articles on computer monitors because they are inferior to paper; yet a new generation of super-high resolution display devices that closely emulate the properties of paper are emerging from the laboratories. Robert Spinrad, Vice President of Technology Strategy for Xerox, will highlight important developments and help Task Force members to reassess their assumptions about the technology framework for networked information. Bob has been closely connected to the work of the higher education community through his service on the Educom Board and his work with the Commission on Preservation and Access (now part of the Council on Library and Information Resources).
Along with these two outstanding keynote addresses, the Fall Task Force meeting includes several groups of project and issue briefings which are closely connected to 1997-1998 CNI programmatic themes, as well as many updates on important projects. Several thematic tracks deserve special highlighting:
CNI has identified arts, humanities and cultural heritage communities as key opportunities for networked information to transform current practice. Breakout sessions will report on the work of the Museum Educational Site Licensing Program (MESL), a collaborative effort of the cultural heritage and higher education communities which promises to have a significance similar to the Tulip project in terms on understanding the use of networked museum information — except that it has a much stronger tie to faculty instruction rather than library-based information delivery. Two follow-on sessions will report on site licensing approaches — AMICO and MLC — for cultural heritage information that are emerging as a result of the MESL work and that are possible directions for making large amounts of image content available on a sustainable, community-wide basis.
Meeting attendees will also have an opportunity to hear an update on the activities of NINCH, another important component of CNI’s program to connect cultural heritage with the Net, with particular focus on the Computing and the Humanities conference which was sponsored by NRC and co-sponsored by NINCH, CNI, and the Two Ravens Institute. On the more technical side, we will also offer a report on the work of the Computer Interchange of Museum Information (CIMI) program, which addresses standards and interoperability testbeds for the exchange of museum information.
Authentication is a major CNI initiative for 1997-1998. Several sessions will address aspects of this initiative, including an update on work in the UK, where authentication must support the national site licensing agreements that are currently under development. An additional session will consider the broader context of network-based commerce in electronic information. Authentication and authorization is emerging as a central issue, and we need your participation in developing these issues.
Besides these thematic tracks, there are a number of other very important individual breakout sessions that directly address issues that are part of CNI’s current program. Peter Graham will discuss a project to take the next steps in Digital Preservation, moving beyond the RLG/CPA task force report. Sessions are also schedule to update meeting participants on the Institution-wide Information Strategies (IWIS) project, as well as progress on the electronic dissertations initiatives. We will have a report on the evolving work for Internet 2 applications which will include the latest information from the October Internet 2 meeting. There will also be an update on standards work in metadata — the Dublin Core — and identifiers — Uniform Resource Names, Digital Object Identifiers and the like — that CNI is participating in.
There are a number of presentations from member organizations covering policy, initiatives, and technical developments. I want to highlight two particular breakout sessions that we have invited here. The report on the deployment of the Government information locator service by Chuck McClure and Bill Moen offers a fascinating case study in the interactions between information policy, standards and the technology marketplace. And Ken Frazier and his colleagues will present a proposal for a scholarly publishing initiative that is being developed under Association for Research Library auspices.
Finally, I have blocked out some plenary time at the start of the meeting to discuss the new CNI program plan and initiatives with the Task Force members attending the meeting.
I look forward to seeing you in Minneapolis.
Coalition for Networked Information