Fall 2001 Task Force Meeting
by CNI Executive Director Clifford Lynch
A Guide to the Fall 2001
Coalition for Networked Information
Task Force Meeting
We welcome CNI Task Force representatives and other participants back to San Antonio, Texas for the Fall 2001 CNI Task Force meeting. The meeting will be held at the Palacio del Rio Hilton Hotel – the same venue as the Fall 2000 meeting – on November 29-30, 2001. In San Antonio we will offer a wide range of presentations that advance and report on CNI’s programs, showcase projects and issues from Task Force member institutions, and highlight key activities in the broader field of networked information and progress on the Coalition’s work. Here is the roadmap to the sessions at the meeting; I believe that it offers numerous interesting sessions for people involved in all aspects of networked information.
As usual, the CNI meeting begins with an optional orientation session for new attendees — both representatives of new member organizations and new representatives of existing member organizations — at 11:30 AM. Refreshments for all attendees will be available at 12:15 PM on Thursday November 29, followed by the opening plenary at 1:15PM and several rounds of breakout sessions. The meeting wraps up with a closing keynote concluding at 3:30 PM on Friday November 30.
Along with plenary and breakout sessions, the meeting includes generous time for informal networking with colleagues and a reception on the evening of November 29. The reception will conclude by 7:30 PM, allowing time for attendees to stroll and enjoy the many dinner options available on the San Antonio Riverwalk.
The Plenary Sessions
I have again reserved the opening plenary session to address key developments in networked information, discuss progress on the Coalition’s agenda, and highlight initiatives from the 2001-2002 Program Plan, which will be distributed at the meeting (and will also be available on the Coalition’s web site, <www.cni.org> a few days in advance of the meeting). This has been a very eventful year, and there’s a great deal to cover. The opening plenary will include time for questions and discussion, and I am eager to hear your comments.
The closing plenary address will be given by Professor William Arms of Cornell University. Bill Arms is well known within the CNI community for his prolific and influential work at Dartmouth, Carnegie Mellon, and the Corporation for National Research Initiatives prior to joining Cornell; he has also been deeply involved in CNI since its inception. Bill is going to address developments with the National SMETE (Science, Mathematics, Engineering, Technology Education) Digital Library Program funded by the National Science Foundation. NSDL traces its history back to the early 1990s and addresses the construction of a digital library of materials (including courseware) to support education in science and engineering. In the last few years it has received major NSF funding and is on a timeline to produce a full-scale system. Bill is the Principal Investigator for the “core integration” segment of the program; his efforts will pull together the work of scores of other grantees also contributing to the project. As the NSDL moves towards operational status, it not only offers important lessons about the construction of complex distributed digital libraries but also has implications for the role of digital materials in changing educational practices that we need to recognize and understand. This is a project with wide reaching ramifications that I think it’s important for all CNI members to be informed about.
Highlighted Breakout Sessions
I cannot cover all of the many breakout sessions here. However, as always I want to note particularly some sessions that have strong connections to the Coalition’s 2001-2002 Program Plan and also a few other sessions of special interest. Abstracts for most of these sessions are now available at the CNI web site, and we will update these on an ongoing basis. We again have a packed agenda of breakout sessions, and will try to put material from the sessions on our web site following the meeting.
A great deal has been happening in digital preservation, and these developments are very well represented. We will have an update on the Mellon-funded digital journal preservation planning projects chaired by Don Waters of the Mellon Foundation; a report on the Library of Congress National Digital Preservation Program planning effort; a discussion by OCLC and RLG on their recent paper about repository attributes; and a report on the new Government Printing Office archiving project with OCLC. Also relevant to the digital preservation theme, I will lead a discussion breakout on integrity issues related to materials published on the web in the face of various parties trawling these materials using search engines and demanding changes. We will also have a report on the METS metadata work emerging from the Digital Library Federation.
Middleware has been an area of ongoing interest for the Coalition, with a particular focus on work related to authentication, authorization and access management. Ken Klingenstein of Internet2 will lead two breakouts; one covering general middleware progress, including the new NSF-funded middleware coordination center grants, and a second focusing specifically on the Shibboleth authentication initiative. We will also have a presentation from Indiana University on their authentication work.
Computer and network security have become major issues during the past year; one response to these issues has been the establishment of the EDUCAUSE Systems Security Task Force. We will offer a report on this program and the key areas that it is currently addressing.
Plagiarism is a growing faculty concern in the digital environment, and a number of institutions are experimenting with the use of plagiarism detection systems. Diana Oblinger has recently authored an overview paper on these developments as one of the first publications under the new EDUCAUSE ECAR program, and will present the results of her findings and discuss policy issues related to these systems.
In August 2001, CNI, Internet2, SURA and the ViDe Project co-sponsored a workshop in Atlanta on the management of digital video assets; this covered topics that included metadata for video description and management, streaming technologies, and rights management questions. Grace Agnew and Mairead Martin will lead a breakout reporting on the outcome of this workshop and discussing next steps in this area.
CNI was one of the co-founders of the National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage (NINCH), which continues to be a key part of CNI’s strategy to address networked content in the arts and humanities. Over the past 18 months, NINCH has restructured itself as an organization and developed a bold array of programmatic initiatives. NINCH director David Green will provide an update on these changes, and some of the exciting new work that NINCH is conducting.
Another organization in which CNI has played an active role, the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), headquartered at Virginia Tech, is undergoing a strategic planning process. As the project grows and becomes in creasingly international, it is time to review the strategic directions and organizational structure of NDLTD. Members of the NDLTD strategic planning committee will discuss their process and will elicit input on future directions from CNI attendees.
Jerome Yavarkovsky of Boston College, a keen observer of trends in the networked information world, has recently been calling attention to a set of emerging developments in user-oriented software that complements digital libraries and search tools. These ideas seem particularly timely as discussions about scholar’s portals evolve towards broader conceptions of academic platforms or scholar’s tool kits. Jerome will moderate a session on HyperFolio, one of these new tools. We will also have a session on Connexions, a Rice University program that has developed a new approach to authoring, organizing, and delivering educational materials.
In the area of innovative digital content, we have a number of breakouts that highlight member projects in areas as diverse as the spoken word and biomedical images. New services featured include work on LC’s knowledge base for digital reference; an agent-oriented online catalog; and RLG’s work in making its union catalog available on the web. We will also offer briefings on two developing standards efforts: open linking and NCIP. Work on assessment, evaluation and new measures is well represented, with a session focusing on LIBQUAL+ and another covering developments on the ARL E-metrics efforts.
The Gates Foundation will describe an innovative project that offers a cost effective strategy involving satellite, wireless, and in some instances solar power to deliver broadband services to remote locations. The project delivers Internet services to Native Americans.
One of the exciting new program initiatives that CNI launched in 2000-2001 was a focus on the organizational and architectural implications of new collaborations among information technologists and instructional technologists, librarians and faculty members, including the planning and operation of joint service delivery points and instructional support centers. As I’ll describe in the opening plenary, our work in 2001-2002 will expand on this foundation, which includes a web site being operated in collaboration with Dartmouth. We have two breakouts focusing on leading examples of these collaborative projects – production and studio facilities at University of Tennessee designed to assist in the use of multimedia in teaching and scholarship, and a hybrid approach to faculty support by library and information technology groups at Northwestern University.
Finally, I want to draw your attention to a special breakout by the US National Science Foundation and the UK Joint Information Systems Committee discussing a new international funding program they are launching in the use of digital information and instructional resources to support scholarly disciplines. I think that you’ll find this a very exciting initiative that really speaks to the transformative potential that networked information will have on the practices of scholarship.
I look forward to seeing you in San Antonio this November for what promises to be another extremely worthwhile meeting. Please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Joan Lippincott, CNI’s Associate Director (email@example.com) if we can provide you with any additional information on the meeting.
Coalition for Networked Information