A Guide to the CNI Fall 2003 Task Force Meeting
by Executive Director Clifford Lynch
We welcome CNI Task Force representatives and other participants to Portland, Oregon for the Coalition’s Fall 2003 Task Force Meeting. The meeting will be held at the Portland Hilton on December 8-9, 2003. In Portland this year we will offer a particularly rich and diverse set 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. Here is the “roadmap” to the meeting. We have a great deal to report on and to talk about.
As usual, the CNI meeting begins with an optional orientation session for new attendees — both representatives of new member organizations and new representatives or alternate delegates of existing member organizations — at 11:30 AM on Monday, December 8. Refreshments for all attendees will be available at 12:15 PM on Monday, December 8, followed by the opening plenary at 1:15 PM and several rounds of breakout sessions. The meeting wraps up with a closing plenary session concluding at 3:30 PM on Tuesday, December 9.
Along with plenary and breakout sessions, the meeting includes generous time for informal networking with colleagues and a reception on the evening of December 5. The reception will conclude by 7:30 PM, allowing time for attendees to explore the attractions of Portland, which is a new venue for our fall meeting following a number of years in San Antonio, Texas.
The Plenary Sessions
In what has now become a tradition, I have reserved the opening plenary session to address key developments in networked information, discuss progress on the Coalition’s agenda, and highlight initiatives from the 2003-2004 Program Plan. The Program Plan will be distributed at the meeting (and will be available on the Coalition’s Web site, www.cni.org by December 8). I look forward to sharing the Coalition’s strategy with you, as well as discussing current issues. The opening plenary will include time for questions and discussion, and I am eager to hear your comments.
We will be using the closing plenary session on Tuesday for a panel to discuss changes in disciplinary scholarly practices within the humanities that are being driven by the capabilities of advanced information technology and digital content. The panel will then try to use these evolving scholarly practices as a basis for sketching the outlines of cyberinfrastructure services that we will need to support the humanities in the coming decades. The panelists will highlight the unresolved questions that must be addressed to more fully specify functional requirements and development strategies for such an infrastructure. Those familiar with the work of the U.S. National Science Foundation’s committee on cyberinfrastructure for the support of science chaired by Dan Atkins of the University of Michigan – work that we have featured at earlier CNI Task Force meetings – will immediately recognize the parallelism with the work of Dan’s committee. One absolutely key question which we hope to shed light upon through this panel discussion is the extent to which common cyberinfrastructure can support both the sciences and the humanities, and what proportion of the infrastructure needs to be discipline-specific. Three eminent leaders of the community concerned with computing in the humanities and social sciences will be joining us for the panel: Professor John Unsworth of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; Professor Mark Kornbluh of Michigan State University, and Donald Waters of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Highlighted Breakout Sessions
I cannot cover all of the many breakout sessions here. However, as always I want to note some sessions that have strong connections to the Coalition’s 2003-2004 Program Plan and also a few other sessions of special interest. In particular, I want to note that many of these breakouts will not only inform participants, but also provide opportunities for participants to offer guidance in shaping ongoing initiatives; I’ve tried to specifically mention some of these opportunities for participation here.
The full schedule and abstracts (and in some cases, pointers to background materials) for all the breakout sessions are available now at the CNI Web site, and we will update these on an ongoing basis if any changes occur. We have a packed agenda of breakout sessions, and, recognizing that meeting participants will not always be able to attend all breakouts of interest, we will try to put additional material from as many of the sessions as possible on the CNI Web site following the meeting.
As part of our ongoing focus on creative and innovative faculty use of the new digital medium in teaching and research, we have a series of breakout sessions that feature this type of work, including contributions from faculty from the University of Oregon, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Brown University, the University of Washington, and the University of Southern California. Many of these projects are quite remarkable, and I am thrilled to be able to share them with you. As broader context for such faculty innovation, sessions examine support organizations, services and strategies at the University of Virginia, Brown University and Cornell. We also have a report from a campus-wide effort at the University of Washington to understand faculty needs for the support of digital scholarship.
Many sessions focus on learning objects and learning management systems, with an emphasis on how these developments connect to the broader picture. These include an update on NLII Learning Object efforts and two sessions discussing white papers: one (from the OCLC Task Force on E-learning and Libraries) deals with the role of libraries in e-learning, and the other (a joint CNI/IMS effort) focuses on more technical issues in the relationships between learning and information environments. In addition, we will have a presentation on a referatory supporting information literacy, and Joan Lippincott and Vicki Suter will lead a community discussion on potential future directions for the Transformative Assessment Program that CNI has been heavily involved in over the past few years.
I’m particularly pleased that we will be able to offer several important views on how developments from academic information technology may alter the networked information landscape. This includes a special panel featuring three of our leading Chief Information Officers (Ron Johnson of the University of Washington, Phil Long of Yale, and Gary Augustson of Pennsylvania State University) reflecting on the changing security environment and its implications. Also featured are a session describing the Chandler open-source personal information management initiative, which may open up new opportunities for exploring connections between personal information management and institutional or disciplinary information services, and an update on developments in the availability of licensed music services for the higher education environment.
We have two breakouts covering institutional repositories and archives, and an additional session dealing with the management and archiving of course records and materials. All of these sessions have been structured as comparative explorations of the strategies being articulated and implemented by multiple organizations, which should offer very rich insights into developments in these areas. Closely related to this are sessions on content management systems and on the collaborative video and multimedia consortium, the ResearchChannel at the University of Washington. Sessions will also update work on the deployment of the LOCKSS system and on JSTOR’s work on the economics of archiving scholarly journals. Denise Troll Covey of CMU will share her research results on obtaining copyright clearance for “orphaned” but still-copyrighted books; this is important both in developing strategies and framing arguments for possibly changing public policy.
I have long argued that collaborative filtering technologies offer great potential for libraries, and thus I’m particularly gratified to be able to feature a session on a joint faculty-library collaboration that includes Professor Jon Herlocker, one of the pioneers of recommender systems, reporting on work at Oregon State University in this area. Other developments in access technologies include an update on the deployment of the ARL Scholar’s portal project.
There are two sessions on the Shibboleth distributed authorization system. The first is a project update that will cover the very successful field trial deployments that have been underway over the past year, and the plans to expand those deployments. The second is a discussion session on the functional requirements for a new graphic administration tool that is under development to facilitate broader Shibboleth deployment.
Finally, there are a series of important sessions on digital library issues ranging from research agendas through technical infrastructure, as well as some illustrating aspects of specific projects (including the New York Public Library Image database and the ARTstor project). Of particular interest here is a presentation on architectural directions by Herbert Van de Sompel of Los Alamos National Labs, a discussion session on directions in persistent identifiers by John Kunze of the California Digital Library, and a session on the U.S. National Science Foundation “Post-Digital Libraries” research agenda workshop that was held in Cape Cod this summer led by Ron Larsen of the University of Pittsburgh.
I look forward to seeing you in Portland this December for what promises to be another stimulating and informative 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.