A Guide to the CNI Fall 2007 Task Force Meeting
by Executive Director Clifford Lynch
The Fall 2007 CNI Task Force meeting offers a wide range of presentations that advance and report on CNI’s programs, showcase projects underway at Task Force member institutions, and highlight important national and international developments. Here is the “roadmap” to the sessions at the meeting, which includes both plenary events and an extensive series of breakout sessions focusing on current developments in networked information. As always, we have strived to present sessions that reflect late-breaking developments and also take advantage of our venue in Washington, DC to provide opportunities to interact with policy makers and funders.
As usual, the CNI meeting proper is preceded by an optional orientation session for new attendees — both representatives of new member organizations and new representatives or alternate delegates from existing member organizations — at 11:30 AM; guests are also welcome. Refreshments are available for all at 12:15 PM on Monday, December 10. The opening plenary is at 1:15 PM and will be followed by two rounds of parallel breakout sessions. Tuesday, December 11, includes additional rounds of parallel breakout sessions, lunch and the closing keynote, concluding around 3:30 PM. Along with plenary and breakout sessions, the meeting includes generous break time for informal networking with colleagues and a reception which will run till 7:00 PM on the evening of Monday, December 10, after which participants can enjoy a wide range of dining opportunities in the Washington area.
In conjunction with our meeting, CNI is co-sponsoring the 3rd International Digital Curation Conference, which will also be held at the Renaissance Washington; it opens with a reception on the evening of December 11 and runs through December 13. Separate, fee registration is required. Information is at http://www.dcc.ac.uk/events/dcc-2007/.
The CNI meeting agenda is subject to last minute changes, particularly in the breakout sessions, and you can find the most current information on our Web site, www.cni.org and on the announcements board near the registration desk at the meeting.
The Plenary Sessions
Following tradition, I have reserved the opening plenary session to address key developments in networked information, discuss progress on the Coalition’s agenda, and highlight selected initiatives from the 2007-2008 Program Plan. The Program Plan will be distributed at the meeting (and will be available electronically on the Coalition’s Web site, www.cni.org around December 10). I look forward to sharing the Coalition’s continually evolving 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.
The opening plenary will also include the presentation of the second Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Awards for Technology Collaboration. These awards recognize non-profit organizations that have demonstrated exceptional leadership in the collaborative development of open source software through the contribution of substantial self-funded organizational resources. You can find out more about the awards, and the stellar award jury (which includes several recipients of CNI’s Paul Evan Peters award) at http://matc.mellon.org/. The awards will be presented by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
The closing plenary, scheduled to start at 2:15 PM on Tuesday, will be given by Dr. Timo Hannay, the Publishing Director for Nature.com. The Nature Publishing Group has been at the forefront of a wide range of experiments helping to define the future of the scholarly journal in the digital world; they’ve worked with new models of peer review, the accommodation of text mining, issues involving the linkages between data and articles that are going to be increasingly common in an e-science environment, and linkages to social software environments. I’m delighted that Timo can join us to report on these important experiments, to discuss what has and hasn’t worked, and to share his thinking about the future of the scholarly communications process.
Highlighted Breakout Sessions
I will not attempt to comprehensively summarize the wealth of breakout sessions here. However, I want to note particularly some sessions that have strong connections to the Coalition’s 2007-2008 Program Plan and also a few other sessions of special interest, and to provide some additional context for a few sessions that may be helpful to attendees in making session choices. We have a packed agenda of breakout sessions, and as always will try to put material from these sessions on our Web site following the meeting for those who were unable to attend.
Work on issues related to institutional repositories, discipline-related repositories, and management of locally produced scholarship is becoming more mature and responsive to disciplinary needs. A number of sessions will report on initiatives related to the management of data in repositories; these will include a session describing three inter-related Australian initiatives to support institutional e-research, one on the eCrystals Federation in the UK, and one on a data cyberinfrastructure collaboration between the University of California San Diego Library and the San Diego Supercomputer Center.
The support of the life sciences in an e-science environment is particularly demanding in terms of requirements to interconnect various types of databases with each other and with the literature. We will feature two sessions in this area. The National Library of Medicine will report on a project to link a number of genotype and phenotype databases. A second session focusing on two biology-related projects will include discussion of a distributed digital repository of biological data and a biodiversity heritage library that will, among other things, link literature to taxonomic, geographic, or other relevant databases.
Another session that will focus on scientific initiatives will be presented by Lee Dirks of Microsoft Research; he will provide an overview of his organization’s work and invite attendees to influence the future direction of Microsoft’s efforts in this arena.
Other sessions will examine some of the technical implementation issues related to repositories. Herbert Van de Sompel, Carl Lagoze, and their colleagues will describe their Mellon-funded OAI-ORE project to work on cross-repository interoperability, which follows on from a workshop that CNI co-sponsored last year. The University of Maryland will discuss the technical challenges of implementing a Fedora-based digital library repository that includes a number of object types. We will have a session on the newly constituted Fedora Commons, which will evolve the Fedora repository framework and build a new model of community participation.
Two projects will describe collaborative initiatives to build digital libraries, one in Texas, highlighting a federated search tool, and one in Memphis, Tennessee, focusing on the use of the digital library in teaching and learning and in the surrounding community. A briefing on a project to develop a massive 2D and 3D dataset from cultural heritage sites in China will be described, and we will be treated to images from the project. We will also have an update on the Digital Library Federation’s Aquifer initiative, focusing on their project on American Social History.
A session on use of the Nutch/Lucerne open source tool to generate search indexes of archival Web content of very large sites, such as those of national libraries and archives, will be presented by the Internet Archive.
A variety of challenges raised by the large-scale National Science Digital Library (NSDL) are being studied at Columbia University, and we will learn about what they are finding in their examinations of three separate issues related to NSDL: editorial enhancement of content, virtual learning worlds, and use of a community sign-on for identity management.
Use of Shibboleth as authentication and access control in a Texas federation will be described, and the policy, business practice, and user experience issues of implementing Shibboleth on five campuses will also be highlighted.
Recent developments in intellectual property policy and legislation, including discussion of digital fair use, orphan works, and e-reserves, along with the work of the Section 108 Study Group convened by the Library of Congress, will be presented by James Neal of Columbia University. OCLC will highlight results of a study of how libraries involved in large-scale digitization efforts are approaching copyright issues; they will also discuss what they have found about public domain works in those collections in comparison to in-copyright titles, and foster dialogue about potential discovery and delivery services of digital content.
A number of initiatives are examining or implementing new models of publishing in the digital environment. A researcher from Johns Hopkins will present a survey and evaluation of various open source electronic publishing systems such as DPubS, GNU EPrints, Open Journal Systems, and others. One of the key developers of the Public Knowledge Project will present an overview of the software’s journal and conference capabilities and plans for future development. A project at the Rochester Institute of Technology is developing an application for converting selected wiki content for output into portable documents.
We will have some interesting sessions on digital preservation, including one on international perspectives and one on a project funded by the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, MetaArchive. In addition, a session on the Global Digital Format Registry will describe some of the technical infrastructure essential for preservation initiatives.
A number of sessions will explore what types of services today’s information users, seekers, and creators need and how libraries and information technology providers are innovating to meet those needs. Indiana University and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis are collaborating with ChaCha Search, Inc. to offer a new service designed to integrate machine-based search with skilled human guides to respond to online queries. The University of Pennsylvania held a video mashup contest in conjunction with a university-wide reading of Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture; we will learn about the project and see some of the student videos. A program at Ohio University employing Internet voice and video to deliver real-time services in libraries will be described. Developing new ways of integrating library content and services into course Web sites or departmental Web sites will be discussed by Oregon State University and Syracuse University.
Two briefings will report on implementations of enhancements of library catalogs to include recommender features — one in a German university scientific library and LibraryThing at San Francisco State University; a briefing by the State & University Library (Aarhus, Denmark) will describe the Summa open source search system, a discovery layer which is separate from the library catalog’s business layer and allows increased flexibility.
Two sessions will describe plans for innovative, technology-intensive facilities; one at Indiana University will focus on building an environment with specialized services for faculty and graduate students; one at George Mason University will offer a range of services to students and faculty, focusing on the convergence of information literacy, technology fluency, and media literacy.
CNI works closely with a number of other organizations, and we will have forums on some important initiatives including a report from the Association of College and Research Libraries on their efforts to coordinate the compilation of a research agenda for scholarly communication and an update on the Modern Language Association’s Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion, which includes issues related to digital scholarship. In these sessions, participants will be encouraged to provide critiques and feedback on the reports.
Finally, let me mention just three other sessions. Roger Schonfeld of Ithaka will present the findings of a study of citation patterns of journal articles that are in digital form versus those that are available only in print; this study seeks to take a deeper look into the use of digital collections, focusing on the use of digital journal collections by scholars since most studies conflate use statistics that include both researcher and student access. Ken Klingenstein of Internet2 and the University of Colorado, Boulder and Lois Brooks of Stanford University will challenge librarians and information professionals to take a leadership role in helping the campus community to more effectively deploy emerging collaboration tools and to address issues, such as privacy, that accompany their implementation; they are hoping for a lively and thought-provoking discussion. John Unsworth, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will moderate a panel of representatives from digital humanities centers, seeking to understand their role and contribution to e-scholarship in light of the American Council of Learned Society’s report on Cyberinfrastructure in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
There is much more, and I invite you to browse the complete list of breakout sessions on the CNI Web site; session abstracts will be available by December 5th. In many cases you will find these abstracts include pointers to reference material that you may find useful to explore prior to the session, and after the meeting, we will add material from the actual presentations when it is available to us.
I welcome you to Washington, DC 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 or if you have comments on the meeting.