CNI Spring 1997 Task Force Meeting Summary Report
Imagine a world where a team of surgeons performs a liver transplant as dozens of medical students in 15 different world locations watch. The students are in an immersion environment; they feel as if they are in the same room, all having the same experience. They interact, asking questions throughout the procedure, and the surgeons query the students to make sure they are aware of the latest medical procedures and innovations. This remote telemedicine scenario is the promise of Internet 2 as illustrated by Ted Hanss, Applications Lead for the Internet 2 Project, during the CNI Spring Task Force Meeting, April 1 and 2. “Virtual lab support. Real-time chat with audio, video and text,” said Hanss. “We can’t do all of this today. What we can do is enhance network services and what we should do is enhance existing applications with new features.” Internet 2 Content Issues, the theme of the spring meeting, resonated throughout the discussions as 327 attendees attended plenary sessions, project briefings and issue collaboratories focusing on themes as diverse as digital libraries, cost centers and measures in the networked information value-chain, staff retraining, metadata and the Dublin Core, and the future of Java.
CNI Steering Committee Chair Richard West explained the importance of Internet 2 Content issues as they relate to CNI. “CNI is emphasizing Internet 2 Content Issues as this meeting’s program theme to focus attention on the importance of networked information content for the advanced applications that Internet 2 will enable,” said West. “The I2 initiative is the higher education community’s vehicle for realizing even more benefit from the network than we currently have.”
Internet 2 Content Issues
West then introduced the first two keynote speakers: William Graves, Interim Chief Information Officer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Clifford Lynch, Director of Library Automation at the University of California Office of the President. Graves is chair and Lynch is a member of the Internet 2 Applications Working Group.
During his address, Graves asserted, “It’s the application stupid,” alluding to the political slogan “It’s the economy stupid.” Graves explained that Internet 2 is not about building a network, but instead the focus is on applications. Graves then discussed the economic plan behind Internet 2 by first examining the four phases of a product’s life cycle: research, incubate, product, and commodity. The research and incubation stage are the pre-commercial stages, whereas the product and commodity stages are the commercial stages. “Internet 2 is an actual production network within the limited scope of 100 institutions. By connecting these 100 institutions, Internet 2 can provide the groundwork for the next level, the commercial sector,” said Graves. “We want the Internet 2 project to become a commercial success and even a commodity so that it can reach every home.” The Internet 2 project design is intended to replicate the successful evolution of ARPANET to NSFNet, to the commercial Internet, and then to today’s commodity Internet.
William Graves also stated the Internet 2 Project should develop middleware to support multicasting, applications sharing, and synchronous communications. “The Internet 2 Project should explore middleware in a high-bandwidth, low-latency, quality-of-service enabled network environment,” said Graves.
Finally, Graves stated that collaboration is one of the most powerful ideas behind Internet 2. Through the collaboration of the 100 member institutions, the project committee hope to demonstrate Internet 2 by 1998.
Clifford Lynch followed Graves’ presentation with a discussion of the details behind applications and the Internet 2 project. “Internet 2 is a testbed for interesting applications we can only hint at in the current Internet; but there are not enough capacities such as bandwidth to explore these applications presently,” said Lynch. “The Internet 2 project will allow us to advance applications to the mainstream, and we will be able to start building links between collaborative environments and digital libraries.”
According to Lynch, key Internet 2 project goals include reliability, quality of service, adequate bandwidth, and authentication. He stated that at this phase of development, designers will develop applications differently than they did a few years ago. Presently, the network is becoming part of the networked information community’s engineering.
“There are many people within my organization that have the view that Internet 2 is some separate private network and this presentation clarified that it’s not,” said Jeff Kovalousky, Manager, Client Support Services, Information Systems and Computing, Rochester Institute of Technology.
Global Issues in the Next Generation Internet (NGI)
Ira Magaziner, Senior Advisor to the United States President for Policy Development, then spoke about the Clinton administration’s position on the development of global electronic commerce on the Internet. “The advent of the Internet offers us a tremendous potential to increase world trade in such products as educational programming service, health care, news, and databases,” said Magaziner.
Magaziner, who is finalizing a draft document outlining the government’s strategy for promoting development of commerce on the Internet, discussed issues of taxation and duties, intellectual property, privacy, and Internet content. According to Magaziner, the government will advocate that the private sector should lead in driving electronic commerce. “Those who want to do business should be able to do whatever they want and within whatever terms they specify,” said Magaziner. “But we should be able to attach certain attributes to our transmission and should be able to signal a desire to form a contract that exists within the UCC (the Uniform Commercial Code) and then ultimately create an International UCC for the Internet.”
Regarding the issue of privacy, Magaziner stated that a year-long discussion of the appropriate protection of databases will be conducted before the government forms a position. He also stated the government does not believe content should be censored on the Internet. “Rating systems and software filters could be developed. We need to empower individuals to make decisions rather than have the government make decisions for them,” explained Magaziner. The draft Magaziner is finalizing can be found at <http://www.iitf.nist.gov/electronic_commerce.htm>.
“It was interesting to have Magaziner give the administration’s perspective when the administration seems to have multiple perspectives. It clarified things somewhat, but left some things unclear,” stated Howard A. Besser, Visiting Associate Professor, School of Information Management and Systems, University of California at Berkeley. David Bishop, University Librarian, Northwestern University, had a slightly different impression of Magaziner’s address, “He did a great job, especially discussing the conflict within the government. He seemed to be forthright and he didn’t gloss things over as you might expect.”
First set of Project Briefings/Issue Collaboratories
The meeting’s project briefings and issue collaboratories were thought-provoking, exciting, and fresh, according to many attendees. “I’ve heard it for many years from various people and I heard it again today — I could miss any conference, but I couldn’t miss a CNI task force meeting because of the content,” said Neal Kaske, Manager, Engineering and Physical Sciences Library, University of Maryland at College Park.
Presenters, such as Ed Fox, who hosted the project briefing on publishers and electronic theses also found hosting a briefing beneficial. “Universities can hear about the progress of the project and share their insights and discussions. Corporations and other organizations can also benefit from discussions here,” said Fox, Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. Fox’s project briefing discussed the multi-partner effort underway to have all graduate theses made accessible electronically. The project, entitled the National Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, is being funded by the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) and the US Department of Education.
Another key project briefing was CNI’s new initiative, Institution-Wide Information Strategies (IWIS). IWIS’ goal is to promote institution-wide strategies in several key areas of networked information resource and service development. “The focus of this initiative is on information – its use, its users, and the strategic allocation of resources in support of networked information across the entire institution,” said project briefing host and CNI Visiting Program Officer, Gerry Bernbom. “There was an outstanding discussion of this initiative at the briefing.” Greg Anderson, Director, IT Discovery, MIT Information Systems found the IWIS question and answer session useful, stating: “I found the briefing valuable because of the wide variety of interest in IWIS, especially during the question and answer session which gave those who may have an interest in the initiative some new ideas. Participation in CNI through this initiative will be useful in all campuses.”
The purpose of the Internet 2 Applications and Middleware project briefing, hosted by Ted Hanss, Applications Lead for the Internet 2 Project, was to get as much feedback as possible from attendees. “We’re still completely in the formation stage and we want to expose our thinking to as many people as possible to help form our strategy,” said Hanss. During the briefing, Hanss discussed the many possibilities of Internet 2 including improving productivity by adding interactive feedback and such innovative concepts as multi-party audio and video.
One of the project’s goals, according to Hanss is enhancing the Internet through a network that features, from end to end, quality of service guarantees such as bandwidth reservation, reliability, and packet priority. Hanss also explained that project leaders are envisioning methods to deploy the middleware necessary for the next generation distributed knowledge system by considering both technical and policy implications. “What we can do today is to enhance network service and we should enhance existing applications with new features,” said Hanss. “Internet 2 is a production development network that is committed to allowing people to do application experiments.”
The briefing entitled Networking Cultural Heritage: The State of the Art with Moving Images provided an up-to-the-minute assessment of present and future innovation in cultural heritage moving images. David Green, Executive Director of NINCH elaborated on the goal of the briefing: “Although widespread deployment of online film and video will depend on Internet 2 development, this session demonstrated the work that is being done in readiness–locating and saving deteriorating footage as well as sharing cataloging and discovery information.”
The issue collaboratories, held at the same time as project briefings, also proved useful to attendees. One of the collaboratories, Shared Points of Service, dealt with the question: How are institutions designing and implementing “shared service points” which integrate information resources and services from multiple providers (library, computing, media, or other) to better serve their constituents? “The questions posed and the suggestions given at this session got me thinking about many future projects. The session was extremely helpful to me,” said Anthony D. Conto, Acting Associate Director for Information Technology at the University of Maryland at College Park.
Helen Samuels, Special Assistant to the Associate Provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also found moderating an issue collaboratory useful: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to bring a topic that to many in this community does not seem to get enough attention. There are significant risks associated with the long-term access to and use of electronic records and we are pleased CNI is including it in their agenda.” Samuels, along with Jeannie Kellam, Data Analyst and Indiana University, moderated the issue collaboratory entitled Managing Electronic Records: A Partnership of Archivists and IT Professionals. Kellam found the collaboration inherent in the collaboratory most beneficial: “As IT professionals we need to continue working with other groups like librarians, archivists, and auditors. Sessions like this help raise awareness.”
Intellectual Property and the Next Generation Internet
Attendees were greeted with a discussion of Intellectual Property and the Next Generation Internet during the second morning of the CNI Task Force Meeting. James G. Neal, Director, Johns Hopkins University’s Milton S. Eisenhower Library, began his engaging keynote address with an outline of methods to best achieve a balance between the rights of copyright owners and users. Neal then reviewed the key interests and needs of the academic research community including issues of content, access, convenience, and productivity of individuals and organizations. “The ability to work through these issues will determine part of the success of Internet 2,” said Neal. “Internet 2 work is a stepping stone to a rational compromise on critical intellectual property issues.”
Neal also discussed the recent World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) conference, where he served as an American delegate. He emphasized the conference was “an important battle in the copyright frontier.” WIPO’s goal is the promotion of the protection of intellectual property throughout the world. The organization carries out this goal through various multilateral treaties dealing with the legal and administrative aspects of intellectual property.
Attorney Jonathan Band, a partner in the Washington DC law offices of Morrison & Foerster, followed Neal’s address with a discussion of database issues. After a brief history of database protection, Band examined recent developments, specifically arguments in favor and against sui generis protection of databases.
Arguments in favor of the protection include the ability to protect investments in databases and prevent European predation. Arguments against sui generis protection include the fact that adequate protection already exists in the form of copyrights, the existence of technological protective measures, and the fact that there is no European predation presently. The non-profit skeptics, as Band termed those groups who were not in favor of sui generis protection, include the scientific community, librarians, educators, genealogists and sports enthusiasts. Band then discussed the future of database protection, stating that although the database provisions of the WIPO treaty were not adopted, US officials still want it to remain on the agenda.
Adrian Alexander, Senior Manager, Strategic Development, Faxon Company, Inc, found Band’s discussion of sui generis protection enlightening: “I didn’t know enough about the sui generis approach to database protection and his (Band’s) discussion helped to define some important issues for me.” Edward Krol, Assistant Director, Computing and Communications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was impressed by the overall positive tone of the copyright keynote addresses: ” The two speakers gave an upbeat, balanced approach.” Gerry Munoff, Deputy Director, University Library, University of Chicago concurred: “I thought the speakers gave a good overview and they brought together a number of important issues.” Munoff added, “It is my experience that CNI meetings are usually very good and people have a high expectation because they’re usually very active and vital.”
Second Day Project Briefings
The National Digital Library Federation (NDLF): Testbed Project Update briefing examined the major ongoing programs and projects of the NDLF. The four major projects are: Making of America, Part II; Advanced Papryolodical Information System; Social Sciences Digital Library Consortium; and Berkeley/Columbia Digital Scriptorium. “NDLF emphasizes infrastructure not superstructure and collaboration and autonomy of local institutions,” said Acting Program Director Tony Angiletta. Angiletta explained that the project hopes to act as a clearinghouse as well as an endorser, a standards and practices advocate, and a non-exclusive and not-for-profit joint venture. “It is not a digital library research project,” stressed Dale Flecker, Associate Director for Planning and Systems, Harvard University Library. “It’s an opportunity to begin to design a digital library and build an infrastructure.”
The Java Futures and Networked Information project briefing was hosted by Sun Microsystems’ Java Evangelist, Prashant Sridharan. Sridharan discussed the future of Java and its impact on the spread of information in a networked environment. Of particular interest to attendees was Sridharan’s discussion of Java Beans, a compact Java component architecture. “A view of the future of Java is sometimes difficult to get off the Internet. This speaker is a person that is intimately involved. We already know what currently exists, but learning about the future is very important,” said Larry Rapagnani, Associate Provost for Information Technologies, University of Notre Dame.
Jill Arnold, Director of Corporate and External Relations, University of Michigan commented that CNI should continue to host innovative project briefings such as the Java briefing, stating “This is a really important concept for those management information professionals to understand. We also need to raise the discussion up to what does this model mean for higher education, and if you’re delivering instructions by a bunch of beans coming together what are the implications?”
Final Project Briefings and Issue Collaboratories
The project briefing on authentication surveyed the emerging issues and possible technical solutions, and offered a forum both for sharing experience in developing approaches to these problems and for discussing the need for a possible large scale initiatives to address the issues. “There is an urgency to discuss authentication because within the next several years many institutions will have to make the decision as to whether publisher provided access to scholarly journals will replace print journals in our libraries,” said Project Briefing moderator Clifford Lynch. “Campus-wide authentication systems are permanently everyone’s third priority project.” Lynch emphasized that institutions should require an acceptable authentication scheme that speaks to the quasi anonymity of users instead of total anonymity. The attendees then discussed technical approaches that might be used to attack the authentication problem.
The New Information Professional
Jose-Marie Griffiths, Chief Information Officer and Executive Director of the Information Technology Division at the University of Michigan and Geraldine MacDonald, Vice President, America Online Operations discussed their view of the new information professional during the final plenary session.
Griffiths, who was recently appointed to the US National Commission on Libraries and Information Science by President Clinton, defined three major qualities of the new information professional: a pioneer spirit, a collaborative outlook, and ability to juggle and manage the unknown. Griffths also stressed that “We need to be learning professionals in order to keep up.” She added, ” We need to continue networking and keep up with our professional associations. CNI has been particularly strong in this arena.” Griffiths also gave a different perspective to the core role of information professionals explaining that the role is not simply as providers of a service, but instead it embodies helping constituents do what they do better. As she concluded her address, Griffiths emphasized that “today is the time for the information professional” not only because of all the activity occurring in the networked culture, but because information professionals are so vital to this activity.
MacDonald began her address by explaining her responsibilities at America Online, specifically the fact that the company receives 250 billion Web hits a day. MacDonald then examined three fictitious students working towards degrees in Economics, English and Computer Science, respectively. She assessed each of the students’ positive and negative attributes and then the basic skills AOL looks for in an employee including: analytical, writing and problem solving skills, and the ability to be self-motivated.
After the addresses by Griffiths and MacDonald, Interim Executive Director Joan K. Lippincott adjourned the CNI Spring Task Force Meeting.
Louise Ann Fisch, Coordinator of Communications