Spring 1998 Task Force Meeting
by CNI Executive Director Clifford Lynch
A Guide to the Spring 1998
Coalition for Networked Information
Task Force Meeting
The Spring 1998 CNI Task Force meeting offers a wide range of presentations that advance and report on CNI’s programs, showcase projects developed by Task Force member institutions, and highlight key activities in the broader field of Networked Information at a national and international level. This is intended to provide a roadmap to the sessions at the meeting, which includes an unusually large number of concurrent breakout sessions — a testimonial to the dynamic progress that is taking place in the field.
Along with keynote and breakout sessions, the meeting includes ample time for informal networking with colleagues and a reception on the evening of April 14. The CNI meeting is followed immediately with the Educom Net 98 meeting at the Hyatt New Jersey in Washington DC, which is co-sponsored by CNI. The Net 98 meeting begins on April 15 with a reception at Union Station; CNI meeting attendees who aren’t able to stay on for Net 98 are invited to attend the opening Net 98 reception. In addition, Highway 1 in Washington DC will be sponsoring demonstrations of advanced networking applications in conjunction with the Internet 2 project, and arrangements have been made to permit CNI attendees to visit these exhibits on the afternoon of April 15 after the close of the CNI meeting. Space at Highway 1 is very limited, and there are sign-up sheets for the exhibit visits at the registration desk. If you have not had an opportunity to see these exhibits recently, you’ll find them an eye-opening view of the applications that we can expect Internet 2 and the Next Generation Internet initiative, to enable, and I’d urge you to try to find time to attend them.
We will have two keynote speakers at the Spring CNI meeting.
The opening keynote will be from Michael Lesk, the recently-appointed Director of Information and Intelligent Systems at the National Science Foundation. Michael is on leave from Bellcore to NSF, and recently authored the book Practical Digital Libraries: Books, Bytes and Bucks. The ARPA/NASA/NSF digital libraries program, now in its final year, has played an important role in advancing our thinking about digital libraries and creating a digital libraries research community. Recently, NSF, in conjunction with ARPA and a number of other federal agencies, has announced Digital Libraries 2, the next phase of the Digital Libraries program, as well as the broad-based Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence (KDI) program; both of these will be major forces in shaping the direction of networked information in the coming years.
As well as giving the opening keynote, Michael has agreed to stay for a discussion breakout session, giving attendees an opportunity to discuss digital library issues in depth. There are also several other breakouts that are particularly relevant to the digital library area, including a session chaired by David Green of the National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage (NINCH) on the role of Humanities in the digital library programs, and a session from the University of Michigan — one of the six original digital library projects — on how work on their project is transitioning into operational systems at Michigan.
Closing the meeting on Wednesday we are fortunate to be able to hear from Professor Janet Murray of MIT. Janet, who is the author of the recent delightful and important book Hamlet on the Holodeck (which I highly recommend), will speak about the future of narrative forms in digital media. Her work offers important insights on new genres for digital documents and the construction of instructional technology content, as well as a fresh understanding of how we read and learn in the digital culture. Janet has a long and distinguished career which includes an extensive involvement in digital media, including work with the MIT Athena project.
Highlighted Breakout Sessions
I cannot cover all of the many breakout sessions here. However, I do want to highlight some specific sessions with close links to components of the CNI program for 1997-1998 and beyond.
There is a featured breakout session on the Educom National Learning Infrastructure Initiative (NLII) and the Instructional Management System (IMS) that they have been developing. This is a very important development from many perspectives: not only does the IMS represent a very sophisticated specialized digital library for interactive instructional media which raises some very complex and interesting questions about integration with other information resources, but the IMS raises serious questions about institutional readiness and implementation strategies for the large scale deployment of instructional media. CNI is currently working with the IMS group to schedule several one day workshops in the coming months to explore these questions in more depth, and I believe that many attendees at the Spring Task Force meeting will want to attend this session to familiarize themselves with the initiative and to begin to consider what it means to their institutions.
The Spring Task Force meeting continues the focus on collaboration between higher education and the museum and cultural heritage communities, with reports on the progress of the AMICO and MDLC licensing consortia and a final report on the Museum Educational Site Licensing program. In addition, there will be a presentation by the UK Arts and Humanities Data Service, which has been doing pioneering work on the description and organization of networked information resources in various humanities disciplines.
In the area of standards and infrastructure, we will have a presentation on the CIC Z39.50 interoperability study, which will provide insight into the current state of the art in multi-vendor Z39.50 interoperability, which is central to the development of distributed union catalogs and other federated information resources. Identifiers for networked information continue to be an active topic; we will have a breakout session on the current status of the Digital Object Identifier being developed by the publishing community, and also an invited update from Leslie Daigle, the chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force working group on Uniform Resource Identifiers on the status of the URN framework, which is now virtually complete. We will have a report on Internet 2 developments. Finally, I will give an update on the status of the CNI Authentication initiative, and will distribute copies of the draft white paper on Authentication, Authorization and Access Management and dicuss next steps in this initiative. There is also a session on authentication strategies at the Triangle Research Libraries Network.
Initiatives in Transforming Organizations and Professions are well represented, with two sessions on CNI’s Institution Wide Information Strategies (IWIS) effort, a session reporting on the CNI project Assessing the Networked Environment project, and a look back at the now-complete New Learning Communities project and the lessons learned from it. Another session related to this theme looks at ARL’s work on campus information policies.
I also want to highlight a few other breakout sessions. We will hear from Stuart Lynn and Pru Adler on the new institutional liabilities that are being raised by a range of legislation currently under discussion in Congress or recently passed; this has important policy and planning implications for all of our institutions, and is a particularly troubling trend in a wide range of legislative initiatives. Several sessions will explore aspects of multi-lingual networked information, including both the development of multi-lingual networked resources and the underlying technology of Unicode. The SPARC scholarly publishing program of ARL will offer an update. Herb Lin of the National Research Council will update us on an NRC panel that is exploring the issues involved in information technology literacy, and will provide attendees with an opportunity to offer input to this process.
I am pleased that you are here in Washington for what promises to be an extremely valuable and stimulating meeting. As always, I welcome your input into the CNI program and I encourage you to communicate with me or Joan K. Lippincott, our Associate Director on any suggestions that you may have for us.
Coalition for Networked Information