A Guide to the CNI Spring 2007 Task Force Meeting
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, April 16. The opening plenary is at 1:15 PM and will be followed by two rounds of parallel breakout sessions. Tuesday, April 16, 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 until 7:15 PM on the evening of Monday, April 16, after which participants can enjoy a free evening in Phoenix.
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
Our opening plenary on Monday will be by Columbia University Art History and Archaeology Professor Stephen Murray. Stephen’s work, which involves intensive documentation of French churches of the Middle Ages, is intellectually engaging and visually stunning. But it is even more stunning, and more significant, as an extraordinary example of how the application of advanced information technology in the humanities can move beyond simply enhancing access to evidence to enable truly new and important scholarship. Stephen’s project also makes integral use of collaborations with teams of student helpers and suggests fascinating new interconnections between the processes of teaching, learning and research in the humanities.
I was deeply impressed when I had an opportunity to see Stephen’s work recently, and immediately wanted to make it more visible to the CNI community. I’m delighted that Stephen is able to join us and share his insights.
Marc Smith of Microsoft Research will provide our closing plenary on Tuesday, titled “Pictures of Traces of Places, People, and Groups.” Marc, who is a sociologist by training, has been exploring, measuring, mapping, and visualizing social cyberspaces and the activities that occur within them. This multi-faceted work connects to a wide range of important questions, ranging from the organization and documentation of virtual organizations in an e-research setting through the new ways in which emergent social media (including mobile technologies) are being developed and used by the public. His work also has important implications for the development of learning spaces.
I believe that you’ll find the opportunity to engage with Marc’s thinking to be highly thought provoking, and I hope that it will expand your own thinking about virtual environments.
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 2006-2007 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. I do realize that choosing among so many interesting concurrent sessions can be frustrating, and as always we will try to put material from the breakout sessions on our Web site following the meeting.
Institutional repositories have been an important part of CNI’s agenda for a number of years, and I thought this would be an appropriate time to revisit some of the more mature efforts to see what they have been learning. We will have a panel of representatives from the institutional repository programs at MIT, University of Virginia, and University of Toronto to address these questions, with a particular emphasis on the developing role of the repository within the institution; I will moderate this session.
We will also have a session on DSpace as a software system, reporting both on the system’s architectural review and the establishment of the Dspace Federation to manage the open source development of the software. The Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories (APSR) will report on the development of the national repository system in Australia and its role within broader national initiatives. Case Western Reserve University and Stanford will each have sessions on their institutional repositories, highlighting novel aspects of repository design, implementation and development.
Curation of large data sets is emerging as a major issue, and many CNI institutions are looking at the policy and implementation issues they must address to play a role in this arena. Cornell’s Mann Library will describe pilot projects managing linguistic and ecological research data; Michigan’s ICPSR and Georgetown will explore issues related to social science data and electronic theses and dissertations.
Other sessions will explore preservation concerns, including work at NYU, funded through the NDIIPP Program, on preserving digital public television; this will include a discussion of DSpace-Storage Request Broker (SRB) integration and repository architecture. A presentation by New York Public Library will explore the tension between public service needs and preservation needs within digital repositories. David Rosenthal and Vicky Reich of the LOCKSS project look at fundamental — and in my view badly under-examined — questions in the preservation of large databases.
Building and sharing collections of digital content will be explored from a number of vantage points. I am very pleased that Paul Courant — familiar to the CNI community as the former Provost and now recently appointed University Librarian at the University of Michigan — will provide an update on their work with the Google Book Search Digitization Program. We’ll also hear about an important new, multi-institutional project called MONK (building on an earlier project called Nora) to support a wide range of interaction modalities for a large corpus of English texts; in a real sense, this project helps us to understand the contours of humanities cyberinfrastructure. We will also have a briefing on the edition production and presentation technology (EPPT), which is a set of XML-based tools designed to assist humanists in developing scholarly editions that combine image facsimiles and marked-up transcriptions of works.
In a report on the Ithaka-based Aluka project, we will learn about this collaborative initiative to build a scholarly resource from and about Africa. At Purdue University, they are exploring strategies for fusing current GIS data with hundred-year-old maps and texts that they are digitizing. The University of Washington will describe their project using links to integrate their digital collections into Wikipedia.
As always, there’s strong interest in how technology and organizational strategies can work together to facilitate community-based collaborations, and we can see this theme in many sessions. Representatives from ARTstor and the J. Paul Getty Trust will explore how the educational community might take a more collaborative approach to sharing image content for teaching and study. We will have an update on the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and its efforts to build social networking and collaboration tools. Two project briefings will focus on work with Semantic Web technologies: one from Germany is developing a question-answering system and a Web service for the semantic annotation of texts, and the other, at the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI) uses Semantic Web technologies, visualization, and other information retrieval techniques applied to library resources. Using XML, the University of Southern California is developing, through the Gandhara Project, tools and services for library information systems that will better integrate a variety of collections of content. And the University of California, Los Angeles and Stanford will provide perspectives on the sometimes contentious questions involved in adopting community and open source software solutions. Finally, Peter Brantley, the newly appointed Director of the Digital Library Federation (DLF), will discuss new strategic directions for that organization, which also stress multi-institutional collaborative frameworks such as DLF’s Aquifer project.
We will have an update on the Open Archives Initiative Object Re-Use and Exchange (OAI-ORE) Project, which is now well into its technical work with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Fundamental architectural ideas in this program seem to be maturing quickly, and this will be a good opportunity to both learn about and provide comment on these developments.
The Shibboleth distributed authorization system has gained considerable momentum over the past year, with the formation of national-level trust federations in Europe, and the implementation of the protocol by a number of major information suppliers around the world. We will have a session focusing specifically on the technical and organizational status of Shibboleth and trust federations and the remaining barriers to large-scale production adoption of the system (particularly in the United States). Ken Klingenstein will also lead a second session dealing more broadly with the role of libraries in the development and deployment of collaboration technologies in the research and higher education communities, with some emphasis on the implications of infrastructure services such as identity and trust management.
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. Delivering new types of services in technology-enabled physical spaces is an important aspect of many institutions’ engagement with students and their learning. CNI’s Joan Lippincott will explore trends in information commons, and the University of Rochester will report on their work with a Herman Miller information-gathering technique that will inform their planning for a major library renovation. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will discuss the multi-faceted roles of gaming as learning, in research, and as part of library collections. Georgetown University will feature a community-based learning initiative that includes student development of online posters and a peer-reviewed online journal. Nancy John of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Ed Valauskas of the journal First Monday will explore library-based publishing services and supporting technology that allow the sustained operation of very low cost, high quality open access scholarly journals.
Faculty perspectives will be covered in a briefing from Ithaka, which will report on its 2006 survey of faculty and their views of electronic research and teaching resources; they’ll also compare this data with similar studies in 2000 and 2003 to help us understand how these views are evolving over time. The University of California, San Francisco and University of Washington will report on assessment activities that were used to better understand faculty preferences for library resources, services, and physical spaces in biomedical and health science disciplines.
The New Media Consortium, in conjunction with the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, produces the annual Horizon Report, which identifies six technologies likely to impact teaching, learning, and creative expression within higher education and suggests their adoption time frames; they will describe their findings and share reaction to their 2007 report.
“Podcasting” (the management and dissemination of audio recordings) is now well established as a tool for teaching and learning, and a base of best practices and experience on developing infrastructure to support this — along with an appropriate policy and administrative framework — is now well developed. Representatives from Indiana University and Duke University will describe experience in this area.
A key issue in service delivery and administrative and financial strategy on campuses is the relationship between central IT organizations and those in colleges, departments, or other units; there is evidence that, for better or worse, a strong decentralization trend has been underway in the last decade. Jack McCredie, in his role as an EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR) fellow and drawing on his earlier experience as CIO of the University of California, Berkeley, has been exploring these issues and will share his perspectives. I think that this is a particularly important set of developments that the library community can also gain insight from, particularly as they face the new service delivery challenges of supporting e-research across the campus.
Finally, three sessions will provide opportunities for attendees to hear viewpoints on and discuss how we should shape our institutions for the future. As a follow- on to an invitational summit on technology, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is conducting a wide-reaching discussion about the best ways for academic libraries to address technology issues. David Lewis of Indiana University/Purdue University of Indianapolis has written a paper presenting a strategy for academic libraries for the next twenty years and will seek participant comments. The Canadian Heritage Information Network will discuss how new and emerging technology opportunities can help museums transform their business practices.
There is much more, and I invite you to browse the complete list of breakout sessions and their full abstracts at the CNI Web site. 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 look forward to seeing you in Phoenix 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.