A Guide to the Fall 2014
Coalition for Networked Information Membership Meeting
The Fall 2014 CNI Membership Meeting, to be held at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC on December 8 and 9, offers a wide range of presentations that advance and report on CNI’s programs, showcase projects underway at member institutions, and highlight important national and international developments. Here is the “roadmap” to the meeting, which includes both plenary events and an extensive series of breakout sessions focusing on current developments in digital information. As always, we have strived to present sessions that reflect late-breaking developments and also take advantage of our venue in the Washington, DC area 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 and presenters are also welcome. Refreshments are available for all at 12:15 PM on Monday, December 8. The opening plenary is at 1:15 PM and will be followed by three rounds of parallel breakout sessions. Tuesday, December 9, includes three additional rounds of parallel breakout sessions, lunch and the closing plenary, 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 Monday evening, December 8, after which participants can enjoy a wide range of dining opportunities in Washington.
This is going to be one of our largest meetings to date both in terms of registration and the number of breakout sessions, so you’ll have many opportunities to meet colleagues old and new. As part of our commitment to supporting leadership development within our community, we have once again invited the current Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and Association of Research Libraries (ARL) fellows to join us.
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 website, cni.org, and on the announcements board near the registration desk at the meeting.
We expect to have free wireless access available throughout the meeting; those staying in the CNI hotel room block at the Hilton should also have free wireless access in their rooms. Details will be available at registration.
The Plenary Sessions
We will depart with tradition at this meeting, and instead of giving my usual talk at the start of the meeting, I will be doing this at the concluding session. We will begin the meeting with a conversation, in which I will talk with three colleagues about the changing landscape of information systems in higher education, focusing on community source, shared platforms and systems as services. The colleagues who will join me are James Hilton, Dean of Libraries and Vice Provost for Digital Educational Initiatives at the University of Michigan; he has been in leadership positions in a number of inter-organizational collaborations such as the Digital Preservation Network (DPN) and HathiTrust. Michele Kimpton, Chief Executive Officer of DuraSpace, Inc., has served as the leader of a key community source activity that includes DSpace, Fedora, VIVO, and network-based storage services. Tom Cramer, Chief Technology Strategist at Stanford University, has been a leader, an active participant and developer in a wide array of community platform initiatives. My intent is that this conversation will assist the CNI community in understanding issues like diversity, stability, resilience of the emerging landscape as some community source projects morph into shared, network-based services, the shifting loci of innovation and expertise, the changing role of standards, and the implications of changes in the rate of innovation and deployment. I believe this will be an important and timely conversation that will help our member institutions with their strategic planning and collaboration strategies, and it will include time for questions from the audience.
During the closing plenary, scheduled to start at 2:15 PM on Tuesday, I want to look at recent developments and the ways in which the landscape is changing, building in part on what we’ve learned from the opening conversation, and to outline some key developments I expect to see in the coming years. As part of this, I’ll discuss progress on the Coalition’s agenda, and highlight selected initiatives from the 2014-2015 Program Plan. The Program Plan will be distributed at the meeting (and will be available electronically on the Coalition’s website, cni.org, by December 8). I look forward to sharing the Coalition’s continually evolving strategy with you, as well as discussing recent events and current issues. The closing plenary will include time for questions and discussion, and I am eager to hear your comments.
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 2014-2015 Program Plan, as well as a few other sessions of special interest or importance, and to provide some additional context that may be helpful to attendees in making choices. We have a packed agenda of breakout sessions, and, as always, will try to put material from these sessions on our website following the meeting for those who were unable to attend. We will also be capturing a few sessions for later distribution, some using traditional video capture and some using a voice over visuals capture system.
Many CNI member institutions are developing a range of capabilities and organizational strategies related to research data management (including strategies for dealing with big data and services addressing data curation and preservation and the support for new scholarly practices (e-research). Our meeting sessions range from international initiatives to campus programs addressing the needs of researchers with relatively small collections of data. I am very pleased that we will have Phil Bourne, the recently-appointed first Associate Director of Data Science at the National Institutes of Health, providing an update on the Commons, a conceptual framework for the development of a system where research objects (datasets, software, research papers, experiment descriptions, and so on) are readily accessible and shareable by various stakeholders. Another key development is the SHARE initiative, a cross-institutional coordination framework to insure access to the products of federally funded research, in particular publications and the data underlying published research. SHARE is a collaboration between ARL, the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and we will have an update on developments in this project.
Additional sessions on data and e-research include:
- Managing Research Data, in which representatives from three universities and DuraSpace will provide a high level overview of a number of issues.
- Development of the Small Data Collections Archiving Service, a new program at Johns Hopkins University that addresses scholarly data at a much neglected part of the scale distribution.
- Under the Mattress, which will address the concerns of confidential data storage in regards to information collected by faculty and graduate students in many disciplines, especially data that involves security and privacy concerns. This is a critical topic and one that many institutions have largely avoided because of its complexity.
- Publishing and Preserving Data as Primary Research Objects, where representatives from Portico, IEEE, and Johns Hopkins University will describe developing a framework to connect publications and their linked data and to preserve that connection. This exploratory work is a very interesting counterpoint and complement to some of the more traditionally based efforts to extend article citation practices to datasets.
An area of increasing interest in many research universities is research metrics, understanding the impact of a scholar’s output in his or her community. In a presentation from the University of Minnesota, we will learn about an interface they are developing that produces profiles of scholarly output and research metrics for medical school faculty while exploring new ways to contextualize, through visualization and statistical analyses, these metrics to inform their responsible interpretation.
Addressing many aspects of scholarly workflow will enable others to make use of the data that scientists collect and produce. The Center for Open Science will describe its Open Science Framework, which is actually applicable across a very wide range of scholarly disciplines, not just the sciences, and how it intends to connect to other tools to develop a research ecosystem. We will have a report from the Smithsonian Institution on making currently hidden scientific field note collections accessible. This work is part of a larger trend to capture, preserve and share raw materials that are byproducts of the processes of scholarship and not themselves intended for publication but contain information that goes beyond what is part of the usual scholarly record; they are a trove of valuable but traditionally elusive and fragile information.
We will have a session updating work and deployment on the open annotation standard, which will have important implications for scholarly work in all disciplines, particularly in terms of integrating resources.
An issue gaining new emphasis in CNI’s program is privacy: focusing on how institutions and broader community collaborations are addressing privacy issues related to research, education, and communications at both technical and policy levels. Two sessions will explore this topic; one panel will explore libraries and user privacy and another will examine educational analytics. Both of these are areas where I think we have a lot of work to do in terms of both transparency and protecting privacy. The presenters in both sessions will welcome discussion from attendees.
Digital humanities from various perspectives will be featured in a number of sessions. Prior to the start of this membership meeting, we will have convened two Executive Roundtables on “Supporting Digital Humanities,” bringing together a number of institutions that are involved in providing infrastructure, tools, and services for faculty and students working on innovative projects. We will be discussing how institutions are developing strategies to offer services at scale, rather than as support for unique projects driven by one or a small group of faculty, often supported by generous grant funding. I’ve scheduled a project briefing to provide an update to any CNI attendees who are interested in this topic; we had extraordinarily high demand to participate in the roundtable, which is limited in attendance to permit a genuine conversation, and despite being able to schedule a second session of the roundtable we had to turn away many interested institutions. I’ll try to summarize the major themes that emerged from the discussions during that session. Note that, as with other Executive Roundtables, a written report synthesizing issues from the roundtable will be available in the months following the fall membership meeting.
Additional sessions addressing digital humanities are:
- The Shelley-Godwin Archive, a project that will explore the next generation literary archive, including the involvement of “citizen humanists”
- Archives and Digital Humanities, with programs from two institutions that are developing initiatives to involve students directly in archival work in their courses
- Hybrid and Fluid by Design, discussing collective capacity building for digital humanities at Pennsylvania State University
Joan Lippincott, CNI’s Associate Director, will describe the findings from a workshop we held on Digital Scholarship Centers in conjunction with our spring membership meeting in St. Louis. She will also discuss next steps in that program. An increasing number of institutions are creating these centers, often in libraries, to provide a means for all sectors of the university to be able to use high-end technology and tools with support from expert staff. Note that a web-based in-depth report from the spring 2014 workshop will be available on CNI’s site shortly.
A core area of CNI’s program has highlighted innovations in institutional repositories. We will have a multi-institutional update on the Fedora 4 early adopters, and a session will provide perspectives from three universities (Wake Forest, Ohio State, and Northwestern) that are examining next steps in their information infrastructure. Yale University will highlight its plan to unify digital collections with a single software framework and will discuss the challenges of scale and security in planning efforts for the future. The University of Chicago and the National Library of Wales will describe their developments in digital repositories that each integrate content from multiple partners.
A variety of sessions will discuss topics related to large or comprehensive digital libraries. One of these will provide a summary of the spring 2014 report “Developing a 21st Century Global Library for Mathematics Research,” which resulted from a National Academies study that I co-chaired with Professor Ingrid Daubechies of Duke University. Tim Cole of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, a member of the study committee, and Patrick Ion of the American Mathematical Society, who is deeply involved in follow-on implementation planning discussions, will join me in this presentation. Representatives from a German Research Foundation (DFG)-funded project called DeLiVerMATH, will describe their efforts to ensure efficient and user-friendly mathematical knowledge for the community via improved methods and tools for content indexing; this will be a very nice complement to the broader look at the literature of mathematics and how it may evolve in a digital world.
I think participants will be fascinated by a presentation from the Smithsonian on a project to do production level capture of very large artifactual collections using 3D imaging technologies. This begins to open up the next stage of mass digitization, as we move beyond two-dimensional objects, such as printed pages, to an enormous range of other materials. Understanding the evolving cost, feasibility and quality tradeoffs here will be critical in developing community strategies and the timelines to implement them.
Presenters from the Digital Public Library of America, the Texas Digital Library, Duke University, and the University of Michigan will describe their efforts to meet the intellectual property and access challenges for large scale digital collections, whether aggregations or repositories.
Just prior to the Las Vegas American Library Association (ALA) meeting this summer, I had the opportunity to attend a day-long invitational meeting as part of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant looking at the implications of consumer products (specifically music in this case, rather than e-books, which have been better studied) migrating to licensed, disembodied, purely digital files. Going in I knew that a major problem was emerging in our ability to preserve and provide access to these segments of the cultural record as they transition to digital form, but I had not realized quite how serious the problem had already become. I have invited John Vallier to share his findings, which are deeply disturbing and I believe call for a rapid, multi-pronged strategic response from our community.
Large digital libraries or collections allow new types of research to be performed, notably through text mining technologies. For example, Montana State University developed a project to do sentiment analysis of Twitter data on the topic of public data sharing. At Notre Dame, they worked with a historic digitized collection of trial transcripts to analyze the relationship between religious tolerance and political economy in the period 1649-1700. The University of California, Los Angeles, has developed Snatch, an archiving and analysis service for global news, which will include a number of sophisticated tools. We’ll have reports on all of these efforts.
A number of sessions will address digital preservation, a central part of CNI’s program. As always, I am delighted to have David Rosenthal of Stanford University share his thoughts on the latest developments in digital preservation, and in this case about the odds of preserving various types of content and what we might want to do about that. This is very closely connected to some of the thinking CNI has been doing about how to scope the broad cultural record as it is transformed in the digital environment, and to examine both the risks of loss and the extent of preservation arrangements as an approach to measuring digital preservation successes, failures, resource allocation strategies, and coverage. You will also see this strategy reflected in many of the other digital preservation sessions at this meeting.
Stewarding New York Public Library’s Audio and Moving Image Research Collections into the Future will be a very important presentation in which the New York Public Library (NYPL) will share publically, for the first time, the results of an Andrew W. Mellon-funded study to understand how much of its audio and moving image collections are at risk due to obsolete technology and deteriorating media. We know that in institutions throughout the world there are large audio and moving image (film and video) collections that are at immediate risk; there is a window of perhaps 10 or 20 more years for action, in large measure digitizing the content from these collections. After that window closes most of the material will be lost forever. We know that the problem is large, and expensive, but we don’t know how large or how expensive. The NYPL data complements the excellent contributions that Indiana University made a couple of years ago in analyzing their own holdings, and which resulted in substantial funding at Indiana for an institutional rescue digitization program. We are going to need more studies of the scale of at-risk institutional collections and the cost of dealing with this stewardship emergency in order to mobilize the necessary resources, and given the extraordinarily rich collections at NYPL, the information they will share provides a vital data point.
Additional sessions on digital preservation are:
- Ensuring Access to Digital Back Copy, featuring Peter Burnhill of the EDINA project in the UK, who will discuss the Keeper’s Registry, which monitors what memory institutions are curating; he will also discuss problems of reference rot. Keeper’s is an essential (and largely unrecognized) piece of the overall preservation infrastructure, particularly for scholarly journals. I’m delighted that Peter is able to join us for an update on developments in this area and other related work.
- The 2014 National Agenda for Digital Stewardship, reporting on an important annual roadmap for national priorities from the Library of Congress-led National Digital Stewardship Alliance that serves as a very helpful, succinct overview of shifting priorities.
- E-Journal Archiving, which will review studies and report on a variety of initiatives that are working to ensure ongoing access to born digital journal content.
- Falling through the Cracks, which will describe how our institutional structures actually impede preservation.
- Expanding E-journal Preservation, a Columbia/Cornell project that is continuing important work on understanding and improving the coverage of various types of periodicals and journals by major preservation initiatives.
New developments in publishing and innovations in scholarly communication will be topics of a number of sessions. A session from new CNI member Public Library of Science (PLOS) will showcase a highly flexible and customizable editorial and production workflow system for journals, conference proceedings, and other content; I was fortunate to have a preview of this system a few weeks ago, and I think CNI members will find this extremely interesting. We will have an update on the progress of the Library Publishing Coalition and its interest in coordinating a wide array of stakeholders in order to move from collective action to collective impact.
Discovery and linked data are topics of interest to many in the CNI community. Two sessions on linked data will include speakers from the National Library of Medicine, Cornell University and Stanford University. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will describe its project, working with OCLC, to transform bibliographic records into linked data and speakers from a University of Montana project, also working with OCLC, will describe their efforts to establish semantic identity for accurate representation on the web in order to make library resources more accessible. Representatives from Northeastern University, JSTOR, and Ex Libris will discuss the benefits of collaboration in optimizing content coverage in library discovery systems. Speakers from the University of Central Florida, Old Dominion University, and EBSCO will present information on supporting topical research in discovery services and the drive to produce more relevant results. Roger Schonfeld of Ithaka S+R will challenge librarians to carefully think through how they see the library’s role in discovery systems; this session will focus on ideas presented in an issue brief he wrote earlier this year and we anticipate a lively discussion on this topic.
We will also have a multi-institutional session on BIBFRAME, the Bibliographic Framework Initiative.
As we will discuss in the opening plenary conversation, many institutions are participating in cloud solutions or network based services of various types, some involving open source communities and others employing commercial services. One briefing will discuss how the University of Tennessee, University of Oklahoma, Boston College and Ex Libris are thinking about and employing the cloud to realize efficiencies. We will also have an update on the inaugural Digital Preservation Network (DPN) pilot project findings and the next steps in that program. In addition, we will have a report on the Global Open Knowledgebase, which is a collaborative project involving Kuali OLE and Jisc, to provide an open data repository designed to support how electronic collections are acquired and managed by libraries; they are developing new applications for the collaborative platform.
Explorations of how organizations are developing new services are also key components of CNI’s program. We will have a session with presenters from the National Institutes of Health Library and the University of Nevada, Reno, in which they will describe their 3-D printing initiatives.
Northwestern University is developing an analytics dashboard for Coursera MOOC discussion forums; this will assist faculty with analysis of an important aspect of those courses.
OCLC and the Wikimedia Foundation will discuss increasing library visibility through a variety of strategies involving Wikipedia.
An area that has been of long-standing interest to CNI is the identity and name management challenge in the attribution of scholarship and the management of the scholarly record. Ken Klingenstein from Internet2 will provide an update on Internet identity and its interactions with the research and education community; there’s a lot that has been happening in this area. There will also be a discussion of the evolution of VIVO software, standards, and open-source community. As I have learned more about VIVO, it has become clear to me that it is really both a system and a set of interoperability standards or agreements being developed in collaboration with groups like CASRAI that will find application in a wide range of different systems. I believe that this work coming out of VIVO merits close attention and may form an important part of the long term infrastructure for scholarly biography, bibliography, and social networking.
We know our members are always interested in understanding funding opportunities for digital projects, and we will have a session with panelists from IMLS, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Historic Records and Publications Commission, and CLIR describing their latest grant programs.
There is much more, and I invite you to browse the complete list of breakout sessions and their full abstracts on the CNI website. 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, including selected video recordings, when they become available to us. You can also follow the meeting via Twitter, using the hashtag #cni14f.
I look forward to seeing you in Washington, DC this December 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. Safe travels.