An alternative access method for the same information available from the CNI-ANNOUNCE listserv.
The Alan Turing Institute in the UK has just issued a very interesting report looking at challenges and opportunities for research at the intersection of data science and the humanities. I’ve pasted a bit of the announcement below. My thanks to Gary Price of Infodocket for the pointer to this. The announcement and a link to the report are at
From the announcement:
A new white paper published today (Tuesday 4 August) explores the great potential for ground-breaking new research at the intersection between data science and humanities disciplines and offers key recommendations for funders, academic institutions, and researchers.
The paper ‘Challenges and prospects of the intersection of humanities and data science: A white paper from The Alan Turing Institute’, has been produced by the Institute’s Humanities and Data Science special interest group – an extensive, multidisciplinary group of researchers from a wide range of universities and cultural organisations including The National Archives, The British Library and The National Library of Scotland.
Digital tools and data science present many opportunities that could transform humanities research. At the same time, the humanities – academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture – also have the potential to transform data science research. This should be a two-way exchange of approaches and knowledge. The new paper defines the UK’s current landscape of digital humanities research and reflects on what data-driven research within the humanities entails. It also highlights a series of recommendations for how these two communities can more easily and better work together to realise the full potential of interdisciplinary work.
On February 11-12, 2020, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) held a very interesting workshop on the role of what they are terming “generalist” data repositories (as opposed to discipline or sub-discipline specific repositories, possibly further limited to specific types of data sets). I was able to catch only a small part of the workshop, but what I saw was really excellent. NLM has recently issued a summary of the meeting, and the video recordings of the presentations are also available (there are links in the summary). See
This report is particularly salient in conjunction with the work of the recent National Academies Committee on Forecasting Biomedical Data Life Cycle Costs, which recently issued its final report. This report in essence discusses the role of generalist (in the report’s language “State 3) vs specialized (“State 2”) repositories at great length. I note that Dr. Maryann Martone, who co-chaired the February workshop, served on the National Academies Committee; in the interests of full disclosure, I note I was also a member of this committee. For more about the work of the committee, see
The report is online here:
I would also direct attention to the recent guest blog post by Dr. Susan Gregurick, Associate Director for Data Science and Director, Office of Data Science Strategy, National Institutes of Health, on issues related to generalist repositories at
Finally, let me say that while I think that the biomedical community’s work in this area is particularly advanced and thus a great source of potential insights, these issues are important in all fields of data-intensive scholarship, not just biomedicine.
On July 21, the US National Academies hosted a half-day virtual workshop exploring the issues involved in reopening research universities. I was fortunate to be able to attend most of this, and there were some extremely informative talks. The National Academies has just made a brief summary of the meeting available at:
and has also made video of all of the presentations available, at https://vimeo.com/showcase/7390716
I was delighted to see that the Institute of Museum and Library Services has just awarded a National Leadership Grant to a group of collaborators lead by the California Digital Library to advance a program of work towards a National Findings Aids Network, building on a report and strategic plan that I shared with this list earlier. I was particularly pleased to see range of partners playing key roles in this effort, which promises to ensure that it will be well-integrated with other related efforts such as SNAC. I’ll try to ensure that the CNI community gets regular updates on this important work.
There’s a press release, which includes links to the foundational report and strategic plan, at
It’s clear that Controlled Digital Lending approaches are proving to be very important in maintaining continuity of research and instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, when physical collections at many institutions are effectively inaccessible. We heard quite a bit about this in our CNI Spring Executive Roundtables on Research Continuity (see https://www.cni.org/go/what-happens-to-continuity-and-future-of-research), as well as our Roundtable on Acquiring Instructional Materials (see https://www.cni.org/go/new-strategies-for-acquiring-learning-materials).
There have been a few recent developments on this that I’ve been remiss in sharing with our community, though I suspect many of you have already seen at least some of these from other sources. The first is the recent blog post by the Internet Archive in response to a lawsuit challenging their practices. See
A few weeks ago, the Association of Research Libraries signed onto a statement in support of Controlled Digital Lending, see
I also note that the Internet Archive continues to offer a series of webinars introducing their Open Libraries program. This page has a schedule and registration links, as well as pointers to a number of other useful resources.
OCLC Research and the OCLC Research Library Partnership have just issued a very nice paper on issues surrounding the use of Linked Data in Archives and Special Collections.
There’s a blog post giving some background by Merrilee Proffitt of OCLC here:
The paper can be downloaded here:
Washington, DC — Doctoral student Jen Liu and master’s student Jacob (Jake) Tompkins are the 2020 recipients of the Paul Evan Peters Fellowship for graduate study in library and information sciences. The fellowship was established to honor the memory of Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) founding Executive Director Paul Evan Peters; it recognizes outstanding scholarship and intellectual rigor, a commitment to civic responsibility and democratic values, and imagination.
Jen Liu is completing her second year in the PhD program in information science at Cornell University. She received a master’s degree in tangible interaction design from Carnegie Mellon University and a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. “The guiding tenet of my research,” wrote Liu in her application essay, “is that a sustainable future is synonymous with an equitable future.” She is using ethnographic fieldwork methods working with communities in the southeastern region of the U.S. along with co-design methodologies to engage with these communities to develop alternatives to “big” digital agriculture tools and technologies. Anticipated outcomes from her work will have direct implications for the design and development of future sustainable computing technologies by reframing how issues around social equity are fundamental to sustainability. “Jen Liu’s research connects the fundamental role of the environment and an equitable and just future. Her creative and insightful approach engages communities that are often forgotten or marginalized in developing tools that address climate change in a meaningful and sustainable way,” observed Krisellen Maloney, vice president for information services at Rutgers University, and a member of the fellowship selection committee. Steve Jackson, chair of Cornell’s information science department, commented: “Jen is in the early stages of a research program that I believe will establish her as a major figure and leader in the information, computation and sustainability space.”
This year’s recipient of the master’s level fellowship, Jake Tompkins, is a student in the Master of Library and Information Science program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He received a BS in actuarial science from Florida State University (FSU) and considers his formal training in mathematics and analysis important to his current interest, crisis informatics, in which information and communication technologies are used to respond to global emergencies. Tompkins is collaborating to develop a “rebel archive” that highlights the human rights contributions of incarcerated individuals and members of groups such as the Black Panthers and the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. He is also documenting their unlawful treatment, including the threat of COVID-19 in prisons, by helping to build a data dashboard that maps the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in state and federal prisons across California as well as actions taken by prisoners (such as hunger strikes and other types of protests) in response to the lack of protection from the virus. In his application essay, Tompkins expressed the hope that this work will help elucidate “the historical and ongoing battle for human rights in the California prison system and demonstrate the lethal impacts this pandemic has had on vulnerable populations with limited agency to protect themselves.” FSU Associate Dean Michael Meth wrote in his letter of recommendation that, “Jake is exactly the kind of person we ought to recruit into our profession and I expect great things from him in the future.”
“These are superb choices from a very strong set of applicants; I continue to be deeply impressed by the wonderful range and diversity of their backgrounds, research and professional interests. I think that Paul would be both pleased and proud of these winners,” affirmed CNI Executive Director Clifford Lynch.
Selection committee members included: Martin Kalfatovic, Associate Director, Smithsonian Libraries; Krisellen Maloney, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, Rutgers University; Janice Welburn, Dean of Libraries, Marquette University; Diane Goldenberg-Hart, Assistant Executive Director, CNI.
About the Fellowship
The Paul Evan Peters Fellowship was established to honor and perpetuate the memory of the founding executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information. Funded by donations from Peters’s colleagues, friends, and family, in 2020, the fellowship provides two awards: one to a doctoral student in the amount of $5,000 per year, and one to a master’s student in the amount of $2,500 per year. Fellowships are given to students who demonstrate intellectual and personal qualities consistent with those of Peters, including:
- Commitment to the use of digital information and advanced technology to enhance scholarship, intellectual productivity, and public life
- Interest in the civic responsibilities of networked information professionals, and a commitment to democratic values and government accountability
- Positive and creative approach to overcoming personal, technological, and bureaucratic challenges
- Humor, vision, humanity, and imagination.
The fellowship will be awarded next in 2022; applications will be available on CNI’s website, www.cni.org.
The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) is a joint program of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and EDUCAUSE that promotes the use of information technology to advance scholarship and education. Some 240 organizations representing higher education, publishing, information technology, scholarly and professional organizations, foundations, and libraries and library organizations, make up CNI’s members. Learn more at cni.org.
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise, promotes equity and diversity, and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at ARL.org.
A nonprofit association and the foremost community of IT leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education, EDUCAUSE helps those who lead, manage, and use information technology to shape strategic IT decisions at every level within higher education. For more information, visit educause.edu.
Communications Consultant, CNI
The Library of Congress Labs has just released a really excellent report on the prospects for machine learning in libraries prepared by Professor Ryan Cordell of Northeastern University. Here’s a pointer to the LC Labs post announcing the report and providing some valuable context:
Direct link to the report
Very much worth reading.
I just found out about a report that came out last month from the American Institute of Physics looking at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical sciences. This is another valuable data point in understanding what’s happening to the research enterprise, and will perhaps also be new to others in the CNI community. The report is available at
During the Spring CNI Virtual Member meeting in April-May 2020, I was frequently struck by the numerous ways in which roughly thirty years of sustained, strategic investment by research libraries, and research universities more broadly (often in partnership with public and private funders) had enabled both teaching and learning and the research enterprise to continue (though imperfectly, to be sure) in the face of the sudden emergency of COVID-19. The most dramatic way to see this is to simply envision the pandemic emerging in 1990 rather than 2020.
Since then, I’ve worked with Mary Lee Kennedy at ARL to flesh out this observation a bit, with particular emphasis on research libraries and scholarly communication. Today we are making available a short document summarizing some of these investments. Note that we’ve not attempted to capture some of the other, closely related investments in areas such as high-performance computing and networking, or identity management where other organizational units have taken the lead. The document can be found at:
This document looks back over the past decades and takes the story up to the present time. I’m interested in the CNI communities’ views on where we should go from here, particularly in light of what we’ve learned in recent months. To this end, we are making available a short form for those who want to share their thinking on areas that still demand sustained strategic investment, areas where we have under-invested, or areas where large-scale strategic investment is no longer needed. This can be found at
You have the option of commenting anonymously if you wish; the form has more detail.
If there’s enough response, I’ll share a brief synthesis of what we hear on this list. We’ll leave the form open till July 24, 2020. My thanks in advance for those who share thoughts on this.