RLUK Report on Virtual Reading Rooms and Virtual Teaching Spaces

Research Libraries UK (RLUK) has recently published an interesting look at the state of play in Virtual Reading Rooms (VRRs) and Virtual Teaching Spaces, both in the UK and beyond. This is important  in terms of research (and instructional) resilience and in terms of the service mix as institutions return to in-person operations. It’s also interesting to consider this line of developments in connection with the Sourcery program from the University of Connecticut and Northeastern University, which we’ve covered at several recent CNI meetings. See


Below, I include the RLUK announcement.

Clifford Lynch
Director, CNI


Research Libraries UK (RLUK) has published a new major research report exploring the current and future developments in the area of Virtual Reading Rooms (VRRs) and Virtual Teaching Spaces (VTSs) amongst collection-holding institutions.

This report presents the results of a recent survey launched by RLUK, in collaboration with members of the International Alliance of Research Library Associations (IARLA). This work informs an ongoing piece of research being undertaken by RLUK regarding the potential of VRRs as digital research infrastructure and the possibilities and benefits of undertaking a networked approach.

Remote technologies were employed by many collection-holding institutions as an emergency response to the challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. As academics, researchers, and students were prevented from getting physical access to collections due to the closure of libraries and archives, VRRs and VTSs constituted an alternative way of accessing physical materials digitally, without relying on digitisation.

As our findings revealed, the re-opening of on-site operations has seen many institutions continuing to run VRRs and VTSs alongside physical processes and activities. Institutions are now more aware of the potential of VRRs and VTSs to make collections available to various audience groups as well as facilitate research and learning as bespoke services. Therefore, it is not surprising that more institutions internationally are planning to launch their VRRs and VTSs in the immediate future

The report presents the experiences of 22 institutions internationally which have created, or intend to create, VRR and VTS services. Participants share their experiences around the establishment of their VRR and VTS services, including the various requirements for running them, the engagement with their audiences as well as the challenges that need to be overcome. They also share their plans for future activity and reflect on the collaborative potential of VRRs.

2022 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report – Teaching and Learning Edition

The first of a series of 2022 EDUCAUSE  Horizon Reports — the Teaching and Learning Edition — has just been issued. See


In addition, EDUCAUSE has a very nice currently-featured “showcase” page dealing with “The Digital vs. Brick-and-Mortar Balancing Game” at


Clifford Lynch
Director, CNI

Call for Nominations: Paul Evan Peters Award

I am delighted to share this call for nominations for the Paul Evan Peters Award. The Committee would welcome your nominations, which do not need to be elaborate or lengthy. Details below.
Clifford Lynch
Director, CNI

DEADLINE: June 6, 2022

The Paul Evan Peters Award recognizes the most notable and lasting international achievements related to information technology and the creation and use of information resources and services that advance scholarship and intellectual productivity. Past recipients (with affiliation at the time of their award) have been Francine Berman (2020), Computer Scientist, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Herbert Van de Sompel (2017), research scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Donald A.B. Lindberg (2014), director of the National Library of Medicine; Christine L. Borgman (2011), professor and Presidential Chair in Information Studies, UCLA; Daniel E. Atkins (2008), inaugural director of the National Science Foundation’s Office of Cyberinfrastructure; Paul Ginsparg (2006), founder of arXiv, an e-print archive for articles in the sciences; Brewster Kahle (2004), founder and chairman of the board of the Internet Archive; “father of the Internet” Vinton Cerf (2002); and Tim Berners-Lee (2000), inventor of the World Wide Web. All recipients embody the rare combination of strategic vision, technical innovation, and humanitarian outlook that the award seeks to promote.

Award winners are recommended by a committee of representatives of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), and EDUCAUSE, and selected by the chief executives of the three organizations. Guidelines for submitting a nomination are detailed below.


Awards will be made to individuals who have made a career-long contribution to the advancement of scholarly information and communications and who meet at least one and preferably more of the following criteria:
  1. Demonstrate a positive and lasting impact on scholarly communications through the implementation and/or use of information technology and networks, as evidenced by publication, the development of environments for the dissemination of information, contributions in the area of data stewardship, or other similar endeavors.
  2. Address a specific problem fundamental to scholarship, research, and intellectual productivity and provide an innovative solution using information technology.
  3. Help increase awareness of the role of scholarly information and communication through dissemination of effective techniques using computing and information technologies.

Send a brief (one page) letter of nomination, including a short bio or a link to biographical information to PEP-Award@cni.org

DEADLINE: June 6, 2022

Recipients of this award will receive a commemorative award and will be asked to present a major address at a CNI membership meeting. This award is offered jointly by ARL, CNI, and EDUCAUSE. It honors Paul Evan Peters, founding director of CNI, who guided the organization until his untimely death in 1996, and who was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in 20th-century librarianship in the American Libraries listing of December 1999. The award program has been endowed by the Association of Research Libraries, EDUCAUSE, Microsoft Corporation, and Xerox Corporation.

More information is at www.cni.org/go/pep-award/.

Paul Evan Peters Fellowship Call for Applicants

Paul Evan Peters Fellowship for Graduate Study
in Library Science and Information Studies
The Paul Evan Peters Fellowship was established to honor and perpetuate the memory of Paul Evan Peters (1947-1996), founding executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI). The fellowship will assist students pursuing graduate studies in the information sciences, librarianship, or closely related field. Nominees should demonstrate intellectual and personal qualities consistent with those of Paul Evan Peters, including:
  • A commitment to the use of digital information and advanced technology to enhance scholarship, intellectual productivity and public life;
  • An interest in the civic responsibilities of information professionals, and a commitment to democratic values;
  • A positive and creative approach to overcoming personal, technological, and bureaucratic challenges; and
  • Humor, vision, humanity, and imagination.
Two fellowships will be awarded in 2022:
  • One to a doctoral student in the amount of $5,000 per year, to be awarded two consecutive years.
  • One to a master’s student in the amount of $2,500 per year, to be awarded two consecutive years.

Fellowships will be awarded biennially to students pursuing graduate degrees in librarianship, the information sciences, or closely related field (see eligibility requirements). A list of previous awardees is available at www.cni.org/go/pep-fellowship/ (note: only a single fellowship recipient was named prior to 2014).


Fellowship applicants will be judged on how well they meet the academic and personal standards for the award, not on financial need. In addition, applications must meet these criteria:
  • Each applicant must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  • Each applicant must be entering or enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program in information science or librarianship at an accredited U.S. university, or a program that has received American Library Association (ALA) accreditation (including reciprocal), or one that is a member of the iSchools iCaucus. Students in other, closely related disciplines may also be considered, provided that the course of study relates directly to information management/studies.
  • Staff, officers, and families of the Coalition for Networked Information, the Association of Research Libraries, and EDUCAUSE are not eligible to apply.

If awarded the fellowship, recipients must complete at least six credit hours of course work per semester during the year(s) the fellowship is awarded. Recipients must submit an official transcript to the selection committee at the end of the first year of the award (no later than July 1), demonstrating good progress toward the graduate degree. The selection committee retains the right to terminate the award after one year if good progress is not demonstrated.

Selection Procedures:

A fellowship selection committee organized by the staff of the Coalition for Networked Information will review applications in June and July. The recipient will be selected and notified of the award by end of July 2022.

Application Procedures:

Applicants should complete and submit an online application no later than May 20, 2022; the application and eligibility requirements are available online at https://www.cni.org/go/pep-fellowship. Completed forms must include:
  • A 300-500 word essay explaining the applicant’s qualifications, intellectual interests, and academic and career objectives. The essay must include a discussion of how the applicant will advance scholarship in digital information and technology and apply his or her knowledge to problems of scholarship, intellectual productivity, or public life.
  • A curriculum vita or resume that includes the applicant’s complete contact information: address, phone number, and email.
In addition to the online form, applicants must submit:
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty members, work supervisors, or others who can comment on the applicant’s academic and personal qualifications for the fellowship. These letters should be sent by email directly from the recommenders’ email accounts, no later than MAY 20. Recommendations must be sent by email to:
Additionally, finalists will be notified and asked to submit:
  • A copy of the student’s letter of acceptance into a university graduate program in information science or librarianship, or a closely related field (see eligibility requirements above).
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency (a photocopy of a birth certificate, passport, or residency card).
  • An official transcript may also be requested, if the applicant has already completed courses toward the graduate degree.

Highlights from Previous Recipients

Jen Liu, the 2020 doctoral recipient, researched the ecological, political, and social implications of technologies such as digital agriculture. She is currently completing her dissertation work at Cornell University on the impact of climate change on Internet infrastructures in coastal communities.

Jake Tompkins, who received the 2020 award for master’s students, completed his MLIS degree from UCLA in 2021. The fellowship helped garner attention on his Rebel Archives in the Golden Gulag project about incarceration during COVID-19. After graduation, he joined the United Nations Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance as a data visualization and design intern.

Laima Augustitis, the 2018 master’s award recipient, completed her thesis at the University of Michigan about facilitators, barriers, and potential future directions for online transgender health information seeking.

Kristen Matteucci received the 2016 award for master’s students, completed her degree from Rutgers University in 2018, and joined the Jenkins Law Library.

Jordan Eschler, who received the 2014 Peters Fellowship for doctoral students while at the University of Washington, used the award to design and execute research that she then presented at conferences. The award supported the research work itself, as well as travel to the events.

Olivia Dorsey, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, was the recipient of the master’s level fellowship in 2014. Her master’s project, “Visualizing Police Brutality,” focused on visualizing data relating to incidents of police brutality against unarmed African Americans from 1979-2014.

Jessica A. Koepfler received the Peters fellowship in 2010, completing her degree from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2014. About receiving the award, Koepfler commented, “The fellowship provided a source of funding that allowed me to commit myself to a ‘fringe’ topic like the study of values within the context of homelessness… The award … put a spotlight on me early on in my program, which had the snowball effect of people noticing me… I am truly grateful for the fellowship and credit it with being very instrumental to me particularly in those early years of my PhD program.”

“The characteristics that have often been associated with Paul—positivity, creativity, humor, vision, humanity, and imagination—are, I hope, dimensions that I also bring to the work that I do as a scholar and as a teacher,” wrote Philip Edwards, 2004 fellowship recipient while at the University of Washington’s Information School. Edwards credits the award with helping to broaden his professional horizons as a student.

Cal Lee, who received the first Peters Fellowship, is currently a Professor at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he teaches classes for graduate and undergraduate students, as well as continuing professional education workshops in a variety of subjects, including archival administration, records management, digital curation, understanding information technology for managing digital collections, and acquisition of digital data from physical media. At the time of the award, Lee was at the University of Michigan School of Information.

More information about the Paul Evan Peters Fellowship and the application process are available at https://www.cni.org/go/pep-fellowship.

All materials must be submitted no later than MAY 20. Confirmation of receipt of materials will be sent via email.
Last updated:  Monday, May 2nd, 2022