A Guide to the Fall 2018
Coalition for Networked Information Membership Meeting
The Fall 2018 CNI Membership Meeting, to be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC on December 10 and 11, 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 issues 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; there will be coffee and an opportunity to meet some long-time members starting at 11. Light refreshments are available for all at 12:15 PM on Monday, December 10. The opening plenary is at 1:15 PM and will be followed by four rounds of parallel breakout sessions. Tuesday, December 11, includes four additional rounds of parallel breakout sessions, lunch and the closing plenary, concluding around 3:30 PM. We are continuing to offer breakout sessions of different duration at this meeting, including half-hour sessions, allowing us to provide you with more opportunities to learn about new initiatives. Along with plenary and breakout sessions, the meeting includes generous break time for informal networking with colleagues and a reception which will run until 7:30 PM on Monday evening, December 10, after which participants can enjoy a wide range of dining opportunities in Washington.
The CNI meeting program is subject to last-minute changes (remember, it’s December, and weather can sometimes surprise us), 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. Information about wireless access in the meeting room areas will be available in your packets and at the registration table; those staying in the CNI hotel room block at the Omni Shoreham should also have free wireless access in their rooms. In addition, we are running the mobile-friendly web app Sched from the meeting website (https://www.cni.org/mm/fall-2018/schedule-f18) to facilitate online access to the meeting schedule. And we’ll still have printed programs available for all, of course.
The Plenary Sessions
As is now traditional, I have reserved the opening plenary of our winter member meeting for an update. During this session, scheduled to start at 1:15 PM on Monday, I want to look at recent developments and the ways in which the landscape is changing and identify 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 2018-19 Program Plan. The Program Plan will be distributed at the meeting (and will be available electronically on the Coalition’s website, cni.org, in early December). I look forward to sharing CNI’s continually evolving strategy with you, as well as discussing recent events and current issues. There’s so much to talk about. The opening plenary will include time for questions and discussion, and I am eager to hear your comments.
Our closing plenary speaker on Tuesday afternoon will be Dr. Patricia Flatley Brennan, director of the US National Library of Medicine (NLM). Since her appointment in 2016, Patti has worked to position the Library to be the hub of data science at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and has done tremendous work in formulating institutional approaches to stewardship for data in the biomedical sciences. In her talk, “The National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health Partnership in Accelerating Discovery Through Data,” Patti will discuss how digital content is changing research, how NLM is thinking about its role as part of the preservation of biomedical research data, and provide her thoughts on the ways that scholarship is documented and disseminated. I am delighted that Patti will be here to share her insights into these critical areas; I’ve had opportunities to work with her and I can attest that she’s taken a deeply knowledgeable and very thoughtful approach to shaping strategies for NLM and the broader NIH. It’s very clear to me that NLM sees partnerships with the broader community as an essential part of their strategy; this is an important opportunity to move these discussions forward. You can read more about Patti Brennan on the meeting website.
Highlighted Breakout Sessions
I will not attempt to comprehensively summarize the wealth of breakout sessions here; we offer a great abundance and diversity of material. However, I want to note, particularly, some sessions that have strong connections to the Coalition’s 2018-19 Program Plan, as well as a number of 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; these will be noted on the conference message board.
We will have two sessions on blockchain (or perhaps more accurately, distributed ledgers, which is a far-from-new technology), a topic that has been the subject of a tremendous amount of poorly informed enthusiasm recently. It seems like we are in a world where blockchain is the answer, now what was the question, whether the context is public records, scholarly communication, or trading of financial instruments or commodities. I’m thrilled that our good friend David Rosenthal, one of the most incisive thinkers on these issues, will be with us to consider whether distributed ledger technology is a viable solution to problems in academic communication and digital preservation. This is a don’t miss session, and we will be capturing it on video for those who can’t join us; David previewed this at my seminar at UC Berkeley about a month ago and I believe it concisely captures many of the limitations of the various blockchain models. Meanwhile, Michael Nelson, another regular CNI contributor who has done a great deal of work on aspects of web archiving, will tell us why blockchain cannot be used to verify replayed archived web pages, and what the implications are there.
Issues related to intellectual property, open access, and scholarly publishing will be well represented at this meeting. The Internet Archive (IA) will be discussing a couple of projects in which it is currently involved. One presentation will report on a study conducted in conjunction with several university presses to examine digitizing backlist and out-of-print books and then making them available via controlled digital lending by libraries. In another session, IA will report alongside Impactstory and SPARC on building infrastructure and services for open access to research outputs, including projects such as Unpaywall and the Open Access Button.
Additional sessions in this area include:
• Promoting a Public Face for Scholarly Journals describes a joint project by the American Historical Association and the Rosenzweig Center at George Mason University that aims to extend the audience of scholarly work.
• Representatives from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign explore open access publishing in academic settings and the budgetary implications of article processing charges at an R1 institution.
• An update on Lever Press, which is made up of a consortium of libraries seeking to establish a new publishing model with an emphasis on the humanities.
• Panelists from three libraries and the Library Publishing Coalition will talk about the work library publishers are doing, including discussion of a few open source publishing platforms. As I have learned over the course of the past few months, there is a great deal of activity taking place in this area, much of which seems to have been occurring “under the radar,” but which promises to really reshape the landscape in the next few years.
• An interesting and potentially important new tool developed at Johns Hopkins, the Public Access Submission System (PASS), allows for simultaneous submission into funder repositories, like PubMed Central, and institutional repositories. This is an important attempt (one of the first in the US) to rebalance the relationships between publishers, academic institutions, funders, and individual researchers in workflows surrounding the publishing process.
• Martin Eve of the University of London will report on what’s next for the Open Library of Humanities, especially in light of the European Union’s Plan S.
• The California Digital Library will discuss partnering with Dryad to address researcher needs and lead an open, community-owned initiative in research data curation and publishing. This is a potentially important new model that seeks to restructure institutional relationships with independent data archives to introduce greater systemic sustainability and better support faculty.
• Ithaka S+R has been working with the State University of New York to examine its publishing activities and we’ll hear about the opportunities they’ve identified.
• Public Access to Research Data will include a report on a recent invitational workshop organized by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of American Universities that seeks to advance open access to research data.
Scholarly practices (e-research, digital humanities, and digital scholarship) and data services are closely related to the above themes, and we’ll have ample opportunities to hear about ongoing efforts in these areas as well. Data integrity is a critical research element. Can I Trust this Data? Selecting Data for Reuse and Other Dilemmas of the Research Scientist will include a description of a compelling proposed solution to the challenge of finding and using trustworthy interdisciplinary data. Curating Reuse: An Institutional Approach to Statistical and Computational Reproducibility discusses a University of Colorado Boulder project to enhance existing data curation workflows and enable wider and more effective reuse of data produced on campus.
Additional sessions on data and e-research/scholarship:
• A report on the Moore-Sloan Data Science Environments describes a major initiative to explore the integration of data science into three research universities (New York University, the University of California Berkeley, and the University of Washington) over the past few years.
• A presentation on a research object authoring tool for the NIH Data Commons that is designed to improve reuse and reproducibility.
• RA21, or Resource Access for the 21st Century, whose mission is to align and simplify pathways to subscribed content across participating scientific platforms, is a publisher-driven (and somewhat controversial) effort that proposes reshaping authentication/authorization frameworks.
• The presentation of a project at the University of California San Diego to promote a sustainable, equitable research information and scholarly communication ecosystem.
• We will learn about evolving engagement in the data and computational sciences at the University of Cincinnati Libraries.
• A team from Stanford and the University of Minnesota will discuss the state of the art in technology for geospatial content in libraries and future work to promote greater access to geospatial content.
• An opportunity to consider areas of greatest need and opportunity for DataONE going forward, as well as an examination of sustainability options; this is particularly timely as the project approaches the end of its second NSF funding cycle.
• There will be an introduction to the NSF-funded Science Gateways Community Institute, which promotes knowledge and resource sharing among communities of practice.
• We will hear about the shift in focus on the SHARE project, to that of a community partner model; again sustainability is an important subtext here.
• The Globus platform has been very important for high-performance computing in recent years, and consideration of its relationship to research data management is very timely.
A number of sessions will focus specifically on digital humanities (DH):
• A transcription project at the College of William and Mary created opportunities for students and staff, and transformed the perception of the library.
• A report on the Iberian Books project will consider how it could be leveraged for new research; this session will also include information about the image-matching service Ornamento.
• There will be a presentation on a proposed service model for a more sustainable infrastructure for DH projects resulting from an analysis by Athenaeum21 of over 30 projects at Oxford University.
• We will hear how spreadsheets, maps, and data visualization tools altered the construction of a memoir and led to a class assignment on racial mapping at California Polytechnic State University.
Other sessions will focus on identity management and privacy. Ken Klingenstein of Internet2 returns to continue the conversation regarding internet identity and the research community. Montana State University will report on a study of HTTPS and Google Analytics in academic library websites. Two teams will discuss privacy gaps in online library services. We’ll have an update on the Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) Cooperative, a highly strategic archival identity management program focused on cooperatively maintaining archival identity management data and providing a web-based discovery service.
A team from Los Alamos National Labs (LANL) will discuss the collaborative research data management pilot Nucleus, based on Open Science Framework, and launched in the unique technology and policy environment of the LANL Research Library.
A presentation by Yale University will discuss how institutional departments collectively addressed the many barriers to collaboration, resulting, ultimately, in sustainable, shared services, staffing, and funding models, demonstrating how libraries and museums can partner to leverage collections and expertise.
Digital preservation and curation continue to figure prominently in CNI’s agenda. Oya Rieger and Roger Schonfeld of Ithaka S+R will report on the state of digital preservation, which they have been assessing in order to identify key research questions and action areas. The Software Preservation Network will discuss the tools, guidelines, and workflows they are developing to promote best practices in this important area. The PEGI Project was established to plan a national agenda for collaboratively preserving electronic government information; we’ll have a report on the project’s results and the planned next steps. We will also hear about a related project, “Planning a Community-Created Data Rescue Toolkit,” which is working to coordinate distributed efforts for government data preservation.
Discovery, interoperability, and linked data are topics of interest to many in the CNI community. In the session The Challenge of Hidden Big Data Collections: Making Digital Congressional Papers Available for Scholarly Research, we’ll hear two reports: one on the University of Nevada’s acquisition of one senator’s congressional papers, representing its largest acquisition of data to date, and the other on a tool to make congressional constituent correspondence available for research.
Additional sessions on discovery, interoperability, and linked data:
• We will have a presentation on tools and services to improve the discoverability of digital humanities scholarship.
• A presentation describing projects to make historic copyright data available in searchable, machine-processable, and linkable forms, in order to enable libraries and other cultural institutions to legally use and share underutilized public domain and copyrighted literature and scholarship.
• There will be a breakout on DRAS-TIC Fedora and exploring a Linked Data Platform server based on Apache Cassandra NoSQL database for next-generation repositories; presenters from the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution will discuss the exploratory phase of the project.
• Presenters will discuss whether Linked Open Data can help users engage with and make better use of digitized special collections.
• There will be a report on the work of the Islandora Collaboration Group and the Five College Consortium.
Explorations of how organizations are developing and evaluating new services and engaging communities are also key components of CNI’s program. Presenters from Columbia University will describe a new campus-wide program to provide students with access to instruction in the fundamentals of computational literacy. OCLC has been developing a workflow to ensure that good ideas lead to useable services. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, librarians help faculty and staff demonstrate research impact and advance teaching using the same digital scholarship tools and methods used for research. In an effort to build community and support for open science, liaison librarians at Carnegie Mellon University joined with faculty in the biological sciences to host a transdisciplinary open science symposium.
The evolving role of the library is taken up by speakers from the University of Rochester, as they discuss the planning process for the development of the iZone, a collaborative innovation hub located in the library and the benefits of its placement. In What Is the Future of Libraries in Academic Research? a team from the University of Calgary will provide an update on their in-depth work to develop partnerships between the library and multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary researchers to implement services and infrastructure that enables and supports their work. Many CNI attendees are familiar with the Hunt and Hill libraries at North Carolina State University and the acclaim they have received as 21st-century library facilities. Presenters will focus on how they’ve been able to transform the library’s impact on teaching and learning in these facilities. The potential for artificial intelligence to play key roles in knowledge creation within academic institutions will be explored by speakers from the University of Oklahoma.
Assessment will be a theme in several briefings:
• Analyzing Faculty Activity Reporting at the University of Arizona shares the findings of UA Vitae, a system that reports on faculty activity launched by the university five years ago.
• An IMLS-funded partnership has studied library adoption of 3D and virtual reality services.
• We’ll have a report on “Developing a Framework for Measuring Reuse of Digital Objects,” also IMLS-funded.
• The University of Oklahoma discusses measuring exhibit engagement through open source code and 3D printing.
• A discussion of how research libraries can leverage their knowledge of bibliometric analysis, resource management, and scholarly communications infrastructures to contribute to institutional rankings initiatives – this work can heighten the visibility of librarians’ skills in an area of key importance to the university administration.
• The results of an environmental scan of how and why digital strategies succeed or fail.
The Library of Congress will present an update on its digital strategy, and we will offer a popular annual session where representatives from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC), The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and IMLS will discuss funding priorities and trends.
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 #cni18f, and this year, as an experiment, we’ve built a Slack workspace (bit.ly/cni18fSLACK), which we encourage you to explore and then let us know if you found it to be useful, or how we might improve it as tool to help attendees connect over shared interests and agendas.
I look forward to seeing you in Washington, DC 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.
Coalition for Networked Information