A Guide to the Spring 2015
Coalition for Networked Information Membership Meeting
The Spring 2015 CNI Membership Meeting, to be held at The Westin in Seattle, Washington on April 13 and 14, offers a wide range of presentations that advance and report on CNI’s programs, showcase projects underway at CNI member institutions, and highlight important national and international developments. Here is the customary “roadmap” to the sessions at the meeting, which includes both plenary events and an extensive series of breakout sessions focusing on current developments in networked information.
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 13. The opening plenary is at 1:00 PM and will be followed by three rounds of parallel breakout sessions. Tuesday, April 14, 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 13, after which participants can enjoy a free evening in Seattle.
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, www.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 or at the registration table.
We have a wonderful pair of plenary sessions for our meeting.
I’m delighted to welcome Brewster Kahle back to CNI; he’s shared his thinking with us in the past, notably in 2004 when I proudly presented him with the Paul Evan Peters Award, but it’s long past time for us to hear about what he’s been thinking and doing in recent years, and where he’s planning to take the Internet Archive in the future. And I know from conversations that he and I have had over the past few years that he’s eager to discuss pathways to broader and deeper collaborations to advance the work of cultural memory organizations.
You can read Brewster’s formal biography and a list of some of his accomplishments on the web page describing the plenary sessions. But what you really need to know is this: Brewster combines great insight and empathy with great passion and courage. He is a genuine hero. Brewster is basically personally responsible for the world having any archival record of the first five years of the web, and indeed for the great majority of the web archiving that has taken place since then. Beyond archiving the web, he has seriously engaged a whole series of additional challenges managing cultural memory in the digital world, and continues to do so; he’ll bring us up to date on some of these projects.
Professor Carole Palmer of the University of Washington will give the closing plenary on Tuesday. Carole, who moved last year to the University of Washington’s School of Information after long service on the faculty of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, is one of the most experienced and most prominent educators developing programs in informatics, data sciences and research data management. This gives her a unique perspective for understanding professional and workforce issues, organizational strategies for addressing research data management in terms of people and expertise, and the evolving body of knowledge necessary for informatics and data sciences. Carole will share these intrinsically large-scale and community wide perspectives with us, which I believe will make for a fascinating complement and counterpoint to a number of other CNI presentations in recent years, which have emphasized either institution-level strategies, funder perspectives, or changing disciplinary research practices and the need to support them.
I also particularly look forward to her thoughts about not just the current situation, but about how these professions, disciplines, and bodies of expertise and practice are likely to evolve in the future, particularly as the norms and basic knowledge in various scholarly disciplines become better established. This is, I think, an under-examined but fundamental strategic planning issue for all organizations supporting scholarly work.
You can find more details on the plenary speakers on the CNI website.
Highlighted Breakout Sessions
I will not attempt a comprehensive summary of breakout sessions here; we offer a great wealth and diversity of material. However, I want to note, particularly, some sessions that have strong connections to the Coalition’s 2014-2015 Program Plan and also 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 website following the meeting.
A core area of CNI’s program has highlighted innovations in digital scholarship and digital library content development.
I am very pleased that we will have Joshua Sosin of Duke University with us speaking about his wonderful digital epigraphies project. The infrastructure his team is developing will bring together a variety of data streams related to Greek epigraphies, aligning related data from multiple sources in a fully abstracted and independent layer. We will also have a team from Johns Hopkins University, and they will discuss their project on annotated early modern books and how the marginalia in such works can be captured and analyzed in an electronic environment. The Smithsonian Institution will describe the Biodiversity Heritage Library and the ways in which it has transformed in the networked environment.
Looking to more modern content, we will have a briefing on Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, published through a collaboration with the University of Oregon Libraries. The presentation will highlight lessons learned since the beginning of publication three years ago, including reflections about participatory media, open and collaborative review, and production issues.
The University of Cincinnati is bringing together the library, the information technology unit, and the campus research office to develop a rich collaboration in support of researchers and scholars. The university is developing a research support ecosystem that includes a research hub (a profile-based customized suite of programs for the research lifecycle) and a repository. We’ll hear about a program at UCLA in which archivists, librarians, technologists, and faculty are working with graduate students to effectively use special collections in their teaching and research.
An increasing number of universities and colleges are partnering with faculty and students working on high-end digital projects in a variety of fields. In a study funded by the Mellon Foundation, a multi-institutional group of librarians examined the competencies and mindsets that are important to the practice of digital scholarship through a multi-national field study; we will hear their report.
We will have two important sessions on open access themes. Representatives from the California Digital Library, Harvard, and the Max Planck Society will report on their efforts to explore the economic feasibility of transitioning to a more open and sustainable publication model. Each institution will report on its study of a range of factors and will also encourage discussion among participants of the various issues that they will raise. In another session, we will learn about the Smithsonian Institution’s plan to provide increased public access to federally funded publications and digital research materials.
Many of the project briefings address a variety of themes regarding repositories and related platforms, tools, and services. They include:
o Stewarding the Scholarly Record at the University of Arizona, where librarians are coordinating their efforts with a university faculty activity reporting system.
o Innovative Uses of Islandora in which representatives from three institutions will describe different attributes of that platform in the context of use cases.
o Moving Ahead with Fedora 4, which is using a range of tools for research data management in Canada.
o How Am I Doing? A Framework for IR Benchmarking, an exploration by bepress of approaches to assessing institutional repository programs.
There’s a lot of progress to report on the preservation agenda. A major Canadian project, represented by five collaborating institutions, will update us on a program to develop and test research data preservation workflows.
I’m particularly pleased to have a report from the electronic lab notebooks project at University of Wisconsin-Madison. These systems, which are widely used in some sectors of industry, don’t seem to have gained much traction yet in higher education, but promise to be a very important future component in the management of research data.
Other preservation and curation sessions include:
o Indiana University’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, launching a project to digitize nearly 300,000 audio and video objects. This is a large-scale response by IU to a study and inventory of at-risk audio and moving image materials that they published a few years ago, and it represents an important model of institutional level systematic response to an increasingly pressing stewardship crisis.
o Enduring Access to Rich Media Content, a project at Cornell to create a framework for preserving complex born-digital media objects, using the very challenging world of new media art as the test bed.
o Software Curation as a Digital Preservation Service, featuring programs at Yale and Carnegie Mellon that are examining the preservation of software and executable content. The underlying virtualization and emulation technologies in use here are increasingly mature, and it’s vital we understand where they are most applicable and how best to use them.
o On Building an Ontario Library Research Cloud for Shared and Distributed Digital Curation, an initiative by 11 of Ontario’s university libraries to develop a secure, low-cost storage system based on open source technologies and commodity hardware.
Digital preservation networked strategies and infrastructure will be represented by sessions on:
o SHARE Project Update, where presenters will provide an update on project strategies and demonstrate the beta release of the notification service for this higher education and research community initiative that will make research assets easier to discover and manage.
o Digital Preservation Network Progress Report, which will describe progress made in preparation for a “soft launch” of this major infrastructure component later in 2015.
o The Academic Preservation Trust: Update on First Months of Production, which will report on the first production site at University of Cincinnati and discuss decisions made during the implementation process.
We are seeing a good deal of progress on name and identity infrastructure (in the broad sense) but we still face significant challenges in implementation. I want to call your attention to a session from Karen Smith-Yoshimura of OCLC Research that will analyze the current state of play in institutional identifiers; this is rapidly emerging as a major problem area from a surprising number of perspectives and I think is going to demand more attention. We will also have a report on Social Networks and Archival Context, a tremendously important effort to develop an international archival description cooperative that is working to provide names and biographical descriptions linked to and providing context through historical records.
Two sessions will analyze different aspects of the use of open source software. At Columbia University, they have tried to systematically leverage open source approaches to digital library infrastructure in deploying digital collections. In a presentation on navigating change in software sustainability and business models, representatives from four institutions will provide their viewpoints on the transition from the Kuali open source business model to one that includes a for-profit software services company and discuss what this may mean for other open source projects.
Large collections of digital materials need new perspectives and solutions for information organization, access and retrieval, particularly as the ecology of discovery and access systems becomes ever more complex. Alex Wade from Microsoft Research will report on his company’s efforts to bring new approaches to academic information discovery.
A report on the BIBFLOW project will describe how linked data will transform library internal workflows, and it will also evaluate the plans of library-related organizations to determine their readiness to support linked data. The German project InFoLiS addresses the connection between research data and publications, using linked data infrastructure for seamless integration into information retrieval systems.
Some libraries are rethinking their technology infrastructure to include partnerships and/or moves of some services to the cloud. Reports on projects from the University of Notre Dame and the University of British Columbia will detail their experiences.
Teaching and learning will be the topic of a number of sessions, some focusing on services and others on digital learning materials. One session will provide an opportunity for attendees to learn about recent initiatives addressing the need to have access to more data about learning spaces. A representative from the IMS Global Learning Consortium will describe their Caliper Framework that simplifies learning analytics. Another session will focus on integrating libraries into online learning environments using reading list technology. The Association of Research Libraries and two institutional representatives will focus on providing accessible digital content to users of information resources.
We will have some sessions that describe new services including 3D printing initiatives at two institutions. A group will report on a Mellon-funded study to investigate a model for leveraging institutional strength among libraries; the study resulted in a recommendation for a cross-institutional network model for sharing expertise across institutions. We will have a report on the services that the University of Guelph is providing to researchers in the field, with an emphasis on a toolkit that campus researchers can easily tailor to specific needs.
A group of briefings will provide examples of campuses working with technologies to represent and manipulate data on big screens; the challenges here include organizational and technical management of expensive and complex shared resources, and means of diffusing expertise widely across faculty and students in many disciplines. We will have three sessions focused on various aspects of the technologies and associated services, including a Georgia State/University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill briefing on their hands-on immersive environments for student/faculty collaboration. Presenters from three countries will report on their use and management of video walls in academic libraries. The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill will discuss how they are approaching support of data visualization research at scale. As more institutions develop these kinds of services, they can find useful models and lessons learned from these examples.
Finally, I will report on the recommendations from a small workshop we held in early March to develop a near term agenda for work needed to improve security and privacy in systems related to scholarly communication and access to scholarly information resources. The focus was largely (but certainly not entirely) technical and emphasized setting an agenda for various groups to address rather than trying to engineer solutions to specific problems.
I invite you to browse the complete list of breakout sessions (full abstracts will be posted soon) at the CNI website: http://www.cni.org/mm/s15-project-briefings-breakout-sessions/. In many cases you will find these abstracts include pointers to web resources that you may find useful to explore prior to the session, and after the meeting we will add materials from the actual presentations as they are available to us. We will also be recording the plenary sessions and capturing a few selected breakout sessions using voice over visuals and making those available after the meeting. There will be a list of the breakouts we plan to capture at the registration table, but please keep in mind that these session captures do not include the discussion part of the breakout, and that we occasionally have problems with the captures. There’s no substitute for being there in person!
You can follow the meeting on Twitter by using the hashtag #cni15s.
I look forward to seeing you in Seattle. 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.