A Guide to the Spring 2021 Coalition for Networked Information Membership Meeting
The Spring 2021 CNI Virtual Membership Meeting, to be held online March 15-26, 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 live and on-demand breakout sessions focusing on current issues in digital information. We decided to return to our traditional (pre-pandemic) meeting roadmap for this virtual event to provide some context and additional information about the program, particularly because of the pre-recorded briefings. We hope you will find it helpful as you navigate and prioritize the meeting’s extensive offerings. As always, we have strived to present sessions that reflect late-breaking developments and also take advantage of the online environment.
Over the past year, we have spent a good deal of time exploring the most useful formats for our virtual meetings, as these have evolved alongside the realities of Zoom fatigue, a seemingly never-ending and enticing supply of online event offerings, and the very heavy demands on people’s time and attention. We are grateful for the generous feedback and suggestions from members and attendees from our previous virtual meetings. Based on our judgment of this particular window in time and experience, for the spring 2021 meeting, only a small number of project briefings will take place live, and they will be held on March 15-19. The vast majority of project briefings will be pre-recorded, available on-demand throughout the meeting, to be explored at your leisure. We have left two days within the meeting timeframe entirely unscheduled, March 22-23, to provide you with an opportunity to explore the on-demand sessions, if convenient. In addition, for this meeting, we offer an expanded line-up of plenary sessions on topics we feel are particularly timely and/or strategic for the community as a whole; these will be live as well, to take place March 24-26. Unless the presenters have requested otherwise, all sessions will be recorded and subsequently available to the public; this includes the pre-recorded sessions.
The CNI meeting program is subject to last minute changes and you can find the most current information, including schedule details, on the meeting Sched, https://cnispring21mtg.sched.com/. Registered attendees will have access to full information about the program and links to live Zoom sessions and on-demand videos only through their Sched account. A Sched account will also enable you to create a personalized schedule of the live sessions you want to attend and receive reminders specific to those sessions. All registered attendees should have received an email invitation to the meeting Sched containing login instructions. If you have not received an invitation from Sched, or if you have questions about its use, please contact Beth Secrist (firstname.lastname@example.org). For registration inquiries, please contact Jackie Eudell (email@example.com).
The Plenary Sessions
We have several wonderful plenary sessions lined up, all tied very closely to the ongoing programmatic interests of CNI and its members:
• Welcome to Spring 2021 Member Meeting Plenary Days: Summary of the Spring 2021 Executive Roundtable “Post-Pandemic Strategic Planning Challenges and Approaches”
Clifford Lynch, CNI
I’ll provide a preliminary summary and synthesis of what I heard at the Executive Roundtables during the preceding week, in advance of preparing the formal report. I’m hoping this will be a useful context for the remainder of the plenary days.
• Remote Access to Archives and Special Collections and the Sourcery Project
Dan Cohen (Northeastern), Greg Colati & Tom Scheinfeldt (U. Connecticut), Barbara Rockenbach (Yale)
I’ll moderate this panel, which will try to summarize and extend some very fruitful and provocative conversations arising from the Sourcery project and discussions about the broader issues of remote access to archives and special collections. This has enormous implications for resource allocation and service design, and also for scholarly work and research continuity and resilience. If you did not see the presentation from the December 2020 meeting on Sourcery, you might wish to review it as background for this session: https://www.cni.org/topics/special-collections/sourcery-remote-access-to-archives-during-the-pandemic.
• The Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) BIG Collection and its Implications
Krisellen Maloney (Rutgers), Joseph Salem (Michigan State), Claire Stewart (U. Nebraska-Lincoln), John Wilkin (UIUC), Maurice York (BTAA)
This panel will focus on prospective implications for the BIG collection, particularly as they involve electronic resource licensing and transformative agreements with publishers. I will serve as moderator. In preparation for this discussion, we invite you to watch the background on-demand video, prepared by BTAA Executive Director Maurice York, about the BIG Collection initiative.
• Evolving Roles of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and Chief Privacy Officers (CPOs) in the University Environment
Brian Kelly (EDUCAUSE), Kent Wada (UCLA), Cheryl Washington (UC Davis)
This session, which I will also moderate, will explore the evolving roles of CISOs and CPOs, and the ways in which these relate to the work of libraries, both in negotiating contracts with publishers that hold reader privacy in the balance, and also in the broader emerging role of libraries as privacy advocates and educators within university communities.
• Collaborating with the Carpentries
Kari L. Jordan, Executive Director, The Carpentries
I’m thrilled that Kari has agreed to join us to explore opportunities for the higher education community (and particularly research computing and libraries) to collaborate with and support The Carpentries (https://carpentries.org/) in expanding and democratizing new skills, most notably in the areas of computational tools, research data management, and data science, that are needed to support and conduct so much research today and into the future. Our members report that since the move to virtual operations at our institutions, demand for training in these skills and competencies, already strong, has skyrocketed, highlighting the importance of such collaborations. Please join us for this important conversation.
• CLIR Fellows Panel
Portia Hopkins (Rice), Luling Huang (Carnegie Mellon U.), Jennifer Ross (U. Toronto), Synatra Smith (Philadelphia Museum of Art/Temple U.)
CLIR Postdoctoral Fellows work on projects that forge and strengthen connections among collections, educational and information technologies, and current research and scholarship, and are a key source of future leaders for our community and beyond. CNI has historically enjoyed a close and fruitful relationship with this program. The pandemic-driven move to virtual meetings has jeopardized this historical engagement between the CNI community and the most recent cadres of CLIR Fellows. These panels are CNI’s effort to address this challenge. We hosted the first CLIR Fellows Panel at the fall meeting in December, and now I invite you to meet another outstanding cadre of Fellows as they describe their work and share their perspectives on the current landscape.
• Meeting Close (10-15 minutes; not recorded)
Clifford Lynch, CNI
A quick summary of the spring meeting and a look ahead at CNI activities in the coming months.
Please join me in conversation with this wonderful line-up of speakers, and I hope you will bring questions and comments to share. You can find more information about the sessions and the speakers from the plenary pages on the meeting Sched.
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. I do want to note, however, some sessions that have particularly strong connections to CNI’s program, as well as a number of other sessions of special interest or importance, and to provide some additional context that may be helpful. We’ve requested that presenters share their slide-decks with us, to put on our website following the meeting, and we expect to make recordings of the vast majority of project briefings and plenaries publicly available on our YouTube and Vimeo channels after the meeting; we hope you will share these resources widely with your communities.
Teaching and learning are core activities for our community. Kari Jordan’s plenary on the work of The Carpentries will speak directly to one major aspect of this challenge: the need to help students (and indeed faculty) gain the range of skills that are currently needed to be an effective researcher today and into the future, and I was really pleased that we received a number of wonderful proposals about projects and programs that will help advance and enhance educational opportunities and experiences for students, researchers, and staff. These are the live sessions we will feature addressing teaching and learning themes:
• The Virtual Copyright Education Center is a new, large-scale effort to assist professionals working in libraries and cultural heritage institutions gain the knowledge to evaluate and address a range of key copyright matters.
• The Komodo platform, a free, open source, browser-based virtual reality (VR) tool that enables instructors to create teaching and learning modules, was developed by the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to address some of the barriers that limit broader adoption of VR for instruction, including cost, restrictive licensing, and privacy issues.
• Much of the CNI community will already know of the essential work that Hypothesis has led in developing web annotation standards and tools. One of the most interesting – and potentially very high impact – recent applications of this technology base has been the effort to apply it to support classes and pedagogy emphasizing close and collaborative reading and social learning. We’re delighted to welcome a panel to discuss these developments.
Assessment projects can generate important data to evaluate the various areas in which our community is engaged; bibliometrics, research impact, usage data, and measuring student success will all be explored during this meeting. A live session will include a panel of speakers discussing the Connecting Libraries and Learning Analytics for Student Success (CLLASS) project to develop models for library inclusion in institutional learning analytics, among other goals; they will focus on the addition of a library profile to the IMS Caliper specification. Some additional, on-demand briefings will address additional aspects of assessment:
• We will be introduced to the Open Access eBook Usage Data Trust, a global data trust for usage data on open access monographs.
• Two university libraries (Waterloo and Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) will report on how they are partnering with campus administrators, departments, and other groups on providing bibliometric and research impact services and metrics. Note that there will be two videos available on this topic, one from each university’s team; the Waterloo presentation will be a follow-up to a briefing given in December, at our fall 2020 meeting.
• The University of Missouri is working on a project to automate the collection of article data from multiple sources, and then combine it, in order to analyze it and better understand author publication activity.
A cluster of briefings will focus on various issues pertaining to publishing, and a live session will feature Greg Eow of the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), Maurice York of the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA), and Sara Rouhi of the Public Library of Science (PLOS) exploring the growth and changing nature of agreements between libraries and mission-driven publishers despite budgetary pressures. On-demand briefings related to publishing include:
• A presentation from the Knowledge Futures Group on alternatives to dominant commercial journal publishing models, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the increasing reliance of preprints, and pressure for shorter review times.
• From the University of Minnesota Libraries, a look at how their Publishing Services program has cultivated partnerships and projects that have allowed the library to provide scholars with open access, inclusive, and non-traditional publishing opportunities.
• The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) will report on their vision of model that will enable the linking of preprints and other resources with external services, with an initial focus on peer review services. This is part of their broader work on next generation repository services and networks.
Many sessions throughout the program will touch on issues related to equity, diversity, inclusion & accessibility; here are a few examples of on-demand briefings where these themes will be especially prominent:
• James O’Donnell and Ann Okerson will describe the work of the Offline Internet Consortium, and its focus on addressing the implications of limited access to broadband throughout many parts of the world.
• It has been widely noted that we have little or no data on various forms of diversity represented in the scholarly communications system. Developing such data is highly complex and nuanced. We’ll have a report from a team at Elsevier on their work to address gender inequity in research by exploring schema options, platform technology, data privacy policies, and transparency to finalize a gender identity data collection plan.
• The University of Pennsylvania has recently released the Penn and Slavery Project application. This is a fascinating body of work on multiple levels: it employs very interesting augmented reality technology, it offers a case study in how institutions can engage with their past actions, and it offers a study in how such initiatives can incorporate “power sharing” arrangements to balance the interests of various collaborating entities.
• We will have a report from OCLC Research on how libraries are working to further the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in which librarians helped to shape the inclusion of access to information.
Various aspects of the Covid-related crisis will significantly impact our work and our communities in the months and years ahead. The research enterprise, especially with respect to research continuity and resilience, is one important area to which we’ve devoted two Roundtable series (links to reports from those discussions are here: https://www.cni.org/tag/executive-roundtable-report), and we are planning a third Roundtable on that topic later this year. Ithaka S+R has also engaged in extensive thinking on this issue; at our December 2020 meeting they provided an important plenary session on their analysis of these challenges, and at the spring meeting they will provide us with an on-demand update, discussing their latest brief on research support in light of academic budgetary pressures. Note that the (invitational) executive roundtables at this meeting will focus on key post-covid planning assumptions, strategies and uncertainties, and I’ll provide a rapid preliminary synthesis of what we heard on these topics at the opening of the plenary days on March 24.
Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) and related strategies gained widespread attention during the pandemic, when libraries had to shift very quickly to find alternative methods for providing access to materials that were suddenly inaccessible in their buildings. We feature two sessions specifically devoted to this popular but controversial lending strategy:
• Live: A panel discussion with Chris Freeland of the Internet Archive, Jennie Rose Halperin of Library Futures, Jill Hurst-Wahl of Syracuse University, and Charlie Barlow of the Boston Library Consortium on implementing CDL in libraries and library consortia.
• On-demand: From the California Institute of Technology, a discussion around making CDL a central component of library services.
Digital preservation, curation, and stewardship continue to be critical topics at our meetings, and they figure prominently in CNI’s agenda. I’m really pleased we can offer a number of on-demand sessions dealing with aspects of these challenges:
• Over the past few years, email preservation has become an increasingly important part of archives and digital preservation work. Practitioners from archives, libraries, and museums will discuss current and future developments of email archiving in the context of the Email Archiving: Building Capacity and Community (EA:BCC) re-grant program.
• We’ll hear about a collaboration between the Directory of Open Access Journals, CLOCKSS, the Internet Archive, the Public Knowledge Project Preservation Network, and the ISSN International Center/Keepers Registry to address the problem of preserving at-risk open access journals. The group is establishing a central hub where preservation agencies can harvest consistent metadata and access full-text. Note that the Keepers Registry, an extremely strategic part of the global preservation infrastructure that has been covered in previous CNI presentations, has been moved to the ISSN International Center.
• The University of Pittsburgh Library System will discuss how it has taken steps to centralize its digital assets across its repositories, and the implementation of Preservica for preservation of the data.
• A report on a computer vision and graphical user interface experiment at Carnegie Mellon University Libraries to incorporate visual similarity search to help archivists and metadata specialists search, de-duplicate, and describe a large institutional photo archive. This is an important example of the ways in which new technologies, many with roots in various forms of machine learning, offer new approaches to special collections and archives.
• A team from Virginia Tech will share their experience with adopting a serverless platform to manage digital objects and preserve large-scale datasets.
Issues related to special collections and digital scholarship will be explored in several on-demand briefings:
• A team from the University of Florida will provide an update on the collaborative Celebrating Cuba project.
• We’ll learn about the latest migration of the Voices of the Holocaust project, a collection of interviews conducted with survivors in 1946. The last update, conducted in 2009, relied on Adobe Flash technology, which has now become obsolete and is moving into unsupported status.
• A form of “post-custodial” digitization sometimes called “digitize-and-return” or “scan-and-return,” for digitizing and then returning materials to donors who do not wish to part with their items at present, will be discussed by a team from Brigham Young University (BYU). In recent years, we’ve seen a number of fascinating examples of this general strategy, including the UCLA Modern Endangered Archives and the British Library’s Endangered Archives program, as well as a range of community-based archival stewardship programs, and it will be valuable to add BYU’s experience to our growing understanding of best practices and opportunities here.
• A project between the University of Toronto Libraries and the Centre for Medieval Studies, The Book and the Silk Roads, to build and support an international network of scholars, curators, conservators, and scientists exploring developments in writing technologies and reimagining the history of the premodern book.
• We will hear about efforts to institutionalize scalable digital scholarship support across the library organization at The Ohio State University.
Sessions relating to repositories will include the following on-demand briefings:
• Transitioning to the latest version of Fedora, the popular repository platform. This has been a significant technical challenge for many institutions.
• A team from the University of South Carolina will discuss their decision-making process for choosing a repository platform in light of current budgetary pressures.
Sustainability is an ongoing challenge, and two live sessions will address this issue as it relates to programs we’ve followed for several years:
• We’ll hear about a new model for fiscal sponsorship of the Samvera Community.
• Members of the Data Curation Network (DCN) will discuss sustainability planning efforts that would allow the organization to transition away from the initial funding provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. I view the DCN as a vitally important part of the effort to scale up research data curation in the US higher education community.
Other sessions will focus on privacy and identity management: A live panel made up of representatives from the University of Nebraska, the University System of Georgia, and Elsevier will discuss the feasibility of federated authentication as the sole method of access to library resources. On-demand briefings will include a presentation by the legendary Ken Klingenstein of Internet2 to discuss new developments for coping with the challenges of implementing federated identity at scale, and a presentation from ORCID will present their new affiliation manager tool for institutions.
There is never a dearth of valuable and creative user services initiatives shared at CNI, and this meeting will be no exception. Several on-demand briefings will highlight new services:
• The Social Feed Manager software developed by a team at George Washington University Libraries to allow researchers to create social media data collections, which has opened many new opportunities for the library.
• An update on the e-book borrowing app SimplyE, which started in public library environments, is now being rolled out to research libraries on a pilot basis through a collaboration involving Columbia University and LYRASIS. SimplyE offers a very different way to think about circulating e-books. This is potentially highly strategic, and worth your attention if you aren’t already tracking it.
• Data analytics and visualization services at Pennsylvania State University.
A perennial topic of interest at CNI is IT and library collaborations: an on-demand discussion of effective strategies and models will include library and technology leaders from New York University and the University of Colorado at Boulder, moderated by Athenaeum21 Consulting.
Finally, we’ll have an on-demand presentation from Peter Kaufman, who’s currently working with the Knowledge Futures Project, on his new book, The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge. I’ve known Peter a long time, and I’m really delighted that he’s agreed to share highlights of this work. I just got my copy of the book, and am now part-way through it; it’s a very wide-ranging and important work that I think will be of great interest for the CNI community.
I invite you to browse the complete list of breakout sessions and their full abstracts on the meeting Sched: https://cnispring21mtg.sched.com/ (a complete list of on-demand briefings is available at https://cnispring21mtg.sched.com/info). In many cases you will find 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 video recordings. You can also follow the meeting via Twitter using the hashtag #cni21s.
On behalf of the CNI team, I look forward to welcoming you to what promises to be another extremely worthwhile meeting. I apologize for the lack of a reception but this is the virtual world that we are forced to live in at present. Please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Diane Goldenberg-Hart, CNI’s Assistant Executive Director (email@example.com), if we can provide you with any additional information on the meeting.
Coalition for Networked Information