Closely related to, and supporting the programmatic focus on stewardship of institutional content resources, is the Coalition’s ongoing work on preservation of a wide variety of digital content. This is a central issue not only in the shift to network-based scholarly communication, but also in ensuring the continuity of the broad cultural and intellectual record in the digital age and the continued availability of evidence to support future scholarly inquiry. The issues here are not simply technical, but they represent a fundamental social and public policy challenge with wide-reaching implications; we are particularly interested in trying to define and characterize the ever growing range of materials that should constitute parts of our cultural and intellectual record, including new areas such as social media in the broadest sense, and to find ways to measure progress in preserving them. CNI works closely with organizations such as ARL, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Library of Congress, the National Science Foundation (NSF), ITHAKA, the UK Digital Curation Centre (DCC), and OCLC on the full range of technical, economic, and strategy issues surrounding digital preservation. Digital preservation progress will continue to receive extensive coverage at CNI membership meetings.
We will once again co-sponsor and co-chair the International Digital Curation Conference; IDCC 11 will take place in Amsterdam, Netherlands on February 22-25, 2016.
The wide-scale adoption of networked information services and the shift to digital content raises a set of new questions about risk management and business continuity planning for libraries and higher education institutions. CNI continues to track these risk management issues, exploring developments and experiences with so-called “cloud” storage systems and their implications for robust storage and digital preservation, as well as some of the thinking emerging from the exascale computing and massive storage communities on the development of resilient systems, and the ways in which these ideas can be applied to very large scale digital preservation.
Another area in which CNI has maintained a strong interest is in the changing nature of personal information storage and personal archiving, and the social and scholarly implications of these developments. A specific case in point is the institutional response to the acquisition of large, personal digital archives from scholars and researchers, as well as the personal archives of prominent intellectual, artistic, literary, political and similar figures. CNI will be involved again in the Personal Digital Archiving Conference, which will take place in Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 12-14, 2016.
The digital records of organizations are also poorly explored. A particular area of CNI interest is the changing nature of the academic record caused by the deployment of learning management systems, institutional repositories (IRs), large-scale lecture and event capture, and long-lived, collaborative resources jointly developed by faculty and students, and most recently massively open online courses (MOOCs). These emerging methods and systems will have lasting policy implications for special collections and institutional archives.
Providing a record of government agency websites, interactive databases, visual data, and other digital information as well as more traditional publications carried forward from the print era is a huge challenge, and no one entity has designated responsibility or obligation for this task. CNI has long championed government information on the Web, and is currently working with the Government Publishing Office (GPO) to explore strategies for sustainable stewardship of federal information.
A new area of investigation is the character and structure of stewardship transitions, where responsibility for preserving and managing collections of content needs to migrate from one organization to another. Issues in this area are emerging in a wide range of contexts: escrow agreements for commercial digital content; the disposition of research data after some initial funder-underwritten retention period; organizational failures; succession rights in the context of efforts like DPN.