A centerpiece of CNI’s work on networked information is built around the broad theme of the stewardship of institutional content resources: materials created by members of the institutional community, or that document the work, processes, or intellectual and cultural life of an institution. The practice of such stewardship, which includes management, preservation, and access, is a central role for higher education and cultural memory organizations in the digital age. Our work here has two major components. One is to advance and structure the wealth of new digital content. The program includes our continuing efforts to understand and highlight experiments in the creation of new types of scholarly works for the digital medium, such as successors to the scholarly print monograph or the development of electronic theses and dissertations; the disposition of materials collected through lecture capture systems; the implications of mass digitization of materials to support scholarship; and the availability of digital representations for existing collections of physical materials held in libraries, archives, museums, and audio/visual and public broadcasting groups. The second major effort focuses on approaches to managing the wealth of new content through the development of strategies such as the deployment of IRs. Here CNI is addressing the full range of issues from policy and strategic planning through system architecture and standards for the management of complex digital objects.
We will continue to explore ways in which institutional strategies and systems need to connect to national and disciplinary-level data management and curation activities (such as those developing through the e-research initiatives described above), and some of the inter-institutional issues that arise from large-scale research collaborations and virtual organizations.
A continuing priority is a focused, ongoing re-examination and re-assessment of IR services. The concept of the IR is in its second decade; CNI was deeply involved in the initial conceptualization of IR services and in the development of implementation strategies for them. Platform alternatives have multiplied and matured, and understandings about costs, as well as barriers to successful deployment, have become much clearer. Indeed, we are seeing significantly different deployment trajectories in different nations, particularly in the context of subject repositories and other disciplinary or funder-defined data management frameworks, and these are leading to new policy issues and requirements for various kinds of interoperability standards. It is an appropriate time to document these developments. The SHARE program (and parallel developments in other nations), relying heavily on repositories of all types as infrastructure, is creating a new set of demands for various forms of interoperability.
We are particularly interested in ways in which the impact of IRs might be measured, and the ways in which IRs interact with virtual organizations, faculty movement from one institution to another, and with stewardship of scholarly work associated with faculty retirements.