From Clifford Lynch, Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information
Washington, DC The Spring 2012 CNI Membership Meeting, to be held at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland on April 2 and 3, 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 2. The opening plenary is at 1:15 PM and will be followed by three rounds of parallel breakout sessions. Tuesday, April 3, 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 2, after which participants can enjoy a free evening in Baltimore.
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 at the registration table.
The Plenary Sessions
I am delighted that James Duderstadt, President Emeritus of the University of Michigan and currently University Professor of Science and Technology there, will join us as our opening speaker. He has been a prominent, articulate and thoughtfulleader in higher education and research policy for decades, with an extensive record of public service (you can find details on our website). Of particular relevance to the CNI community is his involvement with the evolution of ideas about research cyberinfrastructure, and his encouragement of new interdisciplinary collaborations involving computer and information scientists with researchers in many other disciplines through the creation of the School of Information at Michigan and the development of what was originally called the Media Union (now the Duderstadt Center). He chaired the National Academies committee that published the key 2002 report Preparing for the Revolution: Information Technology and the Future of the Research University, and he has been a member of the current Academies committee studying the future of the research university. In his talk, Duderstadt will look broadly at the social and technological trends driving the restructuring of higher education, the future role of the research university, and the changing understandings of teaching and learning, scholarship, and engagement.
Our closing plenary session on Tuesday will feature Professor Phillip Long, Director of the Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology, University of Queensland. Phil also maintains a connection to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he worked to support change in learning, and is currently a visiting researcher there. For many years, Phil has been at the forefront of the innovative use of technology in teaching and learning, and he is both inspirational and pragmatic, but always deeply sensitive to the actual realities of teachers and students. His recent work in Australia has given him a genuinely global perspective on these issues. Phil's current interests focus on emerging technologies, the cognitive interactions of learners with technology, and learning spaces, both physical and virtual. His wide-ranging presentation will explore current trends in higher education, such as the emergence of massive open online courses, the rise of community-generated learning content, learning analytics, and mobility, and their potential to genuinely change the higher education landscape.
These two plenary sessions should complement each other to provide a thought-provoking view of the interactions between developments driving change from within the academy and the external forces reshaping the role of the academy within the broader society.
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 2011-2012 Program Plan (www.cni.org/program/2011-2012/) 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.
David Weinberger's recently published book Too Big to Know was hailed by John Seely Brown as a "stunning and profound book on how our concept of knowledge is changing in the age of the Net." I am thrilled that David will lead a session in which he will describe some themes from the book and then encourage discussion of how changing knowledge affects all of us. David will also be a co-presenter in a session on the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), focusing on the service platform, particularly the metadata server, for that project, which will make some very interesting capabilities available to the library community and to the public.
The management of large-scale data sets in e-research has been a key theme for CNI's program in recent years, and sessions at this meeting explore the progress that is being made in many areas. We have several sessions that deal with aspects of the federal government policy on data management. As the newly appointed co-chair of the National Academies' Board on Research Data and Information, I will lead a session describing the priorities and activities of that group. José-Marie Griffiths, who chaired the National Science Board's Data Policy Task Force, will describe their findings and facilitate a discussion of the challenges related to data access and preservation for higher education, publishing, and other organizations. Presenters from the University of North Texas and the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) will provide an overview of federal policies on data management and will describe the role and education needs of information professionals who are involved with data management. We will have an update on the multi-institution project to develop a data management planning tool that can be used with researchers as part of their grant proposals; this work has moved ahead substantially and should have wide application.
Several sessions will highlight collections and tools that are being developed for researchers. They include a German project on climate data, the National Science Foundation's (NSF) EarthCube program for Geoscience, and a University of Toronto portal for geospatial resources. Johns Hopkins University will present findings of a feasibility study for a National Science Foundation open access repository. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) had PubMedCentral available as a repository where researchers could place their papers prior to enacting their open access mandate; there is nothing similar to fill the same role in other disciplines. This session - particularly timely in light of the proposed legislation on open access to journal articles produced as part of federal grants - will help us look at some options and think about what is necessary to extend funder-driven open access mandates beyond NIH.
For many of the meeting attendees, this will be a first opportunity to hear from James Hilton of the University of Virginia about a planned digital preservation network (DPN). This is a significant and large-scale undertaking, which is, as far as I know, the first attempt to build a digital preservation system coming directly out of the university world rather than from the science agencies. The session will describe system architecture and strategies. We will have a presentation from the California Digital Library on their work to develop an economic model for long-term preservation; we have had several sessions on this key topic at past CNI meetings, including a plenary by David Rosenthal of Stanford University. It is important for the community to make progress in understanding the economics of digital preservation. Community projects also face sustainability issues, and we will have a discussion from DuraSpace about their organizational strategy.
It is also important that we address the preservation of a wide variety of content related to our cultural heritage. Colleagues from New York University, George Mason University, and the Internet Archive will address the challenges of collecting materials from an evolving social movement, in this case the "Occupy" movement. The University of California Santa Cruz has the enviable charge to preserve the Grateful Dead Archive; they will describe the elements of the collection, the challenges they perceive, and the community involvement that they are fostering. An important project on standards and practices for newspaper preservation will be represented and we will learn about their findings and challenges.
As institutions' digital collections - digital libraries and repositories - mature, they are rethinking priorities, establishing new modes of operation, and experimenting with new models. The California Digital Library and the Public Knowledge Project have recently developed a partnership to help realize the development of a fully integrated, open-source institutional repository and journal publication service. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is addressing their need to grow capacity and encourage innovation. The Ontario Council of Libraries has taken a very interesting approach to developing very large, locally-hosted collections of digital content, both for articles and e-books; their rationale and implementation should be of wide interest. JSTOR is also experimenting with new models, opening up access to independent scholars; a session will describe the initial stages of that new program and what they are learning. Taking a more technical approach, the University of Kentucky will describe their open-source content management system and their process for quickly digitizing and loading complete archival collections.
Large collections of digital materials need new perspectives and solutions for information access and retrieval, particularly as the ecology of discovery and access systems becomes ever more complex. There is increasing discussion in the community about the value of linked data, and presenters from Stanford and the University of Rochester will address that topic from conceptual and campus perspectives. The University of Utah will provide us with information on their studies of why Google Scholar has difficulties indexing institutional repositories; there has been recent discussion on a number of listservs about their study and potential remedies. A presentation from EBSCO Publishing will describe their data driven approach to developing relevant search results for users. ARTstor and two of its academic partners will discuss interoperating requirements for a system in which images from ARTstor must fit in with software employed by institutions for their various repositories. ExLibris will discuss the challenges of providing the most relevant search results to users and the factors that go into producing the best results.
The meeting will present some projects related to changes in scholarly communication and the role of libraries and information technology in providing services and developing collaborations to support innovation. Ithaka S+R will present results from the first in a series of studies on Research Support Services for Scholars; the focus will be on services for academic historians. The University of Oregon has developed a collaboration between the librarians, faculty, and graduate students who are involved in research on gender, new media, and technology; they will describe their developing partnership. A session by the University of Kansas will describe, from both library and IT perspectives, the use of a management consultant to improve effectiveness of the organization.
Two sessions will address topics related to federal information. One will provide an update on a multi-institution project to preserve federal government websites at the end of the Bush administration and describe plans for a similar exercise in 2012-2013. The other session will focus on opportunities and challenges for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) in the 21st century technology environment.
CNI has been focusing attention on new approaches to identity management, biography, and bibliography in academic institutions, including connections to areas as diverse as authority control, campus and federated identity management systems, and institutional repositories. Ken Klingenstein of Internet2 and Renee Shuey of Pennsylvania State University will provide an update on their work in federated identity management. Following the CNI membership meeting, we will be hosting a day-long invitational workshop on scholarly identity management and will issue a report; I'll also be doing a CNI Conversations podcast summary of the meeting and related developments.
We will have some sessions focusing on innovative technologies and tools in library and information environments. The University of Utah is doing some fascinating work to use technologies to recover content that has been lost or obscured due to human or natural causes, such as floods; their retroReveal process is open-source and they hope to build a community of users and contributors. Herbert van de Sompel will describe a project for a web-based approach for resource synchronization.
It is important that we continue to find ways to leverage the increasing amount of scholarly information in digital form for research and teaching. The Sakai Open Academic Environment project is addressing content authoring, sharing, and discovery as well as standard learning management system functionality; we will have an update on this important work.
Finally, we will have two sessions that feature innovations in teaching and learning. Project SCARLET in the UK is using augmented reality technologies and mobile devices to enhance students' experiences in interaction with library special collections materials. Gardner Campbell, a well-known speaker in teaching and learning circles, will describe a course aimed at helping participants thrive and innovate within the framework of new technologies; he has given this course at a number of institutions and with participants ranging from undergraduates to faculty and staff members. He will likely whet our appetites to participate in one of his future classes. Our invitational executive roundtable at this meeting will cover multiple devices and platforms and will look at some of the emerging mobile platform issues in more depth; we'll be issuing a report from this session following the meeting. (I should also note that last December, we had an outstanding roundtable on risk management and disaster planning; I've included the report from that meeting in your registration packet in case you missed it.)
I invite you to browse the complete list of breakout sessions and their full abstracts at 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 when it is available to us. We will also be videotaping a few selected sessions, including the plenary sessions, and making those available after the meeting. You can follow the meeting Twitter stream by using the hashtag #cni12s.
I look forward to seeing you in Baltimore this April 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.