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CLIR Issues Number 11

Number 11
September/October 1999


CLIR Forms Task Force On The Artifact
by Abby Smith

Billy E. Frye Leadership Institute Takes Shape
by Susan F. Rosenblatt and Deanna B. Marcum

College Libraries As Agents Of Change
by Deanna B. Marcum

Results of DLF Forum on Digital Library Practices
by Rebecca Graham

Preserving Print, Preserving Culture
by Kathlin Smith

CLIR Forms Task Force On The Artifact

by Abby Smith

THE COUNCIL ON Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is forming a task force to consider the role of the artifact in library collections. Stephen G. Nichols, James H. Beall Professor of French and Humanities, chair of the Romance Languages Department at Johns Hopkins University, and former interim director of the Eisenhower Library, will chair a group of 17 members that will include distinguished scholars, administrators, librarians, and archivists. The task force will focus on what factors make it useful or necessary for a work to be retained in its original form, and what preservation options are advisable to ensure the integrity of the item. The task force will formulate the requirements for preserving the artifact in research collections in the context of digital technology and emerging research trends, and propose strategies to library managers and university administrators that address realistically the risks to artifactual collections.

In the past, libraries have had to collect materials comprehensively if they were to be research institutions. Now, thanks to digitization, they are extending their traditional role as physical repositories of intellectual resources to include providing access to electronic surrogates and research materials housed in remote repositories. But it is critical that the development of digital collections and the infrastructures that support them not occur at the risk of neglect to traditional collections of print and audiovisual collections. University and library administrators are making difficult choices about how to invest in information resources. The work of the task force is to ensure that scholars are aware of the forces that are shaping decisions about the future of research collections and that they have a strong voice in the choices that are made.

Among the issues the group will address are:

  • Under what circumstances are original materials needed for research?
  • Under what circumstances are alternative preservation approaches warranted?
  • From both scholarly and managerial perspectives, what are the advantages and disadvantages of such options as digital conversion, microfilming, off-site storage, deacidification, and conservation?

These are representative questions and by no means exhaustive. The task force will most likely go beyond them in its deliberations.

The charge to the task force grows from the work of the five task forces appointed in 1997 by the American Council of Learned Societies and CLIR, reported in Scholarship, Instruction, and Libraries at the Turn of the Century. The groups examined the impact of new information technologies on scholarship in the next century and one of the major results was the assertion by scholars of the undiminished importance of access to research materials in their original form, together with the promise of new technologies to increase that access. The charge also reflects the concerns of the CLIR Board and the many library directors we consulted during our regional briefings this spring that research libraries need to reexamine collection development and retention policies as they integrate digital resources into their collections. The pressure on libraries to keep pace with the growth of published information in all formats and on all media coincides with an increased sensitivity among scholars to how much information not only resides on the page, but also inheres in the physical artifact on which that information is recorded. For example, there have been many thoughtful assessments published recently, written both by scholars and by librarians, on the artifactual importance of nineteenth-century imprints. Regrettably, few library managers find it is either physically possible or financially realistic to retain all items of long-term value in their custody, though reformatting and retention policies vary widely from institution to institution. Over the past decade, however, with the increasing use of interlibrary loan and document delivery, together with the growth of networked access to digitized journals, books, and special collections, there is a growing operational divorce between access to and ownership of information resources. More and more, scholars are consulting sources without gaining physical access to them. What impact will digital technology have on the role of artifacts in library collections? It has already, through the creation of online catalogs and finding aids, made the whereabouts of artifactual collections more widely known. It has also increased demand for access to the “original” source materials of many digitized special collections.

The task force will ask when it is necessary to retain work in its original form, and when it is sufficient and appropriate to capture intellectual content through reformatting, be it microfilming or digital conversion. Digitizing texts and images is in many ways desirable—far more desirable than microfilming—because it vastly increases access. Digital technology, while not freeing us entirely from media (think of magnetic tape, CD-ROMs, and the paper on which files are printed), is, in its essence, disembodied and therefore allows use that defies the constraints of time and place. But the digital surrogate is quite different from the original. Microfilm, difficult as it often is to use, is at least a miniature picture of the original. A digital surrogate is a reconstructed version of the original, and the implications of that for scholarship are serious. Not surprisingly, this amazing new technology has thrown into high relief the distinctive and irreplaceable characteristics of artifacts.

The group is expected to complete its work in eighteen months and produce a final report that will be widely disseminated among administrators, scholars, and librarians within the research community.

In addition to general funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation that will be used for this purpose, CLIR has received a grant from the Delmas Foundation specifically in support of this activity.

CLIR is pleased to announce that The Gladys Kreible Delmas Foundation has contributed a generous grant to support the work of the Task Force on the Role of the Artifact in Library Collections.

Billy E. Frye Leadership Institute Takes Shape

by Susan F. Rosenblatt and Deanna B. Marcum

PLANNING FOR THE Billy E. Frye Leadership Institute is well under way, and the first session will be held June 4-16, 2000, at Emory University. Since the Institute was announced in December, EDUCAUSE has joined CLIR and Emory University as a partner and sponsor, strengthening support for the program. In addition, Richard Detweiler, president of Hartwick College, has agreed to serve as co-dean with Deanna Marcum.

The mission of the Frye Institute is to help universities develop leaders of information services for the twenty-first-century. The rapidly changing landscape of higher education and meteoric growth in the availability of digital information are transforming the management of information resources and services on campuses. As new technologies enable new methods of teaching, research, and scholarly communication, they also render historical boundaries among teaching, research, information management, and scholarly communication less clear. New kinds of support services and information infrastructures must be developed to support new modes of interaction with the campus community.

Technology will not make traditional libraries and traditional information technology support services unnecessary. On the contrary, leaders will be challenged to manage hybrid systems of print and digital information—and traditional information technology systems—in tandem with new programs and services. This complex hybrid environment demands new answers to the questions:

  • How will universities organize their information services?
  • How will they assess the effectiveness of traditional and new services, and how will they measure the benefits of investments in networked resources, support for new modes of teaching, and library collections?
  • What new investment strategies, service models, and organizational structures will emerge, and how can leaders help their institutions to analyze the choices and make good strategic and tactical decisions?
  • How can they help to shape effective information services and organizations for the future?
  • What are the likely effects of changing government policies, intellectual property law, and economics on access to information?

The Institute’s curriculum design follows from the premise that challenges to higher education, including those surrounding digital information and services, require new kinds of leaders: individuals who can identify the right questions; formulate appropriate strategies for addressing policy, programmatic, and fiscal issues on campus and within higher education; bridge organizational boundaries; effectively mentor staff; and skillfully manage change in a fluid and uncertain environment. An advisory committee comprising leaders in librarianship and information technology has helped to formulate the goals and mission of the Institute, design the curriculum, devise participant recruitment strategies, and review publicity.

The Frye Institute will be an intensive, two-week residential program focusing on the strategic issues facing higher education and their implications for the organization and leadership of information resources and services. Bringing together a variety of participants—for example, faculty, information technologists, librarians, and managers from scholarly societies and university presses—the Institute will offer rich opportunities for participants to deepen and broaden their understanding of the context and complexity of issues in higher education and to assess the implications for leadership of information services and resources. The Institute’s faculty will include leaders from higher education, the information industry, government, and experts in organizational development. Through a combination of seminar, discussion, case studies, and readings, participants will gain new knowledge, understanding, and skills. The Institute will provide unique opportunities for extensive interaction among colleagues from diverse backgrounds, simultaneously enriching the Institute experience and forming a new cohort of leaders who can serve as mentors to one another and to future leaders. The curriculum will focus not only on issues in higher education and the implications for leadership of information resources and services; equally important will be opportunities to explore leadership skills such as communication, personal style, leadership, organizational development, and change management.

The Frye Institute experience will continue beyond the completion of the residential part of the program. Following the two-week Institute, participants will return to their home institutions to conduct a year-long practicum. The practicum is intended to be a project that explores in a real-life setting some of the issues and questions introduced during the Institute. The results of the practicum will be discussed by participants in a short seminar the following year.

The Frye Institute is designed for individuals with a commitment to and talent for leadership within universities. Participants will come from a variety of backgrounds and offer diverse expertise. They will demonstrate evidence of past leadership and will have defined a significant practicum project—one that explores critical issues in information resources and services in higher education, and that has the support of the home institution.

The Institute’s Web site is under construction at: It will soon include application guidelines and descriptions of the curriculum. CLIR and EDUCAUSE welcome comments and ideas about the Institute, and will be pleased to provide presentations and discussions to interested groups.

Frye Leadership Institute Advisory Committee

Patricia Battin, Consultant
David Bishop, University Librarian
Northwestern University
Jacqueline Brown, Director, Technology Outreach and Partnerships
University of Washington
Kathryn Deiss, OLMS Program Manager
Association of Research Libraries
Joan I. Gotwals, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries
Emory University
Brian Hawkins, President
Paul J. Kobulnicky, Vice-Chancellor for Information Services and University Librarian
University of Connecticut
Polley McClure, Vice President for Information Technologies
Cornell University
Jack McCredie, Associate Vice Chancellor, Information Systems and Technology
University of California, Berkeley
Betsey Patterson, Virtual Library Project Coordinator
Woodruff Library Emory University
Carolyn Snyder, Dean of Library Affairs
Southern Illinois University Library
Susan F. Rosenblatt, Consultant
Deanna Marcum, President

College Libraries As Agents of Change

by Deanna B. Marcum

IN THE SPRING of 1998, with funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, CLIR’s College Libraries Committee began a project to study innovative uses of technology on college campuses. The president of CLIR and the chair of the College Libraries Committee wrote letters to heads of libraries of colleges and mid-sized universities in the United States to ask if they had used technology in a way that significantly enhanced teaching and learning on their campuses. The letter encouraged applications from librarians who were proud of their accomplishments and willing to host a study team for a site visit.

Forty-one libraries from all regions of the country applied. The College Libraries Committee and the CLIR staff selected nine campuses that offered an interesting view of how innovation could be applied. These institutions were not necessarily chosen for their state-of-the-art technology. Rather, they were chosen because their accomplishments would generate ideas that would stimulate and inspire other institutions to make changes on their campuses. The sites chosen were: California Institute of Technology; Carnegie Mellon University; Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis; Lafayette College; Point Park College; Southern Utah University; Stevens Institute of Technology; West Virginia Wesleyan College; and Wellesley College.

The site visits were conducted between September 1998 and January 1999. Draft versions of the case studies were completed in January. A two-day conference was planned for March at the Belmont Center in Maryland to discuss the environment that is most conducive to organizational change. The case studies, distributed to participants weeks before the conference, were to serve as a point of departure for a broader discussion of change that is transforming colleges and mid-sized universities.

CLIR invited 27 individuals to attend, including college presidents, library directors, faculty, professional association representatives, government employees, and technology experts. Representatives from each of the nine case study sites were present to discuss which features of the programs they studied had been most successful.

CLIR invited four speakers to provide additional perspective on the case studies and to generate discussion. William Haden, president of West Virginia Wesleyan College, opened the conference by noting that with rapid developments in information technology, colleges today face new pressures to remain relevant, competitive, and effective. These pressures will force colleges to change, and the library, in collaboration with faculty and information technology staff, will be at the heart of that change.

Haden’s introduction was followed by two presentations on making change in higher education. Susan Jurow, executive director of the College and University Personnel Association, stressed the importance of understanding the process of change and what it takes for individuals to engage in projects to bring about change. Barbara Hill, senior fellow in the Center for Leadership Development and International Initiatives of the American Council on Education (ACE), shared the strategies that were successful in a program, cosponsored by ACE and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, to help colleges and universities succeed with comprehensive change. Brian Hawkins, president of EDUCAUSE, prepared participants for the wide-ranging discussion with his observations on the transformation of higher education.

Recommendations to CLIR

What followed was a spirited discussion among participants that touched on all aspects of change and the qualities of leadership most effective in colleges and mid-sized universities. In wrapping up, participants contributed a number of ideas about concrete steps CLIR could take to support the libraries and their staff in planning and carrying out effective change.

  • CLIR should work to clarify the image of what a library is and what librarians are: managers of information and intellectual inquiry. The profession is changing more rapidly than the awareness of the profession is changing. It is in danger of no longer attracting bibliophiles, while also failing to attract the young professional “search engines” because they do not appreciate how future-oriented the profession is. There is a need to define the profession’s role for the future. Mature professionals might be selected to link up with library schools to nurture next-generation librarians. CLIR might help develop a practical guide for universities on how to recruit a university librarian.
  • CLIR should convene a group of presidents, provosts, and librarians to discuss technology and change as it has been discussed at the conference, possibly in collaboration with the American Council on Education.
  • CLIR should convene groups of faculty members by discipline on a regional basis to discuss how they are using technology in the classroom. That would begin to build a base of knowledge across regions and break down some of the isolation.
  • CLIR should devise strategies for faculty to collaborate with librarians and information technology professionals. It might be most useful to work with consortia or selected groups of colleges.
  • CLIR could develop standards for assessment of college library services and programs. It could help identify what could best be done nationally and what locally, sorting out the proper domain for different issues.
  • CLIR should issue publications with messages aimed specifically at provosts and presidents. Many CLIR publications are good for librarians, but are not read by top administrators.

The full report of the conference, including the presentations, a summary of the discussion, and the nine case studies, is available in a new report from CLIR. The report, Innovative Use of Information Technology by Colleges, can be purchased for $20 prepaid, including postage and handling. The report will be available soon on CLIR’s Web site.

Results of DLF Forum on Digital Library Practices

by Rebecca Graham

BRINGING TOGETHER MORE than 60 participants, the inaugural Forum on Digital Library Practices was held in Washington, D.C., on July 17 and 18. Conceived to provide a venue for learning and exchange among practitioners from Digital Library Federation (DLF) member institutions, the forum featured presentations of work at several DLF institutions on a range of issues. The presentations were followed by questions and discussion related to the technological development of digital libraries. (See the earlier article at for additional background information.)

Gary Marchionini, Boshamer Professor of Information Science in the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, served as the forum’s plenary speaker and stressed to attendees the need to focus on people. In doing so, Marchionini articulated his concept of the sharium, which he defines as “a virtual workspace with rich content and powerful tools where people can work independently or collaborate with each other to learn and solve information problems.” He stressed that there is a community of users who will be the consumers of, contributors to, and collaborators in the development of digital library services and collections.

Participants gave more than a dozen presentations on technical topics, representing work at several DLF institutions. In the initial briefing session on finding aids, presenters highlighted the technological challenges that have been met and identified some of the more difficult questions and areas where research would be beneficial. Presenters consistently stressed the importance of using existing standards, such as Encoded Archival Description (EAD) and Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), as well as emerging best practices, such as standardized encoding using EAD and Extensible Markup Language (XML). Martin Halbert, of Emory University, pointed out that very little research has been done on the value to researchers of item-level descriptions of collections. In addition, many speakers, in presenting their own experiences in developing finding aids, supported the case for “better and fewer tools,” as articulated by Robert DeCandido of The New York Public Library.

The session on authentication and authorization presented two approaches to the challenge of providing access to licensed resources. Phil Reese described a solution implemented at the University of Southern California in which a Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides a USC IP address for remote users. David Millman, of Columbia University, and Sal Gurnani, of the California Digital Library, brought the group up-to-date on the DLF-sponsored digital certificate prototype project. (See for an earlier article).

Presentations on the remaining three topics—digital repositories, naming systems, and page navigation systems—illustrated the variety of approaches that institutions are taking in defining services such as repositories, as well as in developing tools such as page turners. After the Library of Congress, University of California at Berkeley, and University of Chicago gave presentations on page navigation, Ricky Erway, of the Research Libraries Group, observed that all three institutions had “come up with remarkably similar functional requirements and had identified complementary structural metadata elements to support that functionality.” The presentations all provide impetus for further research on areas of attainable interoperability based on current efforts.

Planning is under way for the next forum, targeted for April 2000, which Emory University will host in Atlanta, Georgia. As details become available they will be posted to the Web site and distributed to DLF institutions. Presentations from the forum are available at

Preserving Print, Preserving Culture

by Kathlin Smith

RECENTLY, THERE HAS been increased interest in the social, economic, and political importance of culture and cultural policy. This interest is coming from diverse sources. The World Bank, for example, is placing new emphasis on understanding the value of culture in development. In October it will sponsor a conference in Florence, Italy, entitled “Culture Counts: Financing, Resources, and the Economics of Culture in Sustainable Development.” In Germany, the annual invitational Dahlem Konferenzen, which has focused primarily on issues in the natural sciences since its inception in 1974, will devote its March 2000 workshop to “Rational Decision-making in the Preservation of Cultural Property.”

In the United States, The Pew Charitable Trusts announced that they will devote some $50 million to activities that will examine the role of culture in America. The trusts will support projects to focus the attention of politicians on the intrinsic value of culture, as opposed to its value for leisure or as an economic engine.

Culture can be defined in many ways, but a desire to preserve culture forces one to think about how it is represented. Discussions of cultural preservation or cultural heritage tend to focus on the three-dimensional or visual manifestations: monuments, objects, works of art, or performances. Textual sources receive less attention, yet it is through recorded history that much of culture—or the information that provides context for cultural artifacts or practices—survives.

U.S. Librarian of Congress James Billington made this point in opening remarks at a conference on cultural heritage sponsored by the World Bank last fall. He urged the World Bank and the United Nations “to recognize the importance to human development and to our several identities of the often unglamorous but essential records of written language as indispensable parts of the cultural heritage and, indeed, of humane, human development.” The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recognized this, in 1995 establishing its “Memory of the World” program to identify important collections of print documents for preservation. The program has created a Memory of the World Register for textual collections, similar to its World Heritage List for the preservation of natural and cultural sites.

Preserving the world’s cultural heritage cannot be done without involving its custodians. Although libraries, archives, and museums have tended to pursue their work separately, increasingly they find more reasons to work together, especially on concerns related to digital technology. The value of such cooperation is increasingly recognized in Europe, where some countries have formalized the alliance between libraries, archives, and museums. In Germany, for example, the Foundation for Prussian Heritage, led by CLIR Board member Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, oversees several museums, libraries, and archives. England has decided to create the Museum, Libraries and Archives Council to replace two separate organizations, the Library and Information Commission and the Museum and Galleries Commission.

CLIR has already initiated two activities that it hopes will help librarians, archivists, and museum staff to benefit from the experience and perspectives that each brings to a shared set of problems. The first activity is a conference on collections, content, and the Web, which CLIR will co-host with the Chicago Historical Society in October. The conference will be supported by a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through its program to foster museum and library collaboration. The conference will assess how libraries and museums design their Web sites with the goal of extending the reach of their collections beyond the walls of their institutions and, by gathering information from Web visitors, see how well they meet the expectations of those visitors.

At a time when digital capabilities have expanded research access enormously, the question is being asked, what is the role of the artifact in library collections? CLIR has formed an international task force that will consider what factors make it useful or necessary for a work to be retained in its original form, and what preservation options are advisable to ensure the integrity of the item. The task force will formulate the requirements for preserving the artifact in research collections in the context of digital technology and emerging research trends, and propose strategies to library managers and university administrators that address realistically the risks to artifactual collections.

Council on Library and Information Resources

1755 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Fax: (202)939-4765 · E-mail:

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) grew out of the 1997 merger of the Commission on Preservation and Access and the Council on Library Resources. CLIR identifies the critical issues that affect the welfare and prospects of libraries and archives and the constituencies they serve, convenes individuals and organizations in the best position to engage these issues and respond to them, and encourages institutions to work collaboratively to achieve and manage change.

Deanna B. Marcum

Hans Rütimann
Director of International Developments

Abby Smith
Editor and Director of Programs
Kathlin Smith
Director of Communications

Rebecca Graham
Interim Director
Digital Library Federation

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