The Frye Leadership Institute: A Unique Opportunity for a Unique Problem
by Deanna B. Marcum and Brian L. Hawkins
Increasing Access to Manuscripts: A Bilateral Approach
by Abby Smith
The Digital Library and B2B Services
by Daniel Greenstein
THE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT is transforming higher education and creating unprecedented challenges for campus leaders. It is clear that people with new competencies and fresh perspectives are needed to manage this change—people who can bring a new framework to our historic enterprise. Recognizing this need, CLIR, EDUCAUSE, and Emory University developed The Frye Leadership Institute to provide continuing-education opportunities for individuals who currently hold, or will one day assume, positions that make them responsible for transforming the management of scholarly information in institutions of higher education. The Frye Leadership Institute, supported by the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is expected to be a ten-year program.
Forty-three librarians, information technologists, and faculty members gathered at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 4, 2000, for the opening of the first Frye Institute. Both the participants and the deans—Richard Detweiler, president of Hartwick College, and Deanna Marcum, president of CLIR—felt some apprehension as they filed into the auditorium of the conference center on the Emory campus. Since this was the first Institute and the first time that librarians, information technologists, and faculty in a variety of leadership and administrative roles had come together to consider leadership issues, no one knew quite what to expect.
Any concerns of the deans or the participants were quickly dispelled by Chancellor Bill Frye’s opening address. From then until the farewell lunch on June 16, the participants, Institute faculty, and deans were intensely and personally engaged in gaining a better understanding of leadership in higher education in today’s digital environment. The deans introduced a new topic each day, and university presidents, faculty members, students, financial officers, and association executives took turns facilitating sessions that stimulated discussion and promoted learning.
The Institute had actually begun even before participants arrived on the Emory University campus. Each person selected for the Institute was assigned to interview key administrators on his or her campus. Interview topics included the administrators’ views on the changes taking place in higher education, as well as their visions for the future. With these data as background, participants spent the first day of the Institute formulating and discussing their own ideas regarding the provision of campus-wide information services. They offered impassioned views about the roles and responsibilities of librarians, information technologists, and faculty in promoting teaching and learning in the digital environment. The participants began to observe not only the organizational, attitudinal, and systems changes that must be realized but also the kind of leadership that will be necessary to effect these changes.
In the first days of the Institute, university and college presidents, provosts, faculty, and financial officers offered personal perspectives on the changing landscape of higher education and spoke of their own methods of meeting the challenges. Thirty-one Institute faculty then led discussions on topics such as scholarly communication, intellectual property and copyright, public policy, technological developments, university governance, student life, teaching and learning, and management.
Throughout the Institute, time was scheduled for informal conversations with the faculty. Mealtimes offered opportunities to arrive at deepened understandings. Participants, who came from large research universities, comprehensive universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges, took pleasure in discovering that they had so much to learn from one another. Listserv communication and gatherings at professional meetings such as EDUCAUSE and the American Library Association will sustain the bonds formed among the participants.
Since the Institute is a year-long project for the participants, time was built into the program for developing and refining the practicum project that each participant will carry out on his or her home campus. Institute faculty, deans, and fellow participants were all available as advisors on the projects.
The evaluations of the first Institute were overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Participants rated the program as uniformly excellent. Their words reveal the intensity of the experience:
“I was not sure exactly what to expect from the Institute, but I am happy to say that I left Atlanta on Friday forever changed. On a very personal level, the Institute confirmed my determination to exert leadership in my own institution and in the broader community of American higher education through the knowledge that I gained, the network of friends and colleagues that I acquired and the deeper understanding of leadership that I developed.”
“In my 22 years as an academic librarian, nothing, NOTHING, that I have done has been as meaningful, as powerful, as my participation in the Frye Institute. . . . It has been a transforming event for me, and I daresay for my cohort group in the Frye Class of 2000. I find myself thinking of what we talked about several times each day. I refer to my notes constantly. I have been reading many of the documents referred to by the excellent cadre of speakers you gathered for us. While it has only been a week, I feel what I learned has already changed my library and my role in the institution.”
“The experience was delightful, amazing and transforming. . . . I particularly appreciated the exceptional quality of the program, the access to the experts, and the bravely honest discussions of leadership issues among faculty, participants, and guests.”
“Without qualification, this was the best professional-development event I have ever attended.”
Plans are now under way for the second Frye Leadership Institute, scheduled for June 3-15, 2001, at the Emory University Conference Center in Atlanta. Application forms are available on the Institute’s Web site. Applications are due by December 15, 2000.
IN JUNE, CLIR hosted a meeting of specialists from the United States and Germany to map out a strategy for using Encoded Archival Description (EAD) as a framework for exchanging information about American and German collections. The group comprised six American and eight German archivists, each of whom represented a distinctive type of institution.
EAD has been developed in a largely North American context to facilitate research in manuscript and archival collections. The size and internal organization of such collections often preclude item-level description. Instead, investigators rely on collection-level finding aids to discover what a collection might hold and how they might best structure their exploration of those resources. These aids have been created in paper over the course of decades and centuries, and are usually available to researchers only onsite. Making the diverse finding aids of many institutions available online would serve the needs of users of primary resources worldwide. These individuals have often declared that having easily searchable information about the location and contents of collections is a greater priority than is creating digital surrogates of those collections, or parts thereof.
The EAD Document Type Definition (DTD) is a standard for encoding archival finding aids using Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) and Extensible Markup Language (XML). The standard is maintained by the Society of American Archivists’ EAD Working Group, which currently includes representative from Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. It is available at the Library of Congress’s Web site.
Participants began two days of intense discussions by establishing a mutual understanding of the two cultures’ differing archival traditions. The group worked through the difficulties of translating critical concepts into another language and context, and developed an agenda for a pilot effort on international exchange. It became clear that the core challenge of the meeting—to understand and accommodate the many nuances of cultural traditions as reflected in national archival practices—is likewise the central goal of any attempt to make EAD useful for international exchange. Solutions to the technical challenges inherent in the project will be successful to the extent that they meet the needs of both partners’ constituencies. Lessons learned from the pilot will have implications beyond this bilateral project, and the benefits of making other nations’ cultural resources accessible across borders will redound to all participants.
Participants will spend the next nine months working on an ambitious agenda of research in several areas: review of data dictionaries and vocabularies; navigation and display of research results; development of tools that facilitate use; and preparation of user studies, among other things. Full documentation of the project on both sides is a critical component. A second meeting will take place in Germany in the spring of 2001. At this session, participants will share results and agree on next steps. CLIR ‘s role as facilitator includes disseminating information as it becomes available. The German effort, coordinated by Angelika Menne-Haritz of the Archivschule Marburg, is supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
Although this pilot is designed to address the needs of an international research community, it will also be instructive to institutions in the United States, where problems remain in putting finding aids online. Many repositories have described their collections using homegrown practices that are sometimes incomplete and often require further work to harmonize with EAD. For these collections, the German efforts to tailor EAD to their centuries-old finding aids may provide valuable methodological lessons. For example, in descriptive practice, German archivists have given priority to the file, while their American counterparts focus on series and collection. This difference of approach makes itself felt in translating such common terms as “container” or “folder.” Harmonizing such areas of divergence can serve as a model for resolving similar differences between American descriptive practices as well.
In addition, an uncalculated number of potentially valuable collections remain uncataloged and unprocessed in historical societies and libraries throughout the United States. While the use of EAD can hardly address the primary causes of this regrettable backlog—causes that include, among others, lack of resources and demand—the availability of a standard method for describing archival collections at least overcomes a major barrier to investment in these resources. The more information that is available about resources, the greater will be the demand for them. The greater the demand, the more likely it is that resources will be allocated to making them available.
CLIR AND DLF are pleased to announce that Angee Baker, vice president of planning and strategic alliances at SOLINET (the Southeastern Library Network), and Max Marmor, head librarian of the Arts Library at Yale University, have been selected as CLIR/DLF Distinguished Fellows.
Ms. Baker developed SOLINET’s programs for Library Products and Services (licensing) and Digital Library Services. Working closely with the International Consortium of Library Consortia while at SOLINET, she led negotiations to obtain a national contract for a major electronic database, which benefited more than 1,100 academic institutions. At CLIR, she will focus on economic analyses of library services. Specifically, she will develop a system for tracking costs of different approaches to digital archiving and examine the sustainability of various types of archival repositories. In addition, she will draft a position paper that will be used to inform the development of CLIR’s broader agenda in the economics of information.
Mr. Marmor is the principal investigator for the Imaging America initiative, for which Yale University is providing both administrative leadership and an organizational home. Imaging America is a multi-institutional collaboration aimed at creating a digital image library in support of American Studies. Project partners include several distinguished libraries, historical societies, and museums, as well as Cornell University. Imaging America is evolving in close consultation with the American Studies Association. The initiative is especially committed to moving digital images into the classroom, an effort in which the collaboration of Luna Imaging has been essential.
Mr. Marmor has also been engaged with the DLF’s Academic Image Cooperative (AIC) from its inception in January 1999. He has been especially active in building organizational relationships with the College Art Association and in helping guide the course of collection development of the AIC. At CLIR, he will take a lead role in shaping the future of Imaging America and the Academic Image Cooperative, concentrating on the strategic activities necessary to develop viable, useful collections and partnerships.
The CLIR/DLF Distinguished Fellows Program was established in May 2000 as a means of giving talented individuals an opportunity to pursue their own research agendas while helping advance the CLIR/DLF agenda. The fellowships are available for periods of three to twelve months. CLIR and DLF expect to fund three fellowships per year. For information on how to apply for a fellowship, see https://www.clir.org/news/pressrelease/fellows.html.
by Daniel Greenstein
DIGITAL LIBRARIES ARE evolving. Starting out with key implementations (typically OPACs and services that supply access to commercial third-party electronic resources) they tend rapidly to extend themselves, often because of a desire to gain core competencies in new areas, such as production services or online reference. Sometimes, experimental projects emerge as sustainable programs. They become fundamental features of the digital library and harbingers of its further maturation.
In recent contributions to CLIR Issues, I have focused on impediments to the process of maturation. One obstacle is the scarcity of research-and-development effort devoted to digital library applications and their deployment in a live service environment. Another obstacle is the lack of business planning as digitally reformatted collections are developed; this makes it difficult to predict their use and long-term maintenance costs and thus to defend the costs of their production. Likewise, the absence of community-wide consensus about what might be required to enable an archival repository to gain our trust as guarantor for the long-term maintenance of electronic scholarly journals inhibits the evolution of such repositories. One consequence is that libraries are forced to continue incurring the expense of maintaining both print and electronic editions of key titles.
Some of the services commonly required by digital libraries are impractical for any one of them to supply, and this is another impediment to their maturation. The development of archival services for digital scholarly journals is one example. A library has clear incentives to preserve digitally reformatted materials derived from its special collections. Such materials are unique, and the library is the obvious (possibly the only) body with an interest in taking primary archival responsibility for them. However, the same library does not have a compelling motive to preserve electronic journals. Too many interests converge—those of subscribing libraries, scholarly readers, commercial publishers, scholarly authors—for any single institution or community to expose itself to the financial, legal, and other risks associated with archival services.
The archival repository is a good example of what might be called a business-to-business (B2B) digital library service, but there are others. We are familiar with the advantages of reference linking services, which enable users to move seamlessly between reference citations and the underlying objects to which they refer, even when the reference and the underlying object are in separate “collections.” Reference linking relies upon common name resolution services capable of translating between references and the common identifiers that help locate discrete information objects. Although the enthusiasm that libraries, publishers, and users express toward this utility is understandable, it is difficult to imagine the circumstances that would attract any single institution (or any combination of institutions, for that matter) to develop and supply it. Similar obstacles exist for certificate authorities that promise to lift the constraints inherent in IP-based authentication or services that require users repeatedly to enter different username/password combinations. Such obstacles may even impede shared cataloging and collection-development activities.
The difficulties in developing business-to-business services are organizational, rather than technical. The processes to develop such services do not exist within the library community, whether considered narrowly, as comprising a group of collecting organizations, or more broadly (and more appropriately) as that space which is commonly occupied by libraries, their suppliers (typically publishers), and their users. There are, of course, notable exceptions. OCLC supplies a shared cataloging function, and JSTOR supplies a service that might otherwise be considered a shared collection-development activity.1 These exceptions may provide clues about how to proceed with other digital library business-to-business services. First, both OCLC and JSTOR are trusted by, but largely independent of, stake-holding institutions. The capacity for independence in decision-making is crucial to organizations that are forced to make substantial and risky investment decisions. Second, OCLC’s and JSTOR’s services have in some respects benefited from an emerging consensus about their essential functions. (OCLC, for example, has facilitated a consensus about recent metadata applications.) There is also an interesting but no less illustrative difference between these two organizations. OCLC had a prior organizational form and evolved into supplying a global utility while JSTOR was created for this purpose.
What lessons can we learn from the too briefly described experiences of OCLC and JSTOR? First, they suggest that the community, as broadly defined here, needs to specify requirements for the services that all require but that none can supply. Some efforts are already under way. CrossRef, the National Information Standards Organization, the Digital Library Federation (DLF), and others are conducting work on reference linking. The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), CLIR, and DLF are leading a consortium on digital preservation that involves libraries, publishers, licensing specialists, and others (see http://www.diglib.org/architectures. htm and http://www.diglib.org/preserve.htm). Work on certificate-based authentication currently takes place haltingly and in parallel streams, but it is hoped that this work will converge and yield common advantage.
Second, as we define requirements, we need to raise awareness about service potential and help generate a demand for service that will gain the attention of potential service suppliers. Work on digital preservation by CLIR, CNI, and DLF is attempting to create a better understanding of archival repositories’ business models and markets. Similar business perspectives are apparent in the DLF’s work on shared digital image collections and on prototypes that deploy harvesting technologies to develop high-quality network portals (see http://www.diglib.org/collections/aic.htm and http://www.diglib.org/architectures.htm).
Third, we need to think about how suppliers of utility services might be engaged or created. Membership organizations may have a role, but possibly not as service suppliers; their consensus-driven organizational processes may be antithetical to the innovation and entrepreneurialism required of the business-to-business digital library service. There is room, too, for nonprofit organizations that the library community already knows and trusts. At the same time, we need to be realistic about how much we can demand from this quarter and be aware that a significant reallocation of investment could harm the valued utility services already offered, for example, by RLG, OCLC, and JSTOR. In principle, partnership with commercial enterprises is promising, but we need more experience in practice. We may gain some by formally defining functional requirements and business models for utility services while helping aggregate demand for them. The community’s development of loss leaders such as prototype services and demonstrators that prove concepts and engage potential suppliers may help, and they are central to work on preservation, harvesting services, and digital image collections.
Finally, there is opportunity for consortia that borrow organizational components from the library buying clubs but that grant somewhat greater independence to their operational arms than the buying clubs currently have from their members. Two things are clear. First, global, utility, or business-to-business services are fundamental to the digital library’s further development. Second, there is no single most appropriate source from which such services should emerge; all opportunities need to be actively explored.
1I am deliberately omitting references to buying consortia, not because they are insignificant but because they supply alternative and more cost effective means of delivering service (in this case acquisitions) which can be, and is, otherwise supplied by individual institutions.
IN DECEMBER, THE American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress and the American Folklore Society will convene 50 experts to discuss the problem of endangered folklore collections and to propose collaborative solutions. The two-day invitational meeting, supported by CLIR, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, will bring together folklorists, preservation specialists, media experts, intellectual property lawyers, leaders in the entertainment and recording industries, and librarians and archivists to develop plans to ensure long-term access to folk heritage collections. CLIR will publish a report of the conference in 2001.
Folklore and ethnographic collections have been recorded on a variety of media formats, all of them increasingly fragile and problematic. Field recordings on Ampex tapes from the 1970s and current digital audio tapes have captured rich and highly perishable legacies that are deteriorating more quickly than they can be described and reformatted. Action must be taken to ensure that even some of these voices of the past will survive. The conference will be informed by a survey, to be conducted this summer, that will document which institutions and individuals have aural ethnographic materials and what the dimensions of the preservation and access challenges are nationally.
Armed with information from this first-ever baseline survey, participants will focus on three vital areas: access, rights management, and preservation. To increase access to folklore collections, the library and scholarly communities need to develop best practices for cataloging collections. Part of this task will be to agree on common vocabulary and keywords for searching. Equally important, guidelines and best practices are needed for balancing the demand for public access with the privacy rights of those who are documented. The call to digitize folklore collections to widen access to them makes the management of potentially conflicting rights especially urgent. Finally, the preservation challenge of reformatting fragile analog and fugitive digital content is one shared with other custodians of twentieth-century collections. It remains unresolved and grossly underfunded. Participants will discuss approaches that will be practical and useful to institutions and communities regardless of their size or resource base.
Speakers will include Virginia Danielson, curator of the Archive of World Music and librarian of the Loeb Music Library of Harvard University; Anthony Seeger, curator and director, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings; and Elizabeth Cohen of Cohen Acoustical, Inc.
Given the scope of the challenge to preserve and disseminate heritage collections in ways that advance educational goals while also respecting the sensitivities of those who are documented, the meeting will focus on strategies that involve all stakeholders in this enterprise. The capture of heritage collections has traditionally relied on field workers, and the nature of the documentation has precluded formal publishing. Consequently, many of these sources have not been accessioned into library and archival repositories until the end of someone’s career. The materials have seldom been properly stored and have rarely been ordered in a way that allows easy identification and retrieval by others. The conference will provide an opportunity—perhaps the first—for documentors to explore with librarians how to create and care for collections to maximize their longevity and accessibility. Proper procedures during documentation—which might range from choosing a relatively stable and open format to record, to ensuring that the subjects have signed consent forms for further use—are as critical to the survival and dissemination of the materials as is getting them into a repository at the end of their life cycle.
The results of this conference will be of immediate interest to librarians, archivists, folklorists, and scholars, among others, but the implications of the conferees’ findings and proposed strategies extend far beyond the topic of folklore and concerns about the media on which they are recorded. The participants will be grappling with the fundamental emergent issues in developing and maintaining resources for scholarship. Like the biologists and physicists who document their findings and exchange research results outside the controlled environments of traditional print publications, folklorists create and use a large body of data that they do not hand off to a trusted third party—the publisher and, by extension, the library—to ensure the preservation of and access to these data over time. As more humanists enter the digital world of scholarly communication and begin to create digital databases of sources and curricular materials, they will encounter many of the same challenges that folklorists face. Like folklorists, they will need to change their research and writing practices to create primary and secondary sources that will endure over time. The paradigm of the humanist as data creator is emerging quickly, and the example already set by folklorists and other field workers, such as anthropologists, bears scrutiny by all.
See DLF’s new quarterly Web-based newsletter at http://www.diglib.org/pubs/news01/index.htm
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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.