Charting a Course by Nancy Davenport
Enabling New Scholarship by Amy Harbur and Abby Smith
Charting a Course
by Nancy Davenport
AS IT BECAME known that I was to be CLIR’s new president, the question I was asked most often was, “What will be your agenda for CLIR?” If the questioners expected a scripted answer that laid out a 12-month work plan, I surprised (and perhaps disappointed) them by responding that my intention is simply to be useful to the education and information communities and to the vendors that support them.
Over the summer, I have been trying to learn what these communities want CLIR to doand from that I’ll work with the Board of Directors to set the agenda. I’ve met with government agency heads, association executives, television producers, library directors, and college and university faculty. I’ve also talked with an organizational development expert who counsels that leaders must lead from the heart as well as the head.
In October, the Board and I will review CLIR’s current program of activities. We will invite new people to join the Board, and we will identify the points that best engage CLIR’s expertise. We will then put together an agenda that leverages CLIR’s unique contribution to the changing world of scholarship and research.
CLIR will extend its partnerships and collaborations as we explore the changing roles of higher education, libraries, research, and information discovery. But there will also be times when CLIR will be seen as working aloneand those will be the times we are exploring the questions around which there is no agreed-upon solution and we will be trying to develop consensus in these areas.
The other articles in this issue describe some of the exciting work that CLIR is doing in scholarly communications and in preparing the next cadre of intellectual leaders in the library and information world.
I can’t end this column without expressing my thanks and admiration to Deanna Marcum, the former president of CLIR, and to interim presidents Rick Detweiler and Sally Sinn. Deanna’s hard work and vision created this organization, and Rick and Sally brought a renewed vitality to it while the Board looked for a permanent leader. I am also grateful to the staff for the warm welcome and the good advice they have given me.
I am truly delighted to be a part of this pivotal organization. Onward to autumn and a set of new beginnings!
“INDEPENDENT.” “INDIVIDUAL.” “MONKLIKE.”
Such were the terms used by one presenter at CLIR’s second Scholarly Communications Institute (SCI) to describe the traditional work habits of humanists. How, asked this speaker, can disciplines within a knowledge domain long characterized by solitary study learn not only how to survive but also to thrive in the new, collaborative Web environment? How can information technology enhance their scholarship?
For four days, institute participants reflected on these issues, debated their concerns, candidly shared their experiences, and together envisioned a future for their scholarship and teaching. Held July 18Ð21 at the University of Virginia (UVa), the event was supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Focus on Practical Ethics
The focal point of discussions at this year’s SCI was the field of practical ethics. As a new field that draws on deep humanistic roots in philosophy and religious studies, yet is not firmly entrenched within the university department structure, practical ethics touches on many disciplines. It engages arenas of daily life and practice ranging from medicine to law to politics and beyond.
These elements made practical ethics an ideal basis for SCI participants’ study of a wide range of possible initiatives wrought by new information technologies. Participants were drawn from a broad cross-section of the university landscape. Administrators, senior scholars, and graduate students mingled with librarians, scholarly publishers, and academic officers in a gathering rarely, if ever, seen outside an alphabetical university directoryand this was exactly the problem that CLIR and it partner, the UVa Libraries, intended to address.
Working with UVa’s Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life, SCI organizers identified several campus-based teamsteams whose members represented campuses that had both a strong practical ethics program and a strong library. The SCI organizers then surveyed the teams to determine their interest in participating in the institute. The final list of SCI teams represented three institutionsthe Kenan Center for Ethics at Duke University, the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions at Indiana University, and the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesotain addition to the hosting center at UVa. Joining these teams were scholars, technologists, librarians, and publishers, each nationally known for his or her expertise in ethics, new-model scholarship, or publishing. Discussions were stimulated by presentations that described models that illustrate how digital technologies can break down barriers among scholars, librarians, and publishers and bridge divides among researchers at different sites.
Digital Scholarship Depends on Collaboration
The presentations made it clear that digital scholarship cannot exist in a vacuum. Behind us are the days when learned authors such as Cicero took pen to paper and produced great scholarship for students and fellow scholars who expected nothing more than to read words on a scroll. Scholars today provide the content, but administrators must provide the institutional support, and librarians, technologists, and publishers must provide the structure, for digital information dissemination and retrieval.
Although engaged in a common enterprise, members of these groups rarely speak to one another. This situation became more and more obvious as the institute progressed. Scholars, it transpired, are often unaware of the resources available to them in their campus libraries. Technologists, given little or no direction, create “cool” Web sites that do not provide the information and functionality that scholars need. Librarians create enhanced searching techniques for content they may never receive from scholars, who do not know they should be passing it along. Publishers provide value through peer review and editing, but they are often failing financially. Administrators must struggle to balance the demand for online resources from students and senior faculty’s adherence to paper-based resources. Meanwhile, librarians cry for the resources to provide both digital and paper media as they seek to serve their increasingly diverse user bases.
Scholars Demonstrate Collaborative Projects
How can these competing interests be harmonized? Through discussions of their own programs, presenters demonstrated that successful collaborations between scholars, administrators, and librarians can indeed produce functionaleven exemplaryscholarship that not only meets but exceeds that of the “good old days.” For example, David Germano of UVa demonstrated the Tibetan & Himalayan Digital Library (http://iris.lib.virginia.edu/tibet/). This site, which allows scholars and students to access text collections, audio and text transcripts, pictures, and films, and even to “tour” a virtual city, took five years of hard work among collaborators across the globe. Germano reported that the first time he used the new digital library in class, student interest in exchange programs with Tibet jumped as students became more engaged with the material.
Stephen Nichols and Sayeed Choudhury of Johns Hopkins University described the interinstitutional, international collaboration among scholars, librarians, and technologists that enabled them to collect and organize numerous manuscripts for the Roman de la Rose project (http://rose.mse.jhu.edu/). Scholars can now study, compare, and contrast six major copies of this work without having to travel around the world to find them and seek special permissions from protective libraries.
Robert Cavalier, of Carnegie Mellon University, gave a presentation on the use of multimedia case studies in practical ethics to explore such issues as the right to die, abortion, and conflict resolution. His session demonstrated the powerful impact such tools can have, as they give scholars and students the opportunity to view many sides of a case, not only by reading but also by watching videos. These videos often depict the actual participants in a case and challenge viewers to make their own decisions about an issue before they learn of the actual outcome (http://caae.phil.cmu.edu/CAAE/cdrom.htm).
Teams Propose a Case-Study Repository
The teams expressed a desire to jointly create a digital resource that would be broad enough to appeal to several subfields in practical ethics. Having identified the case study as a tool that is important both for teaching and for research, the teams proposed creating a case-study repository that the four centers could test collectively. The teams and their colleagues will also explore the development of a moderated portal for scholars and students that will entail the creation of bibliographies and thesauri, and of an online journal.
For any technology-enabled educational activity to be sustainable, it must engage a core group of scholars and teachers in developing a common resource, and it must return near- and long-term benefits to each individual in that group. To support this process, the UVa agreed to facilitate online communications among the team members after they returned to their home institutions. SCI participants will be able to share and discuss what they learned with their colleagues. Then, on the basis of this wider support base, they can plan concrete courses of action. These steps will be staged to allow peer interactions at professional gatherings.
CLIR will disseminate a report of the second SCI session on its Web site. The report will make the lessons learned from the session accessible to the scholars, librarians, publishers, and technologists who will be working together to meet the emerging communication needs of this field and other fields of scholarship.
“IT’S LIKE FINDING out where your food comes from for the first time.”
This is how Megan Norcia, one of 11 scholars awarded a CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship in Scholarly Information Resources for the upcoming academic year, described an August seminar at Bryn Mawr College that provided an orientation to the fellowship program. Norcia will spend her fellowship year in the library at Lehigh University, one of 10 academic institutions participating in the program.
“Talking with librarians who are bibliographers, reference specialists, administrators, instructional-technology innovators, and special collections curators has been an extraordinary experience,” said Norcia, who recently earned her Ph.D. in Victorian Children’s Literature.
The fellowship program has two aims. The first is to give scholars a new perspective on the world of the library and on the potential linkages among disciplinary scholarship, libraries, archives, and evolving digital tools. The second is to bring into the library the disciplinary expertise of the scholar.
During the two-week seminar, visiting faculty challenged participants to think about the changes under way in research methodologies; the creation of new scholarly resources; the demands these changes place on libraries, archives, and similar organizations; and the role that scholars pursuing careers in libraries can play in shaping the future of scholarly resources management and use.
“The chance to be around so many interesting and incredibly smart people has reminded me, as I once read, that `the life of the mind is portable,'” said Daphnee Rentfrow, who will be a fellow at Yale. “I love being reminded and reassured that being a humanist and a teacher, a scholar and a learner, a leader and a follower, are all part and parcel of the same process . . . I never realized how many different roles librarians inhabited, on so many levels, at so many institutions, in so many waysI would be proud to call myself a librarian,” she added.
“Probably more than anything else, this seminar has shown me how key the concept of collaboration is in today’s academic library,” said Patricia Hswe, who will spend two years at the University of Illinois. “Faculty, students, IT staff, librarians, and administrators need to work together to keep the university current and to position it as an accommodating, adaptable, and applicable organization.”
Christa Williford, who will spend a year at Bryn Mawr, said that the seminar made her consider “the broader issues facing librarianship today, particularly in regard to the library’s unique position as a guardian of democratic values in our society.” She added, “The ways in which libraries choose to face the challenge of the information age could determine whether individual rights such as intellectual freedom, the right to privacy, and participation in the democratic process survive into the twenty-first century.”
“I’m very glad to have had a chance to ask the big questions about where libraries are headingand to start talking about answers,” said Amanda Watson, who will be a fellow at the University of Virginia. “It’s also liberating to realize that there are multiple career options for us, and that we’ll be a community for each other after the seminar ends. I’m now even more excited about this upcoming year than I was when I initially applied for the fellowship.”
Throughout their internships, fellows will “meet” monthly in a virtual classroom, developed by the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science, to hear lectures and engage in discussions.
More information on the fellowship program is available at https://clir.wordpress.clir.org/fellowships/postdoc/postdoc.html.
THE FRYE LEADERSHIP Institute is accepting applications for its 2005 session, which will be held June 517 at Emory University. The Institute is an intensive, two-week residential program in which participants study and analyze the leadership challenges stemming from the changing context of higher education. Participants will be selected competitively from among nominees and applicants who have a commitment to, and talent for, leadership within higher education. The group as a whole will be chosen to reflect the variety of backgrounds and experience that constitute higher education.
The Institute is supported by a grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and is sponsored by CLIR, EDUCAUSE, and Emory University. Applications must be submitted by December 1, 2004. Information and application instructions are available at www.fryeinstitute.org. The Institute can also be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
China and Denmark Receive Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Access to Learning Award
CHINA’S EVERGREEN RURAL Library Service and Denmark’s Aarhus Public Libraries have been named joint recipients of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Access to Learning Award for 2004. Each library system was recognized for its outstanding efforts to improve free public access to information technology, particularly to underserved communities.
In China, Evergreen is placing computers in rural public high schools in the three western provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, and Shaanxi, and in northern Jiangsu, to help educate students, their parents, and rural residents. Two-thirds of China’s population live in rural areas, where access to information resources is extremely limited. By offering online catalogs for expanded print and electronic library collections, by establishing computer labs, and by offering training workshops,
Evergreen is reaching rural communities where poverty and illiteracy abound.
Evergreen has hosted a series of workshops on such subjects as information technology, including data storage, Internet searching, and ethical issues of information technology; cataloging; library management; library automation; and information literacy. Librarians, teachers, students, and the public have attended these workshops and are now beginning to train their peers.
Aarhus offers computer training to all ages
Aarhus is Denmark’s second-largest city, with a population of 300,000 and a refugee and immigrant population of almost 12 percent. Aarhus has a main library, 19 district and branch libraries, and two mobile libraries. Through these facilities, Aarhus has reached out to the city’s growing immigrant population. Programs have included provision of computer training in immigrants’ native languages and development of a variety of electronic and print resources in multiple languages.
Aarhus has also initiated and developed several Internet-based services, including a Web site (www.finfo.dk) about living in Denmark that provides information on asylum, housing, work, education, culture, and politics in 13 languages. In 2011, the main library will be replaced by an interactive “multimedia house” that will include space for virtual exhibitions and an interactive children’s library, among other features.
CLIR has managed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Access to Learning Award for the past three years. The US $1 million award is given annually to public libraries or similar kinds of organizations outside the United States for innovative programs giving the public free access to information technology. The award is intended to inspire others to expand access to information, particularly for the poor, disabled, and minorities.
CLIR is now soliciting applications for the 2005 awards. For information, visit https://clir.wordpress.clir.org/fellowships/gates/gates.html.
Students from Danfeng High School search for information online. The school is one of several to benefit from the Evergreen Rural Library Service.
Managing Digital Assets: A Primer for Library and Information Technology Administrators
AS LIBRARIES BECOME increasingly involved in creating and managing collections of digital content, they are more and more concerned with how to provide for efficient storage and retrieval of that content. Library and technology leaders are being asked to make technical and policy choices to ensure that their scholarly information assets will remain accessible over time. Because most library directors are not well prepared to make these decisions, they will need to work with their technology cohorts to ensure that service needs are met.
In February, CLIR will offer a three-day workshop for library and information technology administrators who need in-depth information about the planning, purchase, implementation, and management of digital assets. The workshop, “Managing Digital Assets,” will focus on the latest trends in digital-content management and on how small and midsize academic libraries can incorporate new approaches into their operations. It will provide library and information managers the tools they need to evaluate the alternatives now available and to begin to chart digital-asset management strategies for their institutions.
The workshop will take place in Charleston, South Carolina, February 46, 2005. For more information and to register, visit www.clir.org/activities/details/managing.html.
CLIR Accepting Applications for Mellon Dissertation Fellowships
CLIR IS ACCEPTING applications for the Mellon Fellowship Program for Dissertation Research in the Humanities in Original Sources.
CLIR will award about 10 fellowships to support dissertation research in original source material for periods of 8 to 12 months. Each fellowship will carry a stipend of up to $20,000. Applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral program in a graduate school in the United States. They must be ready to start dissertation research between June 1 and September 1, 2005, and their dissertation proposals must have been accepted at least six months before the starting date of the fellowship. Fellows must have completed all other doctoral requirements before their dissertation research begins.
More information on eligibility and application forms is available at https://clir.wordpress.clir.org/fellowships/mellon/mellon.html. Information may also be requested from CLIR by e-mail at email@example.com, by phone at (202) 939-4750, or by mail at CLIR, 1755 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC, 20036.
Applications must be postmarked by November 15, 2004 (November 1, 2004, if mailed from outside the United States). Fellowship recipients’ names will be announced by April 1, 2005.
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The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) grew out of the 1997