CLIR Issues Number 54
Number 54 • November/December 2006
Charles J. Henry Named CLIR President
THE CLIR BOARD has named Charles Henry, vice provost and university librarian at Rice University, the next CLIR president. The Board made its decision on November 3, and Mr. Henry will assume his new post early in 2007.
At Rice, Mr. Henry is responsible for library services and programs, including the Digital Library Initiative and the Digital Media Center. He is also an adjunct professor in the School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and publisher of Rice University Press, recently reborn as the nation’s first all-digital university press.
Mr. Henry is a trustee of the Digital Library Federation and chair of the advisory committee for the Information Resource Center at the International University of Bremen. He serves on the advisory board of Stanford University Libraries and on the American Council of Learned Societies Commission on Cyberinfrastructure in the Humanities and Social Sciences. He received a Fulbright senior scholar grant for library sciences in New Zealand and a Fulbright award for the study of medieval literature in Vienna, Austria. Mr. Henry has a Ph.D. degree in comparative literature from Columbia University.
“We are delighted that Chuck Henry has accepted our offer to serve as CLIR’s next president,” said CLIR Board Chairman Chuck Phelps. “His distinguished career encompasses work in libraries, research, and publishing, a combination that maps exactly to CLIR’s strategic future,” he added.
“The appointment as the next president of CLIR is the highest honor of my professional career,” said Mr. Henry. “The legacy of CLIR as an independent and critically important source of research, insight, and inspiration to its constituent communities is one I will work tirelessly to perpetuate and augment. CLIR has a wonderful opportunity in the coming years to provide guidance and leadership in an environment of profound change. Through CLIR, in partnership with many professional societies and agencies, a compelling future can be imagined and engendered.”
Mr. Henry succeeds Nancy Davenport, who stepped down June 30, and Susan Perry, who has served as CLIR’s interim president since July 1.
Preservation Experts, Leaders Inform CLIR’s Agenda
ON OCTOBER 20, CLIR convened the second of two meetings this year aimed at helping the organization think strategically about where it can make the most valubale contributions to preservation in the years ahead.
The meeting, held in Washington, DC, focused on preservation activity in the United States. Attending were representatives from federal repositories, research libraries, consortia, and funding agencies (a list of attendees appears at right). Participants presented briefs on their own institutions’ preservation strategies and funding priorities and identified gaps and overlaps among institutions. A representative from the Association of Research Libraries presented preliminary results of a September 2006 meeting of its member libraries where participants explored many of the same questions.
After discussing the reports and analyzing the identified gaps in preservation activity, Chairperson Connie Brooks, former head of the Preservation Department at the Stanford University Libraries, asked participants to consider the technical, organizational, and financial partnerships that could be created to address the gaps and to identify where CLIR could be most helpful.
The October meeting was convened in response to suggestions made in January 2006 at the first meeting of CLIR’s Preservation Advisory Committee (PAC), a group of 14 individuals from the United States and abroad with wide-ranging experience in preservation.1 The PAC was chaired by Yale University Library Associate Librarian Ann Okerson. At that meeting, participants reviewed the preservation landscape to gain a more detailed view of preservation activity at the national level. They considered the state of preservation from a broad perspective and identified the most pressing needs. Participants underscored the need for a harmonious voice for preservation and for a concerted effort to define the elements of a core preservation infrastructure and service for the 21st century.
In the weeks following the January meeting, participants further developed these statements of need and suggested areas where CLIR was best positioned to contribute. The group’s overriding suggestion was that CLIR reassert itself as a national voice for preservation of both analog and digital resources. This suggestion was echoed at the October meeting. Attendees at both meetings strongly urged CLIR to take a leadership position as convener, facilitator, communicator, and advocate for preservation education and as a public face for preservation issues.
The discussion of preservation gaps at the October meeting echoed the statements of need that emerged from the January meeting. The following are a few examples of the needs expressed:
- We need a national preservation strategy that is better coordinated among institutions and that is linked to and informed by preservation efforts abroad.
- Our preservation strategy must include all formats—analog (including audiovisual and other media) and digital.
- Our preservation strategy must encompass documentary materials held by archives, historical societies, and museums as well as by libraries.
- We must define a core preservation infrastructure and develop its constituent elements, such as print and digital repositories, business models, tools, and new preservation services.
- We need more advocacy for preservation to increase awareness about what is at stake; we must also strive to achieve a broad consensus about preservation priorities across a diverse population of stakeholders.
- We must undertake new efforts in preservation education.
- We must find new sources of funding for preservation, including strategies for sustainable financial support for preservation.
In the coming weeks, CLIR will synthesize the discussions of both expert groups to forge a new agenda for preservation in the years ahead. We will keep CLIR Issues readers informed of our progress and will invite your comments.
CLIR Board Elects New Chair, Vice Chair
AT ITS NOVEMBER 3 meeting, the CLIR Board elected Paula Kaufman chair and Wendy Lougee vice chair. Ms. Kaufman succeeds Charles Phelps, who retired from the Board after serving his term limit of nine years. Ms. Lougee succeeds Ms. Kaufman as vice chair.
Paula Kaufman is currently interim chief information officer (CIO) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Before accepting that position in the summer of 2006, Ms. Kaufman was university librarian at UIUC, a position to which she will return when her term as interim CIO ends. Before coming to UIUC in 1999, she served for 11 years as dean of libraries at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and in a variety of earlier positions, including acting vice president and university librarian, at Columbia University. Ms. Kaufman has served on the boards of RLG, SOLINET, the Society for Scholarly Publishing, and the Association for Research Libraries (ARL), serving as its president in 2002.
Wendy Lougee is university librarian and McKnight Presidential Professor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Before her appointment to the University of Minnesota in 2002, Ms. Lougee was associate director of the University Library at the University of Michigan, where she was responsible for digital library services. She has also served as head of Michigan’s Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library. Ms. Lougee serves on the Digital Library Federation Executive Committee and the RLG Program Council. She also chairs the ARL’s E-Science Task Force and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation University Librarians group.
Herman Pabbruwe, chief executive officer of Brill Academic Publishers, will continue as CLIR treasurer. James F. Williams II, dean of libraries at the University of Colorado at Boulder, will continue as secretary.
Apply Now for Postdoctoral Fellowship in Scholarly Information Resources
CLIR IS ACCEPTING applications for the 2007 Postdoctoral Fellowship in Scholarly Information Resources for Humanists. Now in its fourth year, the fellowship program provides new scholars in the humanities an opportunity to develop expertise in emerging forms of scholarly research and the information resources that support them. The program seeks applicants who believe that there are opportunities to develop meaningful linkages between disciplinary scholarship, libraries, archives, and evolving digital tools.
About eight fellowships will be offered. They will begin in summer 2007 and will range in length from one to two years. The fellowships will pay a salary plus benefits at one of eight collaborating academic libraries, each of which will serve as a fellowship sponsor. Applicants must have earned a Ph.D. degree in the humanities within the past five years or must be awarded such a degree before starting the fellowship program. Fellows must be in residence at a sponsoring institution for the duration of the fellowship. They also must be able to attend a seminar at Bryn Mawr College between July 22 and August 2, 2007.
The following institutions will serve as fellowship sponsors in 2007–2008:
Appalachian College Association
Georgia Institute of Technology
The Ohio State University
The Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Virginia
Applications must be postmarked by February 16, 2007. Applicants will be notified of their status by April 30, 2007.
For more information, or to download an application, go to https://clir.wordpress.clir.org/fellowships/postdoc/postdoc.html. Questions may be directed to CLIR Program Officer Amy Harbur at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Discussions Advance Action Agenda for Cyberinfrastructure in the Humanities
by Ann Okerson
IN 2003, A landmark report by Dan Atkins on the future needs for a cyberinfrastructure in the sciences and engineering attracted the attention of funders and planners and revitalized efforts to ensure that universities build and maintain the basic facilities on which research in these fields will depend.1 A National Science Foundation-supported assessment subsequently focused on the needs of researchers in the social sciences.2 Realizing the importance of the issue, the American Council of Learned Societies undertook an ambitious study of the needs of scholars and academics in the humanities. That report, written by a blue-ribbon commission led by the University of Illinois’s John Unsworth, will be published in a few weeks, but drafts have been in circulation for months.3
Anticipating the discussions that the report will provoke, CLIR convened a blue-ribbon panel of its own. The session, held in Washington, DC, on October 26, was chaired by Rice University Vice Provost and University Librarian Charles Henry. Participants, who included representatives from private and federal funding agencies, higher education and library associations, scholarly societies, university libraries, and publishers (see list at right), were asked to consider next steps for turning the report’s calls for action into reality.
During a day of lively discussions, participants addressed the culture of the humanities and the extent to which scholars in these fields are prepared to take advantage of new digital tools that can support their scholarship and teaching. Henry challenged the group to “think big” and to work collaboratively, strategically, and effectively. Success, he said, will require a new degree of coherence and shared direction.
Old issues, such as the place of publishers in the new economy, the role of open access, and the need for preservation of both the digital and the analog artifact, were seen in a fresh light. Participants emphasized that the research and academic community must ensure that its agendas are not limited by what commercial entities with deep pockets, such as Google, can imagine.
Three broad questions, each corresponding to a central recommendation of the report, emerged from the discussions.
- National centers of excellence: The report recommends creating multidisciplinary focal points, supported by state-of-the-art technical expertise, to support digital work by humanists. What would such centers look like?
- Leadership: The report recommends cultivating leadership in support of a humanities and social sciences cyberinfrastructure. How can we identify leaders with the greatest potential for effecting change, and how do we empower these leaders to achieve at a high level?
- Collections and copyrights: The report calls on leaders in the humanities and social sciences to develop, adopt, and advocate for public and institutional policies that foster openness and access. How can we shape digital collections for the future (with and without Google’s participation) without violating the needed protections provided by copyright law?
By the end of the day, the list of suggested actions to advance the needed cyberinfrastructure was long. Several participants described how their respective organizations will carry forward the day’s discussions, noting that it will be vital to share ideas with other individuals and organizations that can support the work of scholars in these fields.
Participants concurred that CLIR is well poised to be a facilitator, recorder, conscience, and inspiration for many of the tasks that remain. Immediate steps for CLIR include the following:
- Commission a study of the typology of science and engineering centers of excellence and develop models for centers of excellence in the social sciences and humanities.
- Work with the National Science Foundation to organize a retreat early in 2007 that will bring together researchers and scholars in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities to identify digital library needs and to determine common interests in creating a strategically managed cyberinfrastructure.
- Convene a group of scholars, publishers, and acquisition editors in the humanities to discuss how publishing models might change as a result of digitization.
Group Explores Need for Investment in 21st-Century Library Leaders
by Alice Bishop
ON NOVEMBER 6, CLIR convened a meeting of heads of midcareer library leadership training programs and library schools to discuss existing programs and to explore the most effective models for training leaders for the 21st century. CLIR Interim President Susan Perry chaired the session.
Participants concurred that many programs are producing good leaders. Nonetheless, these programs are not preparing enough librarians to fill existing vacancies. As more library directors and middle managers retire, the shortage will increase. Participants urged action in the following four areas.
As the changing information landscape compels librarians to think in new ways, we need to create a vision for the future that articulates how library leaders should be trained. Any approach must be collaborative and include libraries, library schools, schools of information, regional networks, associations, and professional associations across the information spectrum.
Young librarians have no set of core principles on which to rely from the moment they enter the profession to the time they assume leadership positions. Selection committees and search firms do not know what they should be looking for when hiring a director or chief information officer. A self-assessment would also be useful to help people decide whether or not they have the interest in or potential for leadership.
How do we know when someone has the right skills to be a library leader when the skills needed are constantly changing? Increasingly, for example, library leaders deal with issues—fund-raising and unionization, for example—that were not part of their training. Guidance is needed to help directors hire the best people and to enable those already in leadership positions to tackle challenges of the library in transition.
What incentives do organizations have for investing in library leaders? We need to make explicit both the costs and the benefits of investments in library leaders. Currently, there are no consistent, deliberate investments made by universities and other organizations in training library leaders of the future because presidents, provosts, and other leaders do not see the incentives.
CLIR will post a document on its Web site by December 15 that summarizes the discussion, provides links to midcareer programs, and invites public comment.
Report Examines Impact of Changes in Scholarly Publishing on Art History
A NEW REPORT, “Art History and Its Publications in the Electronic Age,” examines how changes in scholarly publishing are affecting the field of art history. Written by Hilary Ballon and Mariet Westerman, the report was published in September by Rice University Press in partnership with CLIR. Ballon is professor and director of art humanities at Columbia University’s Department of Art History and Archaeology. Westerman is director and professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.
The study grew from concerns over a recent abrupt decline in the publication of art history monographs. As they began work on the report in September 2005, the authors report, “a major publisher of monographs ended its art history line; other lists were shrinking or refocusing on cross-over and more commercial books. Meanwhile, art history was squeezed by the strictures of copyright and exorbitant image-related fees, problems unique to our field.” These conditions raised serious questions in the art history community about avenues for the professional advancement of young scholars and the long-term vitality of the discipline.
As their study progressed, the authors found that while monograph publishing was indeed in retrenchment, new publication opportunities were emerging, thanks to the improved quality of digital images and new modes of electronic publication. The authors concluded that these opportunities offered potential economic benefits to academic publishers in both print and electronic media.
“Growing scholarly interest in the constitution of the visual world is prompting some university presses to launch new lines incorporating art history, and the increased number of exhibition catalogues with their wide readership offers a fertile resource for the field. We also found a remarkable responsiveness among art historians to electronic communication,” the authors report. However, they add, “e-publishing programs have not emerged and taken advantage of the field’s rapidly growing sophistication in the use of digital images and electronic research techniques.”
To address obstacles to vigorous scholarly communication, to mobilize the resources and instruments particular to the discipline of art history, and, at the same time, to benefit the fields that rely on illustrated publications, the authors recommend the following:
- Mount a campaign to break down barriers that impede access to and distribution of images, in all media and at affordable prices, for scholarly research and publication.
- Launch electronic extensions of the scholarly journals of record (Art Bulletin and Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians) to take advantage of innovations in digital research and publication, to issue extended versions of articles, and to publish electronic alternatives to print monographs.
- Under the sponsorship of the College Art Association and the Society of Architectural Historians, form a consortium for the publication of art and architectural history online. Among the objectives of such a consortium should be to leverage resources, seek appropriate partners with image expertise, bundle journals in a subscription package, and, eventually, host third-party journals in art history and visual culture.
- Develop the benefits of electronic publication for museum publications so that they become even more productive sites of scholarly collaboration.
The report, available at http://cnx.org/content/col10376/latest/, is the first publication of the newly reorganized Rice University Press, the nation’s first fully electronic academic press.