Number 68 • March/April 2009
ISSN 1944-7639 (online version)
Continuing the Digital Library Federation Program in CLIR:
A Conversation with Wendy Lougee and Chuck Henry
ON APRIL 14, the CLIR Board voted to merge the Digital Library Federation (DLF) into CLIR as a program of the Council, starting July 1, 2009. DLF, which was founded in 1995 as a project of CLIR, has been an independent organization since 2005.
The CLIR Board vote followed recommendations by a DLF review committee in March 2009 to merge the two organizations, and a unanimous vote of consent by the DLF Board on April 8.
Here, DLF President Wendy Lougee and CLIR President Chuck Henry answer questions about the merger.
What prompted the decision to merge DLF back into CLIR?
The DLF review committee’s recommendation was based on several factors. First was the change in the digital landscape. When DLF was formed, digital library development was in its infancy. There was a critical need to develop a shared understanding of challenges relating to digital activity and to educate and focus the library professional community on them. Much of DLF’s early activity related to promoting standards and interoperability among projects, while the Forum nurtured cohorts of talented librarians and technologists. Today, the issues are broader and involve many more stakeholders. A second factor underlying the recommendation was DLF’s size: as a small organization with growing ambitions, DLF needed more capacity. Finally, the growing economic crisis fueled interest in finding greater efficiency.
What do the two organizations hope to accomplish by the merger?
DLF wants to broaden its agenda and to engage a larger and more diverse group of stakeholders. CLIR has developed good models for engaging scholars, librarians, technologists, and publishers in its work, and we see these partnerships as key for further developing library roles in the digital context.
Will DLF have its own advisory or governing board? If so, what will that board’s relationship be to the CLIR Board?
The DLF will be governed by the CLIR Board. The Executive Committee of the DLF Board will nominate two DLF directors for appointment to the CLIR Board. These two directors will be part of a transition advisory committee that will explore the best methods of promulgating the new DLF organization and programs.
Who will lead DLF at the staff level?
CLIR will hire a new program officer specifically to promote and enhance the initiatives and interests of the DLF community. This person will report to the president of CLIR and will also have a line of reporting to CLIR’s director of programs. The new program officer will work closely and routinely with all of CLIR’s program and research staff to ensure a complementary execution of the agendas of DLF and CLIR. The program officer will also oversee the Forums.
Will DLF continue to be a membership organization? If so, will membership be by invitation only, or will it be open?
The DLF review committee cited the constraints of a governance-based, membership model in recommending that the new program be developed as a sponsor-based program. On July 1, all current DLF members will become charter sponsors of the new program. Additional sponsors for the DLF program will be sought, and sponsorship will be open. The transition advisory committee will articulate criteria for new sponsoring institutions.
What will be the relationship between CLIR sponsors and DLF sponsors?
Initially, DLF sponsorship will remain a separate category from CLIR sponsorship (though several institutions will hold both types of sponsorship) because the programs and emphasis of DLF will remain distinct enough to warrant a focused community of members.
Will the DLF Forums continue?
We expect Forums to continue, with potential change in configuration and emphasis over time as the new program takes shape within CLIR. CLIR will conduct research on the Forums and other related events, looking for patterns of activity, opportunities for collaboration, emerging standards, and more broadly adoptable resources and tools that would offer the DLF community more cost-effective programs and services. In this respect, the merger into CLIR is seen as a means to instantiate a more strategic approach to investment in the digital environment.
What will happen with Aquifer?
Aquifer, a project to build communities of practice and tools for scholarship, has provided a context for cooperative development and production. Cooperative exploration of new technologies and development will likely continue to thrive as an outcome of the new program. Responsibility for Aquifer’s signature production project, American Social History Online, will transfer to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
What is unique about DLF, and why is it important to sustain?
DLF has represented a unique commitment to collective development of the digital library context—of the professional community, of content, and of infrastructure. It has had notable accomplishments in the standards arena and has fostered a new community of professionals. Networking of talent has, from the start, been a key asset.
While there are regional and other consortia that have engaged in discrete collaborative projects, DLF has sustained an ambitious and international agenda over time. From the early Making of America project, which involved multiple members in digitization and standards, to the more recent American Social History Online effort, which pursued a suite of tools to enable scholarship, DLF has evolved to exploit technology and explore contemporary challenges of the academy.
Also noteworthy are the considerable assets DLF members bring to the table: a history of advocacy for collaboration, a deep pool of talent, and proven innovation. These qualities and strengths will be sustained and will be fundamental to the success of the merger with CLIR.
Report Examines Copyright Issues for Pre-1972 Unpublished Sound
A NEW REPORT from CLIR and the Library of Congress addresses the question of what libraries and archives are legally empowered to do to preserve and make accessible for research their holdings of unpublished sound recordings made before 1972.
The report, Copyright and Related Issues Relevant to Digital Preservation and Dissemination of Unpublished Pre-1972 Sound Recordings by Libraries and Archives, is one of a series of studies commissioned by CLIR on behalf of the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), under the auspices of the Library of Congress. It was written by June Besek, executive director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia University. The report is available free of charge at localhost:8888/wordpress/pubs/abstract/pub144abst.html.
Unpublished sound recordings are those created for private use, or even for broadcast, but that have not been distributed to the public in copies with rights holders’ consent. Such recordings often possess considerable cultural and historical significance because they may be the only record of an event or performance. They include radio broadcast recordings, oral histories and interviews conducted as part of field research or newsgathering, and authorized as well as bootlegged tapes of historic live musical performances for which no other recording survives.
The patchwork of state laws protecting unpublished sound recordings made before 1972 is far less clear-cut than the federal copyright law. States may protect copyright through criminal, common, or civil law. Thus, copyright protections for these sound recordings will endure far beyond the terms of other kinds of media. Books, sheet music, maps, motion pictures and photographs published before 1923 are already in the public domain.
To help bring clarity to the morass of rights issues, Besek’s report describes the different bodies of law covering these recordings and the uncertainties inherent in these laws, and provides guidance—using nine examples of unpublished sound recordings—for libraries to use when preserving and making these materials accessible to the public.
In 2005, Besek addressed pre-1972 commercial recordings in another study for NRPB titled Copyright Issues Relevant to Digital Preservation and Dissemination of Pre-1972 Commercial Sound Recordings by Libraries and Archives. That report can be accessed at localhost:8888/wordpress/pubs/abstract/pub135abst.html.
Report Explores Research Topics at Intersection of Humanities and Computer Science
CLIR HAS ISSUED Working Together or Apart: Promoting the Next Generation of Digital Scholarship, a report of a workshop cosponsored by CLIR and the National Endowment for the Humanities in September 2008. The workshop focused on two questions: (1) How do the new media advance and transform the interpretation and analysis of text, image, and other sources of interest to the humanities and social sciences and enable new expression and pedagogy? and (2) What questions and challenges do those processes of inquiry pose for research in computer science as well as in humanities and social sciences?
The volume opens with an essay by CLIR Director of Programs Amy Friedlander that contextualizes and synthesizes workshop discussions. This introductory essay is followed by six papers prepared for the workshop by leading scholars in the fields of classics, English, art history, visual studies, computational linguistics, and information dynamics. The volume ends with a summary report on digital humanities centers commissioned by CLIR and written by Diane Zorich.
The report is available at https://www.clir.org/pubs/abstract/pub145abst.html. Print copies can be ordered at this URL for $25 per copy plus shipping.
Mellon Grants CLIR $4.3 Million for Year Two of Hidden Collections Program
THE ANDREW W. MELLON Foundation has awarded CLIR $4,303,000 to support a second year of its Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives program.
The program was created in 2008, with Mellon funding, to identify and catalog special collections and archives of high scholarly value that are difficult or impossible to locate through finding aids. Award recipients create descriptive information for their hidden collections that will eventually be linked to and interoperable with all other projects funded by this grant.
In 2008, CLIR awarded a total of $4 million to 15 projects nationwide. It expects to award the same amount of funding to new projects this year.
CLIR will issue a request for proposals by the end of April and will announce decisions in fall 2009. A standing review panel, formed in 2008, will evaluate proposals and select award recipients.
More information about the award program is available at https://www.clir.org/hiddencollections/index.html.
Johns Hopkins Launches Pilot Program for Postdoctoral Fellows in Conservation Science
WITH FUNDING FROM The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries will launch a pilot program for postdoctoral fellows in heritage conservation sciences. Two fellows will be selected each year in an international competition to address a vetted scientific research agenda during the two-and-a-half-year initiative, based in the libraries’ conservation and preservation department.
The program will provide opportunities for the research fellows to collaborate with faculty and students in the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering’s department of materials science, the Johns Hopkins Museums, and Baltimore-area historical societies and other institutions. The fellows’ investigations will emphasize research relevant to materials in libraries, archives, and other cultural heritage organizations.
The Sheridan Libraries will issue a call for proposals by late April and the program will begin in fall 2009. For more information, contact Sonja Jordan Mowery (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Miriam Centeno (email@example.com).
A New European Initiative for Open Access
by Chuck Henry
I WAS RECENTLY invited to join the European Union Science Board for Open Access Publishing in European Networks (OAPEN), a consortium of universities and academic presses whose goal is to develop an open access publication model for the humanities and social sciences. One aim of this 30-month effort is to achieve a sustainable publishing methodology and platform that improves the quantity, usability, and visibility of high-quality open access content in relevant fields of study.
All the participating institutions and their presses have been involved with digital publishing programs, and each is committed to uphold the principles of open access, to publish humanities and social science scholarship in multiple languages, and to work closely with university libraries.
The first meeting of the science board, hosted by the University of Amsterdam, took place in that city in early March. In attendance were representatives from universities and presses at Amsterdam, Leiden, Göttingen, Florence, and Lyon, as well as from consortial organizations, including the Open Humanities Press, JISC from the United Kingdom, and CLIR.
From an American perspective, it is remarkable that a government would invest the equivalent of more than US$1 million to study and make recommendations regarding the tradition and future of the monograph in humanities and social science scholarship. The board’s discussions, which focused on a range of problems relating to the monograph, were compelling. One major issue is that far fewer titles are now becoming available annually because of the rising cost of paper-based book publication business models; a related problem is that the chances for academic advancement for younger scholars may be hampered because they have fewer outlets for publication than did their predecessors. There was a prevailing sense that in today’s fragile economy, the themes and scholarly arguments of publications tend to be “safer,” or less controversial, than they were in a more robust era of publication.
Rather than discuss digital, open access alternatives to the current model of book publishing, participants aired innovative concepts of scholarly communication, with an emphasis on building a new digital environment for humanities and social science research and publication. This environment would not only facilitate established approaches to research but also lay a foundation for intellectual strategies and methodological approaches that we may not be able to conceive of at present.
At future meetings, board members will explore services and tools pertinent to a new infrastructure in support of scholarly communication. Linkages to university libraries, which remain an integral facet of this virtual environment, will continue to be strengthened.
CLIR Names 2009 Rovelstad Scholarship Recipient
KATIE HENNINGSEN, a master’s degree candidate at the Palmer School of Library and Information Science at Long Island University, has received this year’s Rovelstad Scholarship in International Librarianship. Her interest in librarianship began while she was studying for her master’s of philosophy in Reformation and Enlightenment Studies at Trinity College in Dublin. During that time, she enrolled in a yearlong course, Analytical and Historical Bibliography: The History of the Book, that convinced her to pursue a career in rare books and special collections librarianship.
While studying for her MSLIS degree, Henningsen has been working as an archives assistant in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University, where she has helped process the records of the New York Chamber of Commerce. She has also assisted scholars by performing reference services for the university’s archives.
The Rovelstad Scholarship provides travel funds for a student of library and information science to attend the annual meeting of the World Library and Information Congress. This year’s meeting will take place in Milan, Italy, in August.
2009 Mellon Dissertation Fellows Named
SIXTEEN GRADUATE STUDENTS have been selected to receive awards this year under the Mellon Fellowship Program for Dissertation Research in the Humanities in Original Sources, which CLIR administers.
The fellowships are intended to help graduate students in the humanities and related social science fields pursue research wherever relevant sources are available; gain skill and creativity in using primary source materials in libraries, archives, museums, and related repositories; and provide suggestions to CLIR about how such source materials can be made more accessible and useful.
The fellowships carry stipends of up to $25,000 each to support dissertation research for periods of up to 12 months.
University of Pennsylvania
The Spectacle of Punishment: Visibility and Protest in 1970s Prison Radicalism
University of Virginia
Reliving Mount Vernon: Replicas and Memory, 1893-1934
Jun Hee Cho
Court in the Market: The Burgundian Capital (Mechelen) During the Reign of Charles the Bold, 1467-77
Fighting for the Nazi New Order: Neutral Elites in the
Service of the German Waffen-SS
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Puppets and Proselytizing: Politics and Nation-Building in Post-Revolutionary Mexico’s Didactic Theater
University of Chicago
Mount Sinai and the Monastery of Saint Catherine:
Depicting “Place” and “Space” in Pilgrimage Art
The Ohio State University
Musica Caelestia: Hermetic Philosophy, Astronomy, and Music at the Court of Rudolf II
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Singing God’s Image: Rethinking Religious Difference Through Sixteenth-Century Visual and Musical Culture
University of Michigan
Global 1968 in Kinshasa: From a Student Massacre to Ruins in a Postcolonial University
George Washington University
Women at Law in England and the Chesapeake, 1630-1700
The “New American Revolution”: Cultural Politics and the 1976 American Bicentennial
Dealing with Infertility in Early Modern England
University of California, San Diego
Of Bonds and Bondage: Gender, Slavery, and Transatlantic Intimacies in the Eighteenth Century
Danielle Terrazas Williams
Negotiating Colonial Hierarchies: Mulata Women with Wealth in Seventeenth-Century Central Veracruz
The Afterlives of Empire: Immigration and the Politics of Difference in Decolonized France, 1962-1974
University of Maryland, College Park
Subordinate Southerners and the Local Legal Culture in the Old South
NEH Preservation and Access Division Accepting Applications for Research and Development Grants
THE DIVISION OF Preservation and Access of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is accepting applications for its 2010 Research and Development (R&D) grant competition. Projects may include efforts to:
- develop technical standards, best practices, and tools for preserving and creating access to humanities collections
- explore more effective scientific and technical methods of preserving humanities collections
- develop automated procedures and computational tools to integrate humanities data in disparate online resources
- investigate and test new ways of providing digital access to humanities materials that are not amenable to standard modes of digitization
NEH especially encourages applications that address digital preservation, recorded sound and moving image collections, and preventive conservation. Grant application guidelines may be found at http://www.neh.gov/grants/guidelines/PARD.html. Applications must be received by July 30, 2009, for projects beginning in May 2010. All applications must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov. For more information, contact the division at 202-606-8570 or firstname.lastname@example.org.