Number 71 • September/October 2009
ISSN 1944-7639 (online version)
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of essays that will explore the potential benefits of expanding the disciplinary expertise involved in discussions about the future of academic libraries.
AS NOTED IN CLIR’s 2008 publication No Brief Candle, the challenges facing academic libraries and higher education cannot be resolved by a single profession or disciplinary perspective. Many areas of research and emerging methodologies, if incorporated into discussions on the concept, purpose, and goals of academic libraries, could enhance our understanding, as well as our design, of new services and programs in support of research and teaching.
A cursory review of information school (I-School) curricula and of doctoral-level research conducted at these schools reveals a wealth of approaches to understanding, analyzing, and reconstituting data and information. Selected programs support large-scale embedded sensing networks and an array of statistical methods of modeling those data; multivariate data analysis; the use of mobile devices to capture and classify images, audio, text, and locational information; the study of digital libraries as scaled information organizations and access-tool repositories; theory and implementation of digital libraries; the digital environment as a “place” for social interaction and community exchange; concepts of experimental design and communication of research; and the study of knowledge representations and formal ontologies. Courses focus on social computing, rapid prototyping, human-computer interaction, the economics of information, material language processing, and e-marketing.
Students come to these programs with undergraduate training in a variety of disciplines, including medicine, computer science, mathematics, linguistics, business, and physics. They bring the distinctive methodologies of these disciplines to the study of information. Many doctoral programs at the top institutions with library and information schools tailor courses to correlate with, and take advantage of, the research methods and intellectual strategies associated with these disciplines.
Many library professional organizations and associations, in contrast, are structured by received concepts of information organization and use a lexicon that reflects this tradition. Similarly, library-focused conferences often continue to frame presentations by key terms such as cataloging and metadata, collection development, technical services, user services, and digital information and technology. These concepts hinder libraries’ efforts to develop methods that better integrate traditional library services and professionals with the resources used by a broader constituency, often including faculty and administrators. Sharing information across the institution and engaging with faculty research projects are key elements of this approach.
The disconnect between the vocabulary, conceptual framework, and ontologies used in the I-School doctoral programs and those used in library organizations is disconcerting. While many of the students completing their doctoral degrees today pursue careers as faculty in I-School programs, they will at some point train the next generation of librarians. It is difficult to see how a traditional library organization and current categories of professional specialization will be able to integrate, support, and cultivate a new legion of information professionals that conform to few if any of the inherited definitions of a librarian as currently defined.
CLIR views this discrepancy as a looming crisis. A fundamental reinterpretation of the nature of information and of its organizational implications and requisite expertise for the academic library in the next 10 years is essential. As a springboard for discussions to address this need, CLIR will convene a group of doctoral students in I-School programs in 2010. Participants will be challenged to articulate means by which the new research and its implications can be better promulgated and understood within the context of traditional libraries; to consider how hiring practices can be adjusted to take advantage of this new array of talent; and to generate a productive dialogue on the major changes taking place and the possible course of evolution for academic libraries.
A NEW REPORT from CLIR and the Library of Congress surveys the laws of 10 states regarding protection for pre-1972 sound recordings.
Sound recordings are an important part of many library and archival collections. Yet because sound recordings made before 1972 are subject to state protections, rather than federal copyright laws, it is difficult for nonprofit institutions to know what rights they have to preserve or provide access to such recordings. They must navigate a bewildering array of criminal and civil laws, as well as judicial decisions and common law, all of which vary from state to state.
An Inaccessible Audio Heritage
This patchwork of state protections has unfortunate consequences for researchers wishing to use historical audio sources. According to a 2005 survey,1 the rights to 84 percent of historically significant recordings made in the United States between 1890 and 1964 are still protected by state law, and will remain so until 2067. Because recordings cannot be copied and distributed without permission of their rights holders, the only legal way to obtain a CD of recordings from that period is through a reissue. Yet the study found that rights holders have reissued—or allowed others to reissue—on CD only 14 percent of the pre-1965 recordings they control. Thus, most historically important sound recordings are available for hearing only at the physical location where they are housed—in private collections or at research libraries that collect our country’s audio heritage and have the equipment to play obsolete recordings.2
Survey of State Protection
Protection for Pre-1972 Sound Recordings under State Law and Its Impact on Use by Nonprofit Institutions: A 10-State Analysis provides an overview of protections in Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin. It examines the laws and court cases that may determine the extent to which nonprofit institutions can preserve and disseminate pre-1972 recordings.
The report was prepared by the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, Washington College of Law, American University, under the supervision of Peter Jaszi, with the assistance of Nick Lewis.
Part I of the report presents an overview of state sound recording laws, summarizes the potential protections available to nonprofit institutions, and compares and contrasts the laws and provisions of many of the states. Part II provides an in-depth analysis of sound recording laws in each state in the sample.
The report is one of a series of studies of copyright and sound recordings commissioned by the National Recording Preservation Board in support of the congressionally mandated study of the state of audio preservation in the United States.
Protection for Pre-1972 Sound Recordings under State Law and Its Impact on Use by Nonprofit Institutions: A 10-State Analysis is available at https://www.clir.org/pubs/abstract/pub146abst.html.
1 Brooks, Tim. 2005. Survey of Reissues of U.S. Recordings. Washington, DC: Council on Library and Information Resources and Library of Congress. Available at https://www.clir.org/pubs/abstract/pub133abst.html.
2 In early 2010, the Library of Congress Packard Campus Audio Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia, will launch a Web site that will offer streaming of more than 10,000 pre-1925 commercial recordings, thanks to a gratis license from Sony Music Entertainment.
The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded CLIR $96,879 for “Collaborative Planning to Support an Infrastructure for Humanities Scholarship.” In partnership with Tufts University, CLIR will lead a collaborative planning process engaging scholars and academic librarians to examine the services and digital objects classicists have developed, their future research needs, and the roles of libraries and other curatorial institutions in fostering the infrastructure on which the core intellectual activities of classics and many other disciplines depend. On the basis of consultation with librarians, archivists, and humanities scholars, they will identify and describe a set of shared services layered over a distributed storage architecture that is seamless to end users, allows multiple contributors, and leverages institutional resources and facilities.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded CLIR a grant of $32,000 for a research analysis project entitled “Toward a Cloud Library.” This project will evaluate combining large-scale virtual and print repositories as surrogates for library collections, using the New York University libraries as a case study. The goal is to research and identify the policies, procedures, logistics, and infrastructure needed for print and digital repositories to make their services more widely available to university libraries, and for libraries to make more effective use of these repositories in managing their own collections. In this research project, which is expected to be completed by January 2010, CLIR will also work with the Columbia University Libraries and their ReCAP (off site) book depository program, the HathiTrust, and OCLC.
CLIR will partner with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan on a study to examine the feasibility of developing, operating, and sustaining an open-access repository of articles from National Science Foundation (NSF)–sponsored research. The study, funded by a $300,000 grant from NSF to Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries, is expected to be completed by September 2010.
The study will evaluate several approaches to establishing a repository, delineate the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, and present a recommendation to NSF. More information is available at http://releases.jhu.edu/2009/10/02/sheridan-libraries-awarded-20-million-grant/.
CLIR Is Now Accepting Applications for …
Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources.
Fellowships support dissertation research in original source material. Each fellowship lasts between 9 to 12 months and carries a stipend of up to $25,000. Applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral program in a graduate school in the United States. Complete applications must be submitted using CLIR’s online application form by 5:00 p.m. EST November 13, 2009. More information on the award and the application process is available at https://www.clir.org/fellowships/mellon/mellon.html.
Postdoctoral Fellowships in Academic Libraries.
One- and two-year fellowships are awarded to individuals for work on projects that use current information technology to forge, renovate, and strengthen connections between academic library collections and their users.
Applicants must have received a Ph.D. after January 1, 2005. Applicants who have not yet received their Ph.D. must have completed all work toward the degree before starting the fellowship.
Fellows must reside at their sponsoring institution for the duration of the fellowship. The amount of the fellowship award varies among institutions. For more information about the fellowship and application procedures, visit https://www.clir.org/fellowships/postdoc/postdoc.html.
Rovelstad Scholarship in International Librarianship.
The scholarship is awarded annually to a student of library and information science to attend the World Library and Information Congress of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). The 2010 IFLA annual meeting will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden, in August.
Applicants must have an interest in international library work and be enrolled in an accredited school of library and information sciences at the time of the 2010 IFLA meeting, and must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
Applications may be made online at https://www.clir.org/fellowships/rovelstad/. The application deadline is January 22, 2010. Recipients will be notified by April 9, 2010.
CLIR and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) have started a new program, “Leadership through New Communities of Knowledge.” The three-year program, which is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will offer an array of professional development opportunities for library staff at small and mid-sized private colleges and universities. The program will expand access to existing workshops that help librarians strengthen leadership skills, and will identify new topics for workshops to meet particular needs of library staff at small liberal arts colleges. The Appalachian College Association and the United Negro College Fund have endorsed the program.
To promote an exchange of ideas and expertise across a variety of institutions, the program will also provide opportunities for staff from less affluent institutions to experience work environments at other types of institutions, such as those affiliated with the Oberlin Group of libraries. The project will reach out to liberal arts colleges that are not well connected to the mainstream of American librarianship, including those that are members of the American International Consortium of Academic Libraries.
Examples of existing and past workshops that will be included in the new program include the following:
- Faculty Research Behavior Workshops, which provide anthropological contexts to an understanding of how faculty members search for information;
- Managing Digital Assets Workshops, which guide participants in evaluating emerging approaches to digital content; and
- Work Restructuring Workshops, which support training for library directors and project managers on how to analyze and redesign library workflows.
New versions of these workshops will be held in strategic locations throughout the country in late spring 2010 and the 2010–2011 academic year. All these offerings are made possible through the support of IMLS.
In addition, building on feedback from participants in its Transformation of the College Library Workshops, CIC will mount a new series of annual workshops on “Information Fluency in the Disciplines.” The 2010 workshop, scheduled for March 4–6 in New Orleans, will focus on literature (see http://www.cic.edu/conferences_events/workshop/information_fluency.asp). The workshop series is supported by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries.
To identify topics for new workshops, CIC and CLIR will gather input from library staff on the skills, perspectives, and strategies that they are most interested in considering, acquiring, and putting into practice. To that end, CLIR will solicit the assistance of library directors at CIC institutions with a survey to be administered in fall 2009. CLIR will also ask the library directors to identify a few faculty members on each campus to complete a modified version of the survey.
Information about program activities will be posted at https://www.clir.org/activities/leadershipCLIRCIC/index.html as it becomes available. For questions about the program, please contact CLIR Program Associate Lori Miller at email@example.com.
A Virtual Compass: Digital Technology and Resources as an Impetus for Change in Higher Education
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
following CNI Fall Task Force Meeting
This year’s symposium will examine the influence of digital technology and resources as an impetus to change curricula; to strengthen scholarly communities around new research environments; to facilitate rethinking of library design and the university physical plant; and to conceive new methodological approaches to data gathering and analysis in the sciences. Each CLIR sponsor will receive two complimentary registrations to the symposium. To view the agenda and to register, visit https://www.clir.org/pubs/resources/2009-sponsors-symposium/.
New Postdoctoral Fellows
Anne Bruder (Bryn Mawr College)
MEMBERS OF THE sixth cohort of CLIR Postdoctoral Fellows in Academic Libraries have begun their fellowships in institutions across North America (see list at right). With this cohort, there are now 43 CLIR postdoctoral fellows past and present—a growing community of higher education professionals both in and out of the library.
The fellows kicked off their two-year experience with a 10-day training seminar at Bryn Mawr College in July. Elliott Shore, dean of the fellows program and Bryn Mawr College chief information officer, and Lauren Coats, a past CLIR fellow and assistant professor of English at Louisiana State University, led the seminar, which focused on key issues facing libraries in higher education. This year’s session included visits to the American Philosophical Society (APS) and Library of Congress (LC), distinguished guest speakers, conversations with past fellows, and some very good food. The fellows’ backgrounds and planned work framed the issues discussed during the seminar, which in turn highlighted the great potential of having PhDs work in the library environment.
Library as Partner in Knowledge Production
A major topic of discussion at the seminar was the library’s role as an active contributor to knowledge production. The work of Anne Bruder, one of the six new fellows, exemplifies this phenomenon. Bruder, who is spending her fellowship year at Bryn Mawr College, has begun work on projects focused on the history of the college and women’s higher education. Her activities include organizing an international conference on women’s education and an exhibition from Bryn Mawr Library’s special collections. The library features largely in these activities as a rich archive of materials and as the visionary locus for this campus-wide initiative. Bruder’s doctoral work in English, which focused on women’s movements in American literature and culture, will help her fulfill the hybrid role of scholar-librarian, especially as she will also teach courses in American literature for the English Department.
The work of CLIR Fellow Melissa Grafe will also position the library as a contributor to campus initiatives and projects. Grafe earned a PhD in the history of science, which she will use to investigate Lehigh University Library’s environmental history materials in special collections and build opportunities to use the collections throughout the campus community. Grafe will also explore the possibility of building an institutional repository at Lehigh.
Defining “Digital Humanities”
Just what is “digital humanities,” and how should the library be involved in digital humanities projects? These two questions sparked a day of vibrant conversation. In a discussion led by the Mellon Foundation’s Program Officer for Scholarly Communications Donald J. Waters and CLIR President Charles Henry, the CLIR fellows and their supervisors investigated possible library roles in the digital future.
Such issues are especially pertinent to the work of two new fellows, Daniel Chamberlain and Timothy Jackson. At Occidental College, Chamberlain works out of the new Center for Digital Learning and Research. A scholar who worked with an archive of digital materials while earning his doctoral degree in critical studies in cinema arts, Chamberlain will aid Occidental’s efforts in expanding digital modes of and tools for teaching, learning, and scholarship.
Timothy Jackson joins the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UN-L). He brings his PhD in editorial studies to bear on UN-L’s varied digital projects in nineteenth-century American history, literature, and culture. Jackson, whose doctoral work was a critical edition of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poetry, is well prepared to collaborate on these projects.
Exploring Different Types of Libraries
Exploring the history and future of different kinds of libraries was the central theme of the seminar. Susan Perry, senior advisor for the Liberal Arts Colleges Program at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, gave an overview of the changing landscape of the library and library profession. Discussions at LC with Associate Librarian for Library Services Deanna Marcum, and at APS with Executive Officer Mary Pat McPherson and Librarian Martin Levitt, helped fellows explore different models and missions for libraries.
The role of the independent research library is especially relevant to the work of Lori Jahnke, who will spend her fellowship year at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Her background in physical anthropology will help her navigate the subject content of the collections while she provides guidance on how to make the collections relevant to a broader scholarly community. Seminar participants considered how the architecture of libraries and archives, in both brick-and-mortar and digital forms, affects the materials contained within.
Related issues of access and accessibility particularly animate the work of Noah Shenker. Shenker’s doctoral research investigated several archives of Holocaust materials. At McMaster University, he will coordinate the development of a research environment for materials related to resistance movements in Europe during World War II, Nazi propaganda, anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust. Issues of privacy and ethics animate Shenker’s work and became a way for seminar participants to address how librarians (or the hybrid scholar-librarian) have responsibility for the ethical curation and use of materials.
Seminar speakers and participants brought a broad range of experiences and perspectives to the table. This variety serves as a foundation and model for fellows’ work of bringing their specialized subject training to bear on issues that confront libraries and higher education. The seminar highlighted that this work is not only about materials and institutions but also about forging new communities of practice and connecting people. While the intellectual content of the seminar provided its structure and purpose, the connections made among fellows old and new, guests, and supervisors were the heart of the seminar; just as it is human interaction and use that give life to the inanimate materials held in a library.
CLIR President Chuck Henry has been appointed to the advisory board of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE). The mission of NITLE, which is based at Southwestern University, is to catalyze innovation to enrich and advance liberal education. The organization connects small liberal arts colleges to a network focused on implementing and integrating digital technologies into the teaching and learning environment.