Number 72 • November/December 2009
ISSN 1944-7639 (online version)
CLIR Issues to Go Paperless
Starting with the January-February issue, CLIR Issues will be available in electronic format only. To continue receiving the newsletter electronically, please sign up at https://www.clir.org/pubs/issues/signup.html.
Building Business Models to Last: Digital Resources beyond 2010
by Shawn Martin, Scholarly Communication Librarian, University of Pennsylvania Libraries
CHANGES IN TECHNOLOGY have fundamentally altered how scholars, academic libraries, scholarly publishers, and students interact, yet many libraries and publishers today are using nineteenth-century publication models to manage and distribute twenty-first century content. For example, some academic publishers require libraries to purchase subscriptions to journals in electronic format (often just scanned images of their print publication) that are then available only from computer terminals in the library building; the materials cannot be further downloaded or distributed. One of the great advantages of digital formats is their potential for allowing people to download resources to their own computers, distribute them to colleagues for comment, and place copies on Web sites for classes or scholarly projects quickly and efficiently. The traditional nineteenth-century model prohibits the very kind of sharing that the Internet facilitates.
Aware of this problem, several librarians and scholars have called on universities to be open to new business models, preferably those that are free of charge and of most copyright and other restrictions. But successful business models require more than just free availability of content. They require the infrastructure and ability to maintain themselves over time and to scale effectively to projects of varying sizes.
How can libraries help create sustainable, scalable, freely available digital academic resources for the twenty-first century? What are the roles of various stakeholders (librarians, publishers, scholars, students, and others) in creating this environment?
To discuss questions such as these, the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, with the support of CLIR and the Delmas Foundation, hosted a meeting of more than 30 individuals representing libraries, commercial publishers, university presses, scholarly associations, and other digital thought leaders. The meeting was held November 18, 2009.
The symposium opened with a panel presentation by Laura Brown of Ithaka, Raym Crow of SPARC, and Michael Jensen of the National Academies Press. The three panelists outlined the issues of sustainability for online academic resources. Next, Katherine Kott of Stanford and Bernard Reilly of the Center for Research Libraries led a discussion about leadership and governance structures, funding models, and measuring success and assessment.
Participants outlined several issues that need further discussion:
Process vs. Product: Should stakeholders be creating a specific product that allows scholars to do their work? Or should they focus on developing a process to facilitate how scholarship is created and disseminated with multiple tools?
Creating New Structures vs. Integrating New Projects into Existing Structures: Should stakeholders be creating an entirely new structure to build sustainable online academic resources, or should they be integrating new projects into the existing structure of the institution?
Content vs. Services: To what extent should stakeholders be creating content (journal articles, digitized manuscripts, and teaching materials), and to what extent should they be developing services that enable scholars to create such content?
Collaboration: The need to collaborate arose in several contexts. Key questions were identifying with whom stakeholders should collaborate and defining the nature of such collaboration.
Small-Scale vs. Large-Scale Change: Should stakeholders focus on creating fundamental, systemic change within the scholarly communication system (such as tenure and evaluation) or incremental change within existing e-publishing systems (such as institutional repositories)?
Values: Commercial entities exist to make a profit; universities operate largely in the nonprofit realm. How do stakeholders balance these competing views and collaborate with groups that may hold different values?
Return on Investment: Nonprofit and for-profit entities have different definitions of what a return on investment should be. Universities might believe that higher usage of material is a return on investment; publishers tend to think higher profits are a return on investment. How should stakeholders define this concept and, more important, how should they create it?
Measurement: If return on investment means more than simply monitoring profits, how can stakeholders measure those returns in ways that will be meaningful to other groups?
Vision vs. Mission: How should nonprofit and for-profit entities tie their need to create sustainable business models to the core values of their institutions?
The symposium highlighted the need for stakeholders to further discuss how to move forward with creating sustainable business models for online academic resources. PowerPoint slides and recordings of the opening panel will soon be available in the University of Pennsylvania’s repository. Additional material, including links to related sites, reports, and other activities resulting from the symposium, will be posted as they become available.
An Innovative Fall 2009 DLF Forum
by Eric Celeste, Senior Advisor to CLIR
THE DIGITAL LIBRARY Federation (DLF) Fall 2009 Forum was held November 11-12 in Long Beach, California. In planning the first forum since DLF merged with CLIR, Sayeed Choudhury, associate dean for library digital programs at Johns Hopkins University and CLIR presidential fellow, worked with a dedicated group of volunteers to create a forum like no other. The structure of the meeting was markedly different from that of past forums; for example, there were no project reports and updates. The event focused on innovation in library technology and gave participants a chance to share their views about the potential role of the new DLF program within CLIR.
The first day of the forum immersed attendees in a discussion of innovation in library technology: what it is, how to encourage it, what dangers it presents, and examples of innovative programs in the library community and others. The goal was to engage participants in an open and honest discussion of the barriers to innovation that they have encountered.
Choudhury noted that “right” answers are rare and stressed the need to analyze local circumstances before developing a course of action. He talked about the importance of relationships, especially with top-level administrators, and the value of teams that are not exposed to daily firefighting and have time to concentrate on new challenges. Bess Sadler of the University of Virginia pointed out that libraries depend on reliable systems and stated that it is possible to build new tools in ways that facilitate regular testing and sustainability. She described the importance of “ending the war” between system administrators and developers, monitoring systems, and building stable foundations. Katherine Kott of Stanford University discussed the shifting demands of research and the need for balance between collaboration and competition in new technologies. She described Raymond Miles’ collaborative entrepreneurship model, which stresses the need to select innovative developments to be “productized” and to pool risks and distribute gains. Kott asked whether DLF and CLIR might have a role in such a process.
The second session of the first day’s agenda featured presentations by several individuals who are working at the forefront of innovation in library technology. John Ober of the California Digital Library (CDL) talked about his group’s approach to innovation; Jon Dunn of Indiana University contrasted CDL’s approach with that of his university. Jenn Riley of Indiana University spoke of the need for a balance between efficient tools and creative staff. Brad McLean of DSpace focused on opportunities to bring projects together; Mike Winkler of the University of Pennsylvania talked about management by portfolio to develop service layers built on standard infrastructure and orchestrated to provide composed functionality. Brad Wheeler of Indiana University stressed the importance of looking beyond institutional walls toward the rising “meta-university”; Josh Greenberg shared stories of partnerships and described the organizational structure at the New York Public Library.
Throughout the session, conversations were rich and participants were engaged. Discussions touched on such topics as users’ tolerance for continual change in systems, where to get resources to make innovation work, the importance of recognizing innovators on staff, techniques and tools for monitoring and performance enhancement, building community, streamlining processes, the need for more coders, the competitive advantages of libraries, the need for trust, and the difference between thinking you are being innovative and real innovation.
An unexpected high point of the forum was a session on the Blacklight discovery front-end that had been added to the preconference agenda late in the planning process. The room was packed—testament to the attendees’ appetite for hands-on, in-depth sessions. The discussions echoed a recurring theme at the forum: the need for integrated testing plans as systems, even experimental systems, are built out. Participants represented a range of positions, opinions, and projects, and their engagement around the topic of testing was notable.
On the second day, participants turned their attention to DLF itself and what it should become. The project managers’ and developers’ groups met separately, then reported out to the whole group. Attendees then discussed the two groups’ presentations and formed recommendations for CLIR. The recommendations may be summarized as follows:
- DLF membership should be opened up and its governance revisited.
- CLIR should consider changing the DLF name to reflect this new openness.
- Forums should continue, though their traditional format could be rethought.
- CLIR should provide opportunities for activity between forums through online collaboration tools.
The group felt that core DLF activities could include sharing best practices, sponsoring training and in-depth discussions, offering individual and institutional mentoring, serving as a bridge between administrators and developers, and fostering partnerships.
The attendees were extraordinarily tuned in to the theme of innovation, and the feedback CLIR received regarding the new DLF program was invaluable. Even amid DLF’s transition, the Fall 2009 Forum was a resounding success.
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Awards CLIR $1.4 Million Operating Grant
CLIR has received a $1.4 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support general operations. The 21-month grant starts January 2010.
“I want to thank the Mellon Foundation for this award and for its continued confidence in CLIR,” said CLIR President Charles Henry. “This grant ensures that we can bring a range of projects to fruition, and positions us to develop ongoing and new partnerships for the benefit of the community.”
Over the past two years, CLIR has expanded its purview and funding base with the goal of fostering the collaborations necessary to address the challenges facing higher education and to build new communities of interest and expertise.
Amy Friedlander Appointed Editor-in-Chief of ACM Journal of Computing and Cultural Heritage
CLIR Director of Programs Amy Friedlander has been appointed editor-in-chief of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage. The journal’s mission is broad, covering tangible heritage, intangible heritage, and the role of computation in fostering analysis and interpretation of these materials. In her new post, Friedlander works with Karina Rodriguez-Echavarria, the journal’s information director, who is based at the University of Brighton. More information about the journal is available at http://jocch.acm.org/.
CLIR Seeks DLF Senior Program Officer
CLIR is seeking applicants for the position of Digital Library Federation (DLF) Senior Program Officer for appointment in spring 2010.
DLF, as a program within CLIR, seeks to enable new research and scholarship by providing leadership and developing opportunities to facilitate shared actions, resources, and infrastructures to extend, secure, and preserve the scholarly and cultural record in digital form.
The senior program officer will report to the president of CLIR and will play a critical role in the definition and implementation of CLIR/DLF programs and the evolution of its mission.
More information about the position, including responsibilities and qualifications, is available at https://www.clir.org/about/news/officerdlf.html.
CLIR Forms Steering Committee for Humanities Infrastructure Project
CLIR has formed a steering committee to oversee its project, “Collaborative Planning to Support an Infrastructure for Humanities Scholarship.” The project, which CLIR is undertaking in partnership with Tufts University, is supported by a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services. It will engage scholars and academic librarians in examining the services and digital objects classicists have developed, their future 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 institutions depend.
Steering committee members and their organizational affiliations are as follows:
Amy Friedlander CLIR
Christopher W. Blackwell Furman University
Pongracz Sennyey Furman University
Sayeed Choudhury Johns Hopkins University
Tim DiLauro Johns Hopkins University
Stephen Nichols Johns Hopkins University
Roger S. Bagnall New York University
Tom Elliott New York University
Charles Jones New York University
Clifford Wulfman Princeton University
Gregory Crane Tufts University
Malik Mufti Tufts University
Anne Sauer Tufts University
Helma Dik University of Chicago
Catherine Mardikes University of Chicago
Mark Olsen University of Chicago
Matthew W. Stolper University of Chicago
Mark R. Lauersdorf University of Kentucky
Mary Molinaro University of Kentucky
Brent Seales University of Kentucky
2008-2009 Annual Report Available
CLIR’s 2008-2009 Annual Report is available at https://www.clir.org/pubs/annual/previous-annual-reports/. The report includes an overview of CLIR’s programmatic work and finances from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009.
Last year, CLIR ceased print publication of its annual reports; they are available in electronic format only.
CLIR Inaugurates Workshops on Undergraduate Research Practices
by Alice Bishop
CLIR HAS LAUNCHED a series of workshops focusing on the work practices of undergraduate students. The workshops, led by Nancy Foster of the University of Rochester, are patterned on the successful faculty research behavior workshops that CLIR initiated two years ago and which will continue in 2010.
The first workshop on undergraduate work practices was held at New York University (NYU) November 12-13. Participants included 14 librarians and information technologists from CLIR sponsoring institutions.
Over the course of the two-day event, participants learned techniques for understanding how undergraduates do their work—especially how they use library resources, staff, and facilities in writing research papers and completing research-based assignments. Before the workshop, several undergraduates were assigned to take photos and keep a “mapping diary” of where they went during a typical day. Because many students’ most productive time often falls outside librarians’ normal work hours, the diaries offer insight into how research and paper writing fit into the students’ daily lives. On day one of the workshop, participants used the photos and maps as a basis for student interviews. They then discussed how to analyze the interview results and how to craft questions that would elicit the kinds of information needed to identify student needs and preferences.
The topic of the second day of the workshop was effective Web design. In preparation for it, undergraduates were asked to design their ideal library home page on a blank piece of paper. The students were also given a copy of NYU’s current library home page and asked to excise the elements they did not find useful and to circle items of value. After examining the students’ contributions, workshop participants discussed how the NYU Library’s Web site might be improved as a result of the information gleaned from the students.
The next undergraduate workshop will take place at the University of South Florida January 28-29.
CLIR Announces Hidden Collections Awards
CLIR ANNOUNCES THE following recipients of the 2009 Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives awards:
Brooklyn Historical Society:
Uncovering the Secrets of Brooklyn’s 19th Century Past: Creation to Consolidation,
The California Digital Library:
Uncovering California’s Environmental Collections: A Collaborative Approach,
College of Charleston Libraries:
Jewish Heritage Collection,
Free Library of Philadelphia:
Milestones in 20th-Century American Children’s Literature at the Free Library of Philadelphia,
George Mason University:
Uncovering a Forbidden World: Providing Access to East German Art, Culture, and Politics,
The Moravian Community in the New World: The First 100 Years,
Marquette University Libraries:
Catholic Social Action Access Project (CSAAP),
French Pamphlet Collections at the Newberry Library,
North Carolina State University Libraries:
Changing the Landscape: Exposing the Legacy of Modernist Architects and Landscape Architects,
Northeast Historic Film:
Intellectual Access to Moving Images of Work Life, 1916-1950,
Exposing Biodiversity Fieldbooks and Original Expedition Journals at the Smithsonian Institution,
University of California, Berkeley:
San Francisco Examiner Photograph Archive Project,
University of Southern California Libraries:
Excavating L.A.: USC’s Hidden Southern California Historical Collections,
Song, Speech, and Dance: Special Collections from the Recorded Sound Archives at Yale and Stanford Universities,
More detail on this year’s funded projects can be found at https://www.clir.org/hiddencollections/awards/for-2009/.
The Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives awards program supports the identification and cataloging of special collections and archives of high scholarly value that are difficult or impossible to locate.
The awards program was created in 2008 with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Details for the 2008 funded projects can be found at https://www.clir.org/hiddencollections/awards/for-2008/. Funded projects will continue for up to three years. 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 program.