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CLIR Issues Number 85

CLIR Issues

Number 85 • January/February 2012
ISSN 1944-7639 (online version)


Anvil Academic to Forge New Publishing Platform for Humanities

ARL/DLF E-Science Institute: Next Steps

Frye Institute 2012 Participants Named

Library Leaders Announce New Digital Curation Residency Program

CLIR Has a New Website

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Anvil Academic to Forge New Publishing Platform for Humanities

CLIR and the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) have joined forces with a group of colleges and universities to establish Anvil Academic, a digital publisher for the humanities. Anvil will focus on publishing new forms of scholarship that cannot be adequately conveyed in the traditional monograph.

“Increasingly, research in the humanities is dependent on large data sets and involves sophisticated algorithms and visualizations in the execution of that research and in the construction of the products of scholarship. Anvil will capture the environment in which this research is conducted: a linked ecology of scholarly expression, data, and tools of analysis that will over time become itself a place for new knowledge discovery,” said CLIR President Chuck Henry.

Testbed for New Business Models

Anvil will also serve as a testbed for alternate business models for scholarly publishing. “Our current models, which rely heavily on institutional subsidies, author subventions, and revenue from sales of printed books, are not proving to be sustainable,” said NITLE Executive Director Joey King. This makes it more difficult for scholars to disseminate their research, and for libraries to provide proper access to the work of contemporary scholars. “An important part of the Anvil experiment will be developing and testing new revenue models. We intend to explore alternative paths to sustainability as rigorously as we explore new publishing models,” King added.

“Anvil promises to serve as the bridge between innovation and sustainability that digital scholarship needs to flourish,” said University of Richmond President Edward L. Ayers, who serves on Anvil’s board of directors. “This is a time of great ferment and excitement in the field, and we need the means to disseminate that work and recognize its creators. Anvil promises to provide just that crucial service.”

Works published through Anvil will be available through Creative Commons licenses on the Web and as apps on portable devices. The works will conform to the standards and protocols articulated by the Digital Public Library of America. Anvil will also work closely with the technical requirements of Europeana and Open Access Publishing in the European Network guidelines.

Title Production

The title production system will be developed jointly by NITLE and CLIR for use by other institutions, each of which would have the opportunity to publish under its own imprint. It is expected that Anvil will publish its first title in late 2012. NITLE and CLIR will enlist additional publishers, scholarly societies, librarians, administrators, and faculty to participate in planning and developing Anvil-forged college and university publishing enterprises.

“We’re interested in projects and partners that show promise toward helping define the future of academic publishing. We’re in the early stages of working out procedures for evaluating potential Anvil participants, and defining what sorts of relationships and partnerships we think will work in the Anvil space,” said Anvil Editor-in-Chief Fred Moody.

Peer Review

Stephen Nichols, James M. Beall Professor Emeritus of French and Humanities and Research Professor at Johns Hopkins University, believes that Anvil will provide an opportunity to rethink and reform the peer review process. “Anvil should be able to pursue the vision we used to have for academic presses to publish good scholarship, innovative and risk-taking essays and monographs,” he said. “Peer review can be less parochial, more open-minded, and responsive to—even insistent on—clear, logical writing. I hope it means that younger scholars, currently all but excluded from publishing outlets because presses are afraid to take a risk, will finally have a satisfactory venue.”

Institutional Partners

The program received startup funding from the Brown Foundation, Inc., in Houston, Texas. Stanford University, the University of Virginia, Washington University in St. Louis, Bryn Mawr College, Amherst College, Middlebury College, and Southwestern University will also provide funds and staffing. Anvil Academic Publishing will work closely with innovative programs developed by the University of Michigan, especially MPublishing, and draw on Johns Hopkins University’s exemplary experience with digital humanities project development.

“With Anvil, we will be developing not only new technological paradigms, but new paradigms for defining and evaluating credible scholarly discourse, and we will be thoroughly documenting, in as open a fashion as possible, our process, our progress, our thinking, and our vision,” said Henry.

ARL/DLF E-Science Institute: Next Steps

by Rachel Frick

The last of the ARL/DLF E-Science Institute capstone events was held January 25–27, 2012, in Dallas, Texas. For faculty and program coordinators, it was the bittersweet culmination of many months’ effort. We felt that we had achieved the program’s immediate goals, but were left to wonder, what now? What next? How do we continue to support the community that was created through this experience in order to facilitate an ongoing conversation about research data and libraries?

The ARL/DLF E-Science Institute was a set of designed learning experiences that took small teams of individuals through a process aimed at strengthening and advancing their libraries’ e-science support roles. The experiences began in July 2011, as teams at participating institutions worked on assignments that were coordinated through a series of webinars given by institute faculty. The institute culminated in a face-to-face, 2.5-day event where the teams produced strategic agendas for e-science/e-research support for their institutions. Because of the overwhelming backing given at the beginning of this process, we were able to support teams from 67 institutions and to hold three separate capstone events, attended by a total of 180 people. Led by MacKenzie Smith, institute faculty offered a variety of online educational seminars to guide the teams, and then facilitated in-person discussions as participants worked through building their institutional strategic agendas.

The capstone meetings made it clear that supporting e-science in libraries is too big an issue to tackle alone. Participants asked how they could work with other e-science stakeholder groups. It was often mentioned that this is a challenge not just for large research libraries; issues of data management and preservation are also in play at smaller institutions.

The conversation about collaboration led to more questions. How could regional consortia play a role? What groups does the library, or the university, identify that could be leveraged to enhance data services offered at one’s home institution? What can organizations like ARL and CLIR/DLF do to help libraries build their capacity to manage data for their home institutions?

One of the goals for the institute was to foster collaboration not only among member institutions but also between ARL and CLIR/DLF. We are now investigating ways to support the community on the basis of ideas developed at the institute in order to continue the conversations and strengthen the connections among institutions. We also plan to poll CLIR sponsors who were unable to attend the institute in order to gauge the interest in participating in a similar experience that incorporates what we learned while targeting the concerns of a different cohort of institutions.

Please stay tuned as we work with ARL and others to develop the next steps.

More information about the ARL/DLF E-Science Institute can be found here:

Frye Institute 2012 Participants Named

The following individuals have been selected for participation in the 2012 Frye Leadership Institute. The Institute, sponsored by CLIR, EDUCAUSE, and Emory University, will be held June 3-8, 2012, in Washington, DC.

Cynthia Abercrombie, Harvey Mudd College
Anthony Adade, Elizabeth City State University
Randall Alberts, Ringling College of Art and Design
Kevin Ashford-Rowe, Griffith University
Dale Askey, McMaster University
Ronald Bergmann, Lehman College/City University of New York
Angela Blackstone, University of California, Berkeley
Mary Ann Blair, Carnegie Mellon University
Ellysa Cahoy, Penn State University Libraries
Josh Callahan, Humboldt State University
Michael Cato, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Huapei Chen, University of Texas, Austin
Kirstin Dougan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Deane Eastwood, Harvard University
Bradford Eden, Valparaiso University
Steve Fabiani, Haverford College
William Frady, Western Carolina University
Anthony Helm, Dartmouth College
Carol Hixson, University of South Florida St. Petersburg
Nancy Hoover, Marylhurst University
Corrie Hutchinson, Stephens College
John Jeries, St. Catherine University
Michael Kubit, Case Western Reserve University
Jonathan Leamon, Williams College
Tim Lockridge, University of Southern Indiana
Frank Mathew, University of Mississippi
Keith McIntosh, Pima County Community College District
Cindy Mitchell, University of Maine System
Lisa Moeckel, Syracuse University Library
Raymond Nardelli, Colgate University
Christine Nugent, Warren Wilson College
Jessica Olin, Hiram College
Jim Phillips, University of California, Santa Cruz
Terry Reese, Oregon State University
Leslie Reynolds, Texas A&M University
Jose Rodriguez, Emory University
Gina Siesing, Tufts University
Jennifer Sparrow, Virginia Tech
Richard Trenthem, Rhodes College
Katie Vale, Harvard University
Keith Weber, College of Mount St. Joseph

Library Leaders Announce New Digital Curation Residency Program

Library and information science (LIS) professionals specializing in digital collections will have a new opportunity for a high-quality educational experience next year. The Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) of the Library of Congress and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) are collaborating to develop and implement a national residency program in digital curation. The program will focus on the collection, selection, management, and long-term preservation and accessibility of digital assets.

The primary goals of the IMLS/Library of Congress Residency Program in Digital Curation are to foster the creation of a cadre of experts in the field and to encourage LIS schools to incorporate more experiential learning into their standard curricula.

The program is designed to enhance LIS curricula by complementing classroom instruction with hands-on experiences at leading institutions in the Washington, D.C., area. Keeping residencies geographically focused will allow participants to benefit from both individual project-based learning and team interaction. Those selected to participate in the program will be outstanding graduate-level students currently enrolled in nationally accredited LIS programs, as well as recent postmaster’s graduates with an LIS concentration. Organizers plan to start accepting applications this summer.

Leading practitioners and scholars will help design the program. The residency is expected to become a national model that will be widely shared through the use of such tools as project manuals, online toolboxes, and wikis.

Please direct requests for information to Kristopher Nelson (

CLIR Has a New Website

We invite you to the new!

You’ll continue to find the full range of publications, news, and award information featured on our previous website, but we’ve added new functionality for CLIR sponsors and DLF members. The most important of these is CLIR Connect, an area where sponsors and members can sign in to initiate or join discussions, post resources, connect with other members of the sponsor community, share blogs, and more.

A welcome message with login information was sent to sponsors and members earlier this month. If you did not receive the message, contact Kathlin Smith.

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