By Charles Henry
This is a short blog to direct your interest to a new map CLIR recently unveiled that demarcates our activities during the last 14 years. We initiated this project last year in response to the observation that nearly 1,000 people have participated in CLIR’s programs since 2000, and we thought it would be helpful to visualize this participation in a geospatial fashion.
The map covers the world and can be read by accessing a variety of information layers color-keyed to our programs. This includes the location of CLIR’s sponsors and DLF members. It positions the location of research conducted by our Mellon fellows writing dissertations using research in original sources, which range from work in vibrant capital cities to remote Pacific islands and an isolated central Asian monastery. The home institutions of our Frye/Leading Change Institute participants are marked, as are the schools and institutions that host our postdoctoral fellows, including the newer cohorts focused on data curation. Another layer indicates the location of the awardees of our Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grants, and the partnering institutions in Canada.
It is a busy, somewhat cluttered map in wonderful ways. Even a cursory look reveals that CLIR’s reach has been and continues to be sweeping and inclusive, as most geographical areas of the world register with activity sites, with perhaps Greenland the one sizable exception. In abstract, our global reach includes programs that promote scholarship of the highest quality; new approaches to leadership; the management, accessibility, and preservation of our cultural heritage; and training that will lead to the creation of a new profession of specialists. Each of the brightly color-coded objects, whether an institution or individual, focuses on some aspect of the organization of knowledge in the twenty-first century. Each exemplifies ways and means to productively contribute to our discovery, reuse, and safe keeping of that knowledge.
The world may indeed be flat, in Thomas Friedman’s terms; certainly it is flattening, in that our challenges and opportunities are increasingly globally linked at unprecedented scale. It is fitting that CLIR’s activities, undertaken to forge strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning, are similarly encompassing and effectively boundless.