CLIR Issues 119-120

CLIR Issues

Numbers 119-120 • September/October; November/December 2017
ISSN 1944-7639 (online version)


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CLIR Launches New Website

Welcome to CLIR’s new website! After catching up on the news in this edition of CLIR Issues, we hope you’ll explore the rest of our redesigned site. Read CLIR President Chuck Henry’s message, and visit our home page to view our latest news and program highlights. We’d love to know what you think.

Recordings at Risk Third Call Opens Today

The third call for Recordings at Risk proposals is now open. The program supports the preservation of audio and audiovisual content of high scholarly value through digital reformatting. CLIR seeks proposals that can demonstrate the scholarly and public impact of the project, the urgency of undertaking reformatting to avoid risk of loss, the viability of applicants’ plans for long-term preservation, and the overall cost-effectiveness of the proposals. Applicants are required to partner with an external qualified service provider that can perform technically competent and cost-effective digital reformatting for all formats included in the project. More information about the program and a link to the online application form are available here.

The third call application deadline is February 9, 2018. An informational webinar for prospective applicants will be held Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 2:00 pm ET.  Registration is not necessary. The link will be made available at the day of the webinar.

In October, CLIR announced awards for the second call for proposals. Sixteen institutions received funding totaling $540,200.

Announcing New Data Curation Fellowships for Energy Economics

CLIR has added a new track to its Postdoctoral Fellowship Program: the CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Data Curation for Energy Economics. The fellowships, funded by a recent grant from the Sloan Foundation, will support four energy fellows for two years starting in 2018. Fellows will have joint appointments between energy research centers and libraries at Duke University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Chicago; and University of Texas at Austin.

“The ability to store, access, and reuse digital research data is critical to the advancement of energy economics, a field of study that transects a range of disciplines concerned with the supply and use of energy in societies,” said Senior Program Officer Alice Bishop. “While data in this field have the potential to support innovative solutions to both economic and social challenges, this potential is premised on the long-term curation and responsible sharing of the raw materials of research.”

The Postdoctoral Fellowship Program now encompasses four tracks—data curation for energy economics, fellowships in software and research data curation for the sciences and social sciences supported by the Sloan Foundation, fellowships in data curation for Latin American and Caribbean Studies funded by the Mellon Foundation, and fellowships in academic libraries, which are funded by individual host institutions. While fellows work intensely with colleagues in their own cohorts, they participate in networking, education, and training that spans all four tracks.

The fellowships provide recent PhDs the opportunity to help develop research tools, resources, and services in data curation while exploring new career opportunities. Through these fellowships, CLIR seeks to raise awareness and build capacity for sound data management practice throughout the academy and to develop new models of institutional support for data curation.

The deadline for fellowship applications is December 29, 2017.

CLIR Board Elects New Members

At its fall meeting, the CLIR Board of Directors elected six new members.

Joining the board are Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada; Michele Casalini, chief executive officer of Casalini Libri; Christopher Celenza, dean of Georgetown College at Georgetown University; Tess Davis, executive director of the Antiquities Coalition; Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian at University of Oxford; and Sohair Wastawy, executive director of the Qatar National Library.

“CLIR’s commitment to international and inter-institutional collaboration is manifested in its governance; these highly distinguished new board members will help foster the organization’s vision of a coherent, robust, secure knowledge and cultural heritage environment for the future,” said CLIR Board Chair Kathleen Fitzpatrick.

CLIR President Charles Henry added, “Our new board members bring an exciting diversity of professional experience and interests to CLIR, a rich array of insight and practical acumen that will strengthen our mission to foster and support communities of shared technical practice and provide leadership to develop sustainable information resources that augment human capacity.”

Guy Berthiaume is a Canadian historian who specializes in the study of classical antiquity. Before becoming the Librarian and Archivist of Canada in June 2014, he served for five years as the chair and chief executive officer of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

Michele Casalini is chief executive officer of Casalini Libri, a family-run business based in Florence, Italy, providing bibliographic search and supply services for academic libraries and supporting publishers through promotion and distribution. He has a special interest in the digital transition in humanities and social sciences academic publishing.

Christopher Celenza is dean of Georgetown College at Georgetown University, where he is also a professor of history and classics. He came to Georgetown in 2017 from Johns Hopkins University, where he most recently served as vice provost for faculty affairs and held the Charles Homer Haskins Professorship in Classics.

Tess Davis, a lawyer and archaeologist by training, serves as executive director of the Washington, DC-based Antiquities Coalition. Since 2013, she has been affiliated with the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Glasgow, and before that served as executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation.

Richard Ovenden is Bodley’s Librarian at University of Oxford, the 25th person to hold the title. He has served on the staff of Durham University Library, the House of Lords Library, the National Library of Scotland, and the University of Edinburgh. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and member of the American Philosophical Society.

Sohair Wastawy was recently appointed executive director of the Qatar National Library. She previously served as dean of libraries at Florida Institute of Technology, Illinois State University, and Illinois Institute of Technology. She was the first chief librarian for the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt.

A complete list of Board members is available at

Convening Focuses on Ways to Sustain a Public Broadcasting Archive

On November 3, CLIR and WGBH co-hosted a small group of scholars, archivists, preservationists, technologists, and representatives of funding organizations to discuss challenges and opportunities related to building and sustaining an accessible digital archive for public media content. The convening marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. The Pew Charitable Trusts generously provided space for the group’s discussions.

WGBH and the Library of Congress, with the support of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, established the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) in 2013. AAPB’s mission is to coordinate a national effort to preserve in digital form significant at-risk public media before its content is lost to posterity. AAPB provides a central web portal ( for access to the unique programming that public television and radio stations have produced and aired over the past 60-plus years. Today, through the assistance of national funders and initiatives such as CLIR’s Cataloging and Digitizing Hidden Collections, AAPB collections have grown to more than 75,000 digitized programs, and WGBH and the Library of Congress have developed staffing, policies, and workflows that will allow them to digitize and ingest 25,000 hours of content into the archive each year moving forward.

Despite these achievements, the amount of existing audio and audiovisual content held by public media stations and other collecting institutions—much of it on fast-decaying or obsolete carriers—remains greater than AAPB’s current operations can manage. A multifaceted campaign to raise funds for saving rare and unique public media collections is now urgent.

But addressing the crisis will require more than money. Identifying the collecting institutions, public media stations, and other individuals and organizations that hold copies of unique content and then setting priorities for preserving those recordings requires broad awareness within educational, media, and cultural heritage communities. The AAPB team is exploring ways to involve new partners in their efforts to raise awareness and funds, to identify rare and unique recordings, and to developing systems and processes for sustainably converting them into digital form.

A second focus of the conversation was the challenge of making legacy public media content broadly accessible for scholars, students, and citizens. The complexity of intellectual property incorporated into public media recordings poses legal barriers, but archivists also face the challenge of producing descriptive metadata sufficient to support discovery for the many different types of new uses for historic public media.

A final challenge highlighted by the group was sustaining a public media digital archive over time. Today’s public media producers create massive amounts of digital content, and as yet there is no standard set of practices or responsible party for selecting and ingesting such content into archival preservation systems. Public media producers will need better support for archiving their work. Participants in the meeting emphasized that this support must extend beyond education in archiving but also include the provision of tools and services that are integrated with existing media production tools, so that archiving is possible at the point of creation.

CLIR is now working with WGBH to compile notes from the meeting into a short report which will be circulated to other stakeholders and potential partners interested in reformatting legacy content, making it more accessible, and preserving it for the long term alongside contemporary and future public media.

2017 DLF Forum Draws Record Attendance

The 2017 DLF Forum and affiliated events in Pittsburgh drew a record crowd, with more than 800 people attending a DLF Liberal Arts Colleges-HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Preconference, DLF Forum, and NDSA’s Digital Preservation 2017 over five days in late October.

Loretta Parham, CEO and director of the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library, opened the Preconference with a keynote on staffing digital libraries that resonated deeply with the audience. The day continued with more than a dozen panels on diverse topics selected through participant voting. First-time conference attendee and DLF HBCU Fellow Kaneisha Gaston observed, “I was surrounded by senior scholars, junior scholars, library directors, notable staff, innovators, activists, and critical thinkers who, through collective action and thoughtful discussion, wanted to both change the trajectory and protect the values of the library profession.”

Rasheedah Phillips opened the Forum the following morning with an electrifying talk on community-driven documentation, cultural memory and conceptions of time, and the potential of digital libraries to support and be shaped by marginalized people’s work to imagine alternate futures. Phillips is a managing attorney at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia and creative director of The Afrofuturist Affair.

Phillips’ talk set the tone for two-and-a-half days of panels, workshops, and informal discussions on an extraordinarily broad range of digital library topics. “The diversity and inclusiveness of the conference supported authentic conversations,” noted DLF HBCU Fellow Danisha Baker-Whitaker. “Topics like in/sensitive metadata and digital disparity benefited from the broad perspectives and experiences shared. The notion of having a safe, productive space in which to engage with colleagues extended out of the presentation rooms and into the hallways, lobbies, and lunch lines.”

Digital Preservation 2017, which DLF hosts on behalf of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, opened with a keynote by Eira Tansey, digital archivist and records manager at the University of Cincinnati. Tansey’s talk explored the relationship between environmental policy and the preservation of records. Many of the day’s sessions focused on preservation in the current political context.

“The energy in Pittsburgh was amazing,” said DLF Director Bethany Nowviskie. “This weeklong event was our largest yet, and most successful at bringing participants together across borders and boundaries of various kinds. A lot of learning and exchange happens at the Forum, but my favorite moments are those when brand new working groups form, or established ones make plans for the new year. And of course, the fresh perspectives of a record-setting 42 Forum Fellows, including two dozen wonderful colleagues from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, enriched our time together immeasurably.”

DLF HBCU Fellows were funded by a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to DLF, in partnership with the HBCU Library Alliance. Eighteen other DLF Forum Fellows were supported through a grant from the Kress Foundation, and sponsorship by ARL, ER&L, and Library Juice Press combined with DLF funds.

Several Forum Fellows have reflected on their experiences in brief posts, available at “My lasting takeaway from the Digital Library Forum was the sense of how resourceful the library community is and how well we adapt to this ever changing digital world we live in,” writes DLF HBCU Fellow LeTisha Stacey. “If there isn’t an application to do what you need, develop it with open source tools! If you don’t have the funds to purchase equipment for a digitization project, pursue grant funding, build a DIY scanning system or collaborate with another institution to pool your resources!”

Veteran attendee and DLF New Professionals Fellow Nushrat Khan summed up her experience, “This was another successful year of this conference and an outstanding opportunity to learn, engage, be inspired and feel motivated. I hope this community continues to grow and be a valuable platform for new professionals like me.”

Recordings of the keynotes, as well as the DLF closing plenary, can be accessed at Presentation slides, shared notes, and photos are also available.

The 2018 Forum will be held October 15-17 just outside Las Vegas, Nevada, with a preconference event on October 14 and Digital Preservation 2018 October 17-18.

Forum 2017 collage

Remembering Billy Frye

Former CLIR Board member Billy Frye died Nov. 14 at the age of 84. Frye’s distinguished career spanned more than four decades, culminating in his appointment as Emory University’s first provost and, later, as interim president and chancellor. Frye served as a board member of both CLIR and the Commission on Preservation and Access. The Frye Leadership Institute, launched in 1999 with funds from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and the sponsorship of CLIR, EDUCAUSE, and Emory, was named in his honor.

A tribute released by Emory University November 21 aptly described Frye as “a steady, influential leader who demonstrated integrity, intelligence and deep moral stamina, with a gift for bringing humor and grace to even the most challenging deliberations.”

Martin Halbert, dean of libraries at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and member of the inaugural Frye Institute of 2000, shared the following remembrance.

“Dr. Frye was a mentor to me, and I had the honor of serving as his assistant when he was provost and then chancellor at Emory hosting an ongoing series of symposia entitled Digital Futures in the late 90’s. Billy was as genuine a human being as ever existed, with an amazing ability to bring people together and bridge differences. He had very wide-ranging interests and a keen perception for academia, information technology, and libraries.

When I first came to know him, Billy would often speak (a little cryptically, I thought) of the broad “library function” as opposed to the limitations of specific libraries. When I got to know him better, I asked him what he meant by this, and he related something that has stuck with me ever since: In any scholarly community that conducts research, there will inevitably be the task of organizing and maintaining access to the outputs of that research in whatever form it may take, analog or digital. That is the function of the library and the foundational necessity of its existence. No scholarly community can exist without a library, and vice versa.”


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