University of Oklahoma Libraries

Postdoctoral Fellow in Virtual Reality Preservation and Archiving for the Sciences

Justification

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) recognizing a growing recognition within the professional community that research data management poses particular challenges to libraries serving today’s researchers has created fellowships that are partially funded through grants focused on these challenges. CLIR’s Postdoctoral Fellows share information and experiences with one another, gaining a broad understanding of the importance of data and information management to the emerging research environment while becoming a cohort of highly skilled and deeply knowledgeable specialists.

With research becoming an increasingly digital endeavor through advances in computational technologies such as virtual reality (VR), the preservation and archiving of VR technologies developed must become a standard consideration for investigators carrying out their research, in order that future researchers can learn from, verify, and build upon the original research.

The University of Oklahoma Libraries is seeking to create a fellowship to focus on this highly specialized field where leading-edge work is being done and rapid growth is in evidence based in the adoption rate of researchers and instructors. Creating such a position will support the University’s goals for the institution to be a leader, to train leaders and to strengthen the OU and OU Libraries brand around the globe.

Job Function

The CLIR Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Virtual Reality Preservation and Archiving for the Sciences will work in a team-based environment to do advanced research and work in digital archiving and preservation of virtual reality (VR) technologies used in visualizing research data in the sciences.  Specifically, the following sciences will be involved: Chemistry/Bio-Chemistry; Medical Imaging; Meteorology (via the National Weather Center) and/or Geology (via the Oklahoma Geological Survey). Working closely with faculty/staff from these areas, the research fellow will be responsible for teaching and training students, staff and faculty in how to use VR technologies to visualize research data. They will also work with the OU Libraries team to prepare, package and help archive the VR technologies (hardware, software, techniques, tools and methodologies) used in this work.

This person will leverage the work that was done with the support of the Library of Congress’s NDIIPP program, and is described in the “Preserving Virtual Worlds Final Report” published in 2010 as well as the and “Preserving Virtual Worlds II” report.

Job Duties

CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Virtual Reality Preservation and Archiving for the Sciences (75%)

  • Work under the direction of faculty members from the sciences, and staff at the University Libraries, that are performing research in the use of VR technologies in research workflows.
  • As identified in the “Preserving Virtual Worlds Final Report” report, work to:
    • Identify:
      • Significant properties of virtual reality experiences, and their degrees of importance, that need to be maintained for scientific researchers,
      • Tools for generating packaged files, including the relationships between content, representation and context information,
      • Methods for providing continued access to what is preserved,
      • Legal and social issues that might impede the preservation of this technology, as well as potential means of addressing those impediments,
      • Methods for building community from the research libraries, museums, researcher, community and commercial sectors that have an interest (currently, or perceived) in preserving this technology, and
    • Lead discussions within the above community on defining a sustainable businessfor the preservation of virtual reality technologies.
    • Create a community, and partnership of active participants, interested in developing VR technologies and processes for the visualization of research data and/or virtual reality technologies, as well as their preservation and archiving.
  • Support the discovery and curation of University of Oklahoma’s research datasets and VR based visualizations of said data.
  • Be responsible for creating and maintaining policies, procedures, workflows, and strategies related to digital preservation projects and practices related to VR.
  • Be knowledgeable about the community of practice for digital preservation and archiving.
  • Work with library colleagues – Library Administration, Digital Scholarship Specialist, GIS Specialist, Emerging Technologies Librarians, Research Data Management Specialist and others – to coordinate the work of preserving VR technologies used with research data in the sciences.
  • Participate in regular meetings with the collaborators.
  • Identify and help apply for grants to further the goals of this position as well as help write reports for those funding agencies and any other stakeholders.
  • Coordinate special projects and performs other duties as assigned.

Teaching & Related Support (25%)
  • Serve as a consultant to faculty/staff in one, or more, of the following areas: Chemistry/Bio-Chemistry; Medical Imaging; Meteorology; and Geology, on matters of research techniques, research data, research data management, data visualization using VR, and digital curation processes.
  • Work under the direction of faculty members from the sciences as well as staff at the University Libraries, to provide support and training for the use of VR technologies in research.
  • Be involved in doing technology development, consulting, outreach, and training to address OU’s VR based virtual reality curation and preservation and needs.
  • Coordinate public symposia and other events for academic and general community to showcase products produced using VR technologies.
  • Write and/or assist in developing presentations and publications about the outcomes this work.
Job Titles Position Will Supervise

Required Education & Experience
  • Doctoral degree in computer and information science or equivalent;
  • Familiarity with research methodologies and workflows;
  • Creative problem-solving skills and a strong commitment to service excellence.
  • Demonstrated interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills.
  • Commitment to fostering a diverse educational environment and workplace and ability to work with a diverse student and faculty population.

Preferences
  • Masters degree in the sciences (Chemistry/Bio-Chemistry; Medical Imaging; Meteorology; or Geology).
  • Knowledge of data management and information and data sharing policy issues.
  • Experience with digital preservation and archiving.
  • Experience in visualizing research data.
  • An understanding of data-intensive research environments; data analytics experience; computer gaming, video or CAD/CAM technologies, programming skills;
  • Understanding of concepts embodied in: OAIS Reference Model, MARC/XML, BibFrame, Linked Data, MODS, CDWA and VRA Core.
  • Knowledge of Python, GitHub and open source development tools and technologies
  • Be comfortable with encountering a variety of technical languages and tools
  • Demonstrable understanding of the UNITY gaming platform or gaming platforms such as: Blender, Panda 3D and/or other commercial systems such as Unreal or CryEngine.
  • Ability to work in both PC and MAC environments.
  • Willingness to investigate and learn new technology as needed.

Expected Compensation Range

$60-70K/year

Description

Created by the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a doctoral degree- granting research university serving the educational, cultural, economic and health-care needs of the state, region and nation. The Norman campus serves as home to all of the university’s academic programs except the health-related fields. OU enrolls over 30,000 students, has more than 2, 700 full-time faculty members, and has 21 colleges offering 166 majors at the baccalaureate level, 153 majors at the master’s level, 79 majors at the doctoral level, 36 majors at the doctoral professional level and 34 graduate certificates. The university’s annual operating budget is $1.7 billion. The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. www.ou.edu/eoo