Professional Development

In the 'Coalition for Networked Information' Category...

Lynn’s version of CNI in St. Louis

Sunday, April 13, 2014 8:24 pm

Chelcie has already reported on her experience at the Coalition for Networked Information in St. Louis, so I will add my version. One of my goals for this series of biannual meetings is to introduce the talents of our librarians to the national community of library and IT people. Last year it was Kyle and ZSRx. This year it was Chelcie and her work with the Digital Public Library of America. She did a splendid job, I can attest. She and her co-presenter had communicated beforehand and coordinated their presentations. People were lined up afterward to talk to both of them, including DPLA founder, Dan Cohen.

The CNI meeting itself started with a conversation between CNI Executive Director Cliff Lynch and his guest, Bryan Alexander, Senior Fellow National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education. They first started talking about MOOCs, always of interest to me, and Alexander said while there are still plenty of challenges, he sees them in the Gartner hype cycle as coming out of the trough of disillusionment and starting up the slope of enlightenment. He also saw a place for them in the world of libraries and museums (yay for ZSRx!), saying they had good content to offer and it would give them good publicity.

I went to a program on “Fostering a graduate research community with digital scholarship programs and services,” because I am always looking for ways to strengthen our support for graduate research. The University of Oregon invented an interdisciplinary New Media and Culture certificate program that counts as a transcripted credential but adds no more to the time of degree completion. Ingenious.

“Four Questions You Should Never Ask in Evaluation/Assessment in Libraries and IT, and a Number of Questions that You Should!” was a fun talk on assessment (or as fun as assessment can be). We were cautioned against ambiguous questions, double-barreled questions, substituting usage for quality, over-emphasis on statistical significance, and both overpowering and underpowering a test.

Another useful session on assessment was “Assessment of e-book strategies.” Claremont College did a study of ebook usage for texts that were on reserve. They found that high usage while on reserve justified their purchase for their entire shelf life (might we try e-book format for our own Textbook Collection??). University of Richmond found that usage was highest in the social sciences. Long-form reading is discouraging in the humanities and law. Their DDA usage led to a drop in firm orders, which would probably happen here if we did not actively seek to prevent it. Lafayette College had policies and practices similar to ours and found that DDA costs were less than print costs.

The one program I wanted to attend but did not was “Transforming Community with Strategic Social Media.” I noticed it because the speakers were from Montana State University, where our own WFU alum Nilam Patel found a job this fall as a social media strategist. I went and introduced myself after their talk and then found their slides on the outstanding Twitter feed that Chelcie mentioned. We should study their success and learn from them.

During my stay, I also toured Washington University St. Louis where my long-time friend and colleague Jeff Trzciak is the University Librarian. It is a beautiful library on a beautiful campus. On Monday night, Chelcie and I attended a dinner for Wake Forest parents and alumni, arranged by one of the regional officers in Advancement. It was a good group and we made several contacts that we will pursue. So, all things considered, it was a very good trip!

 

 

 

 

Chelcie at CNI Spring 2014 Membership Meeting

Thursday, April 10, 2014 4:31 pm

A few weeks ago Lynn and I attended the Spring 2014 Membership Meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) in St. Louis, MO. I had never attended CNI in the past, but was pleased to discover how much overlap there is with the Digital Library Federation (DLF), the community that I consider to be my professional home. Like the DLF, CNI is a rich mix of back end and front end; thought leaders and on-the-ground people; and deans, directors, department heads, and a few early career librarians.

I also gave a presentation (my first as ZSR’s Digital Initiatives Librarian!) on Wake Forest’s participation in the Digital Public Library of America, or DPLA. Although the DPLA has been very much a part of the CNI conversation in past meetings, DPLA staff delivered presentations and focused on its vision rather than its implementation. My presentation was part of a two-person panel that shifted the focus to local participation in the DPLA. Alongside Chris Freeland, Associate University Librarian at Washington University in St. Louis,who shared his experiences leading an initiative to organize a DPLA service hub in Missouri, I spoke about our approach as a contributing institution to the DPLA.

Both of our slides are below.

A Pond Feeding a Lake Feeding an Ocean: Wake Forest University as a Contributing Institution to the DPLA from Chelcie Rowell

We contribute our collections to the DPLA via the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center service hub, which aggregates the metadata of contributing institutions across the state of North Carolina and feeds it to the DPLA. We benefit from a relationship infrastructure already in place in North Carolina that Chris and others are working to establish in Missouri. Their goal is to contribute digital collections from Missouri contributing institutions by October 2014. I’m excited to be a part of the DPLA community. It’s not just a national interface to digital collections; it’s an ethos and a movement.

Organizing a DPLA Service Hub in Missouri from Chris Freeland

Compared to other conferences I’ve attended, the #cni14s Twitter stream was particularly active—recording, commenting on, and sometimes challenging the perspectives shared by speakers. As a first time presenter, I used the Twitter stream as an informal assessment mechanism to see what talking points resonated with listeners.

Fall meeting of Coalition for Networked Information

Sunday, January 5, 2014 9:01 pm

In December, Thomas and I attended the fall meeting of CNI (Coalition for Networked Information) in Washington, DC. The organization meets twice a year, in spring and fall, and is heavily attended by Library Deans and CIOs of research institutions across the nation. I go to stay up to date on innovations in digital information technology. The December meeting is often plagued by bad weather and that was again the case this year. My flight was delayed so I missed the opening keynote and the first set of concurrent sessions. Here is the video of the keynote and here are the presentation materials from the breakout sessions. I will highlight the sessions that I thought notable.

I tried to attend all the sessions I could on digital humanities, since we are trying to increase our level of support for these kinds of projects at ZSR. A team from Columbia talked about two projects: jazz and music information retrieval and a digital resource on women in silent film. Both operate out of the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship, housed in the library with a staff of 15 (FIFTEEN)! The film project was really interesting as the web developer told how he had to “kill his darlings” more than once in the course of the work. In the discussion, someone observed that the purpose of digital scholarship centers is to promote partnerships between content experts, technology experts, and library experts. That is what we are trying to do at ZSR as well, with much more modest resources.

Joan Lippincott, Associate Executive DIrector at CNI, presented a study of trends in digital scholarship centers. A dozen or so exist in the US, mostly in large research libraries such as UVA, UCLA, Brown, Nebraska, Oregon, North Carolina State, Miami, Kansas, Richmond and a few in Canada. They tend to be run out of libraries, unlike digital humanities centers run by faculty, and are open to everyone in the university. They try to bring together technologies and expertise from across campus, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Common services are workshops, courses and one-on-one consultation. Harriet Hammasi from Brown and Vivian Lewis from McMaster gave presentations on their own digital scholarship centers.

I went to a session on the Digital Public Library of America, which has had a very successful launch and I believe will be a strong contributor to cultural memory in the future. Dan Cohen, the Executive Director, described DPLA as a social project, as much as a technology project. It is three things at once: a portal for discovery of all kinds of cultural heritage items, a platform to build on, and a strong public option. It launched with 2.4 million items and stands at 5.4 million only seven months later. A system of content hubs and regional service hubs distributes traffic across the system. (See Chelcie’s previous post on how ZSR can contribute content to DPLA)

Cliff Lynch, Executive Director of CNI, gave a summary of the E-book Roundtable that preceded the conference proper. You might think that e-books are old news in the library world, but there is still high interest in maximizing e-book content and little agreement on how to do so. E-journals are now routine, but the e-book industry is less well settled. Patrons don’t understand why it is not as easy as loading academic content on their Kindles, as they do for leisure reading. The Roundtable concluded that it will still take a little while to shake out all the issues involved with e-book acquisition, cataloging and incorporation into the curriculum.

I had to leave before the closing plenary to catch my flight. I came in during an ice storm and left during a snow storm. The government shut down, but luckily my flight did not! The next CNI meeting is in St. Louis in April. I can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

 

CNI with Lynn (and Kyle)

Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:21 pm

First off, Kyle was magnificent. I asked him to give a presentation on our groundbreaking ZSRx mini-MOOC course at the Coalition for Networked Information meeting in San Antonio, April 4-5, knowing that we were only half-way through implementation. He graciously agreed and gave a wonderful presentation on how he built the course. I will let him tell you more about that!

I like to go to CNI because it keeps me up to date on leading edge developments in the overlapping worlds of IT and libraries. They love to be the place where things are first announced, which is why I wanted us to do ZSRx here. Even when I sit through a very technical presentation that is way over my head (like the keynote here), a bit of it seeps into my consciousness and my world is broadened just a little. Besides, I get almost all of my good ideas while at library meetings away from home and I got a couple at this one (scary, I know, and you know who you are).

The first session after the keynote was on the new library at NC State, entitled “The Library Building as Research Platform.” I was prepared to be impressed, but I was not prepared for the mind-blowing explosion of visualization technologies for data-driven science that is the core of the building. Their aim is to have the experience of awe open up the imagination. Their vision is for the library to serve as a technology incubator. The building is an entirely new model; there aren’t any others like it – yet. It is a world very different from Wake Forest and ZSR, but they have captured the essence of their campus perfectly. I can’t wait to see it in person and I believe we are going to try to schedule another group visit this summer when things settle down.

I attended several presentations on big storage solutions. One was a cheap, local server-farm solution, that worked for the needs in its library. Another was an almost exact replica of our Amazon cloud experience, except that we did it three years ago for all web services and this library did it just recently but only for digital scholarship projects. Their reasons were the same as ours: the need for flexibility and independence.

SUNY Buffalo talked about the results of four e-textbook pilots in which they participated this past year, some on their own and some in collaboration with other campuses. One surprising fact was that on their campus, 40% of students buy no textbooks at all because they are so expensive and students can make do without them. One pilot involved their bookstore, but they tended to be inflexible and not willing to give discounts as big as could be achieved elsewhere. They were also involved in two of the EDUCAUSE pilot programs using commercial partners. In the most successful pilot, savings of up to 87% were achieved. In the end, the conclusion seemed to be that while the pilots were promising, the world is still not quite ready for e-texts. Students in the pilot still preferred print by a large margin. The only thing they liked about the e-version was the discount. I tend to agree with their conclusion that e-textbooks will be mature when kids have grown up with them. The presenter told the story of his three-year-old standing in front of the television swiping it in an attempt to change the channel. That child will be ready for e-textbooks!

The last presentation I went to was about the IMS Global Learning Consortium, about which I knew nothing. It is a non-profit organization comprised of both commercial providers and higher education institutions. IMS is focused on the exchange of digital content. Their goal is to have standards for open content so that all systems can “just work.” Three of their main programs are Common Cartridge, Learning Tools Operability (LTI) and Learning Information Services (LIS). They are trying to move technology in higher education for student information success to break the status quo of closed proprietary systems. I will try to follow their progress in the future.

We had to catch a plane before the last plenary session on the Ithaka S+R 2012 US Faculty survey, but CNI puts up video and slides for each of its meetings, so I will put the links up when I get them. All in all, a very useful meeting!

 


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