Re:Thinking

A blog featuring perspectives from a variety of contributors on topics relating to the emerging digital environment, research, and higher education.
Blog posts published after January 1, 2018, are available at https://www.clir.org/category/rethinking/

Posts

The Torch Bearers

Released yesterday, the second report from participants of the CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, A Splendid Torch: Learning and Teaching in Today's Academic Libraries, included as many exciting challenges and opportunities as the first volume, The Process of Discovery: The CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and the Future of the Academy. Challenges included narrowing in on topics within the field of scholarly teaching and learning and organizing an engaging, open peer-review process, while opportunities included collaborating with...
Editor's note: This post continues our series on CLIR Affiliates, which Chuck Henry initiated in his June 22 blog. Previous weeks' posts have focused on IIIF and the Digital Library of the Middle East.The National Digital Stewardship Alliance, hosted by the Digital Library Federation, is a consortium of more than 220 partnering organizations, including universities, professional associations, businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations, all committed to the long-term preservation of digital information. NDSA was established...

Digital Libraries: The Bracing Capacity of a Metaphor

Editor's note: This post continues our series on CLIR Affiliates, which Chuck Henry initiated in his June 22 blog. In coming weeks, we will feature updates on our work with the National Digital Stewardship Alliance and Jisc. At this month’s IFLA meeting in Wroclaw, Poland, CLIR signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Qatar National Library, an important partnership to advance the Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME) project. The MOU outlined general...
Editor's note: This post continues our series on CLIR Affiliates, which Chuck Henry initiated in his June 22 blog. In coming weeks, we will feature updates on our work with the Digital Library of the Middle East, National Digital Stewardship Alliance, and Jisc. The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) community recently convened in the Vatican for the 2017 IIIF Conference, where 275 people from 130 institutions and organizations in 18 countries participated in the week’s...
This blog is cross-posted from softwarepreservationnetwork.org. Co-authors are Alexandra Chassanoff, Jessica Meyerson, Katherine Thornton, Cynde Moya, and Christa Williford For decades, researchers and practitioners in information science, digital preservation, and allied fields have discussed the necessity of software preservation: preserving software is a prerequisite for preserving and providing access to digital cultural heritage and research, and software is increasingly considered a research product or artifact in itself. The rapid pace of software development and change...

Affiliates: Models of Interdependency

Editor's note: This blog is the first in a series focusing on CLIR Affilates. Subsequent posts will describe some of our international Affiliates in greater detail, noting the rationale for these partnerships and the transformative potential of working together.During the last few years, CLIR and DLF have established a new category of organizational partnerships that we call Affiliates, a term that is purposefully flexible, connoting alliances with various strengths of cooperation. These range from incubating...
The 2016 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union may forever be remembered for the passionate remarks delivered by California governor Jerry Brown. Governor Brown spoke, in part, about the need for scientific data to be collected and preserved, and its importance in understanding climate change. Later that week at the same meeting, our CLIR-funded digitization project received the International Data Rescue Award in the Geosciences. We were happy to be a part of this...
Ten hamsters pile on top of each other. As one hamster on the third row of this unusual pyramid smiles out at us, another boosts the topmost hamster up. It starts to peek up and out of their cage… The Collective conference bag. Author’s photograph. This whimsical image appeared on each of the bags piled behind the registration desk of The Collective, a conference held March 2-3, 2017 in Knoxville, TN. A little absurd and...
Collaborative partnerships between large and small institutions create a platform for organizations with shared goals to work on a project beneficial to both institutions over a specified length of time. When deciding whether a collaborative partnership might work for your organization, it is important to identify common goals, potential benefits, organizational weaknesses, and best practices. Institutional partnerships can create new opportunities for funding, access to technological resources, and staffing; they can also lead to improved...
If you have been anywhere near digital image repositories in the past five years, you might have heard of IIIF (pronounced triple-EYE-eff), or the International Image Interoperability Framework. There are several different ways to describe what IIIF is, but a current favorite is that IIIF is a community working together to create, test, refine, implement and promote shared application programming interface (API) specifications for interoperable functionality for digital image repositories. So what exactly is “interoperability,”...

Recordings at Risk: Pilot Call Pointers

Audio and audiovisual materials of significant value often fall under the stewardship of archivists who lack specialized training regarding their description, storage, and maintenance needs. For this reason, the thought of writing a competitive grant proposal for a digital reformatting project might seem a tall order. What are the most archivally-sound digital formats in which to transfer these open-reel tapes? How many hours do I assume it takes to digitize all the content off of...

Digital Libraries and Social Justice

This summer, CLIR announced funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the initial planning phase of the Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME). This project’s impetus is the tragic violence and loss of life currently afflicting the Middle East and North Africa regions, accompanied by rampant looting and destruction of priceless objects of plastic art, rare books and manuscripts, and architecture. In planning to construct a virtual library populated by digital surrogates...

Wikidata as a Digital Preservation Knowledgebase

Katherine Thornton, CLIR postdoctoral fellow in data curation at Yale University Library, coauthored this piece with Euan Cochrane, digital preservation manager at Yale University Library. It is a condensed version of a longer post published by the Open Preservation Foundation.  We’re exploring Wikidata, the (relatively new) Wikipedia for data, as a knowledge base for digital preservation information and would appreciate feedback and involvement. At Yale University Library we are beginning a new program of work (with...

Recordings at Risk: What's at Stake and What We Can Do

Ten to fifteen years. That’s the length of time preservationists like Mike Casey say we could have to reformat twentieth-century audio and audiovisual content in collecting institutions before degradation and format obsolescence (a.k.a. Casey’s “evil twin-headed monster Degralescence”) render that content lost forever. Those are scary numbers, especially considering the enormous amounts of time-based media our libraries, archives, and museums currently hold. A 2014 study done by AVPreserve and the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC)...

NDSR Art

NDSR Art NDSR Art is a residency program that helps art and cultural institutions tackle issues of digital preservation and stewardship. The program supports art librarians, art information professionals, and visual resource curators in their endeavor to provide long-term, durable access to institutional repositories, born-digital works of art, and interactive technologies. Applications for host institutions are being accepted through Monday, October 31, 2016. NDSR Art is a partnership of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and ARLIS/NA, made possible with...

A Digital Library for the Middle East

Last October at the Digital Library Federation’s (DLF) annual Forum in Vancouver, Canada, I served on the final plenary panel, asked to speak about themes and topics of that Forum that struck me as especially compelling. I reported that the emphasis throughout the conference on the correlation of the social implications and potential societal benefits (as well as potential disruption) of the technologies associated with building and evolving digital libraries was invigorating. The Forum had...

Taking Action by Casting a Wider Net

I recently attended the 2016 Leading Change Institute (LCI), a program sponsored through CLIR and EDUCAUSE, with 37 amazing and talented higher education IT and library professionals. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I was excited and honored to be there. The week-long experience included presentations by diverse and inspiring guest speakers from across higher education, engaging team work, challenging projects, and extraordinary discussions. Elliott Shore and Joanne Kossuth deserve special thanks for...

Missed Connections

One of the best things about CLIR’s immersion in the educational, information, and cultural professions is an ongoing chance to be inspired by people who spend their time preparing for a better world. Often working within tight financial constraints, students, teachers, librarians, archivists, curators, and technologists make remarkable moments happen—bringing people together with histories, cultures, and ideas—nourishing our minds so that we might grow. Lately I find myself doubly grateful for the privilege of these...
On the heels of the US Supreme Court's decision not to review the Author's Guild case against Google's Digital Library project (which means that at least for the time being book digitization and selective online sampling and machine-driven "reading" is safe), everyone who cares about access and digitization preservation of cultural heritage has breathed a sigh of relief. This, however, is tempered by the realization that most large-scale digital libraries (whatever their degree of openness)...
Embedded librarianship has increasingly shifted the emphasis from one-time reference services to developing highly focused, targeted, specialized research assistance. Although embedded liaison programs have been previously adopted across institutions, embedding data consultants is a relatively new approach that many academic libraries have introduced into the process of building research data services. In this blog post, I’d like to share my personal and professional experience as a researcher embedded in faculty research—as one form of data...