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

Kenning Arlitsch, dean of the library at Montana State University, coauthored this blog with Patrick O'Brien, semantic web research director at Montana State University. A new toolkit that helps libraries measure and monitor the search engine optimization (SEO) performance of their digital repositories is one of the products of research funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.* The Getting Found (GF) Cookbook includes everything necessary to implement a preconfigured Google Analytics dashboard that continuously monitors SEO...
Some time in the first decade of the twenty-first century, what used to be called “humanities computing” until then gave way to a supposedly new field, “digital humanities.” At that point, the word “humanities” in the description shifted within the conceptual space of the academic imaginary. No longer a mere adjective qualifying a gerund seemingly rooted in the world of technology, “humanities” became the central noun of the name when the name changed from “humanities...

Cross-cultural User Research: An Example From Finland

Large-scale cultural heritage aggregations are designed to open up access to library, archives, and museum collections on a massive scale by making them freely available on the web. Professionals in the field, active enthusiasts, and members of the general public have already been building up and benefiting from digital platforms that reduce physical or geographic barriers to collections and scale to accommodate millions of users. But despite the promise of reaching users across vast geographic...
⌘+ S. We save almost without thinking about it. With the widespread adoption of word processing software, we’ve become thoroughly conditioned to save as we create. Not so with digital projects. There’s no easy equivalent to the ubiquitous “⌘ + S” that would automagically provide long-term preservation of digital objects and projects. As such, the urgent problems of preservation continue to require thoughtful conversations and deep planning. On April 10 & 11th, scholars, librarians, archivists,...
It is now over a decade since the first cohort of 11 CLIR postdoctoral fellows began their appointments at academic libraries across the United States. This seems remarkable to those of us who were lucky enough to be around for those early days, but what may be even more remarkable is how much the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program has grown and changed. What was once a ragtag band of techno-savvy humanists is now an eclectic array...

Digital Humanities and the Visual Resources Community

The Visual Resources Association just ended its 33rd annual conference in Denver, Colorado, this past weekend. While there were many topics discussed during the seminars and workshops, one topic that kept popping up throughout the week was digital humanities. As a student in library science and the humanities, I had heard this buzzword many times but had never been given a clear definition of what it is or how it could be used in the...

So what do we mean by "hidden"?

In January, CLIR issued the first request for proposals for Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives: Enabling New Scholarship through Increasing Access to Unique Materials. This milestone marks the fruition of a long development process that involved reading and consulting the work of experts in a variety of relevant fields: members of the cultural heritage professions, funders, leaders of national digital library initiatives, intellectual property experts, and readers of Re:Thinking. What followed were months of...
Earlier last month, during one of the presentations at the First New Mexico EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) Postdoc Leadership Workshop, the speaker asked the 19 postdocs (18 STEM and 1 LIS) in attendance, “How many of you feel the ‘impostor syndrome’?” About 7 postdocs immediately raised their hands. At first, I did not know what the speaker meant. However, I quickly recalled a CLIR postdoc and others expressing feeling symptoms of this “impostor...
This is the second of a two-part blog post that discusses incorporating data management and data sharing plans into researcher workflows. The first blog in the series, by CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellow Kendall Roark, appeared last week. Traditionally, librarians have been involved at the beginning and the end of the research process, assisting researchers with finding information and with disseminating information. With the changing data landscape, however, it is important for the library to participate in...
This is one of a two-part blog post that discusses incorporating data management and data sharing plans into researcher workflows. The second blog in the series, by former CLIR/DLF postdoc in data curation Vessela Ensberg, will appear next week and focus on lab-based researcher workflows with non-human biological specimens. Libraries and library professionals are emerging as major stakeholders in the data management business and continue to position themselves as viable institutional custodians of large collections...

Digital Libraries and Zones of War

In 2014, I began conversations with the Heritas Group, a new organization devoted to solving large-scale problems pertaining to the world's collective cultural heritage. Heritas is concerned especially with those regions of the planet that are disrupted by war and political instability. Our conversations focused on several geographical areas, but almost always returned to the Middle East and the current alarming rate of theft, looting, and illegal sale of cultural artifacts. In addition to the...

Semantic Identity for Library Organizations

Kenning Arlitsch, dean of the library at Montana State University, coauthored this blog with Patrick O'Brien, semantic web research director at Montana State University. Library organizations are poorly represented in Semantic Web applications such as Knowledge Cards, which now display to the right of many Google search results. Knowledge Cards provide users with brief information about organizations or people and may include such items as location, description, hours, logos, photographs, and reviews (see example, below)....
Several of the participants in Yellowstone's experimental Archives Blitz project have blogged about their experiences on the Heritage Center's blog: http://www.nps.gov/yell/blogs/museumblog.htm They have also been Tweeting using the hashtag #ArchivesBlitz.

Zeine Zeine, go away, come again some other day.

So apologies for this blog title, I couldn't resist. When I was doing coursework and preparing for my qualifying exams, I read the two books of Zeine Noureddine Zeine, I thought of him as just another mid-20th century nationalist historian, heralding the end of Turkish brutality and the dawning of the era of Arab freedom. I didn't give him a whole lot of thought as I came to Beirut at the beginning of this fellowship. But...

Making the Rules: Where to Start?

As we have reported previously in Re:Thinking, CLIR is now in the final stages of developing a proposed new digitization competition, the product of more than a year’s worth of consultation with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, other funders, and experienced practitioners from cultural heritage institutions. We hope to learn very soon whether we have succeeded in securing approval to move ahead with our plans. If successful, we expect to make an announcement by mid-December...

Charter-ing a Path

In recent years, we’ve guided four separate cohorts of the graduate fellows who participate in the Scholars’ Lab’s Praxis Program through an unusual exercise. Praxis is a team-based fellowship, in which six students, from a variety of humanities and social science disciplines and in varied phases of their graduate careers, spend two full semesters working together to design, create, and launch a digital project—either “from scratch” or by building on and refining the work of...
As two previous posts here have noted, we at CLIR have spent much time this year considering the feasibility of building a national digitization program on the model of Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives. There seems to be strong interest among our sponsors and other constituents in our pursuing this possibility, and we hope to be in a position to announce specific plans about this new venture by the end of 2014. In some ways, we can view...

Zoom Out and Be Where You are Needed

The 2014 Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum was the sixth I’ve attended since entering the LIS profession ten years ago. My first one was when the DLF still had fall and spring fora, and they were members-only gatherings. My predominant memory of that first Forum, in November 2008, besides the wondrous and welcome ubiquity of food, is as a conference mainly about software applications and tool demos relevant to metadata schemas and harvesting, usability, discovery...

In Context: DLF and Stonehenge

When preparing remarks for the 2014 DLF Forum in Atlanta, my thoughts fixed on a recent visit to Salisbury, in Wiltshire, England. The visit was replete with stimulating conversations about creating a new digital library from the rare holdings of the Salisbury Cathedral's library and archives, and included a revelatory trip to nearby Stonehenge and it environs. Discussions about the prospects of a digital library and the historical and cultural heritage of Stonehenge often returned...
In March 2014, I started working as the research services librarian at the University of Manitoba in Canada. I am responsible for facilitating library services in scholarly communication, which includes implementing research data services. I am excited to engage in this initiative as Canada’s Tri-Agencies, a major source of research funding, are expected to require a data management plan in grant proposals as early as fall 2015. In anticipation of the new requirement, the University...