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

Amy Lucko and Jena Winberry of CLIR contributed to this post. With funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, CLIR issued the seventh request for proposals for the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives program earlier this year. Once again a wide variety of cultural heritage institutions have responded, nominating an incredible array of fascinating collections for the competition. Now that our deadline has passed and proposals are safely in the hands of reviewers, it...
The Montana Historical Society (MHS), recipients of a 2012 CLIR "Hidden Collections" grant to process  the Lee Metcalf Photograph and Film Collections, is pleased to announce the completion of Lot 31 Lee Metcalf Photograph Collection. The collection, processed by Project Photograph Archivist Matthew Peek for the MHS Photo Archives, is the original congressional and personal image collection of Montana U.S. Senator Lee Metcalf, who served in the U.S. House from 1953-1960 and in the U.S....

CLIR's Reach

This is a short blog to direct your interest to a new map CLIR recently unveiled that demarcates our activities during the last 14 years. We initiated this project last year in response to the observation that nearly 1,000 people have participated in CLIR's programs since 2000, and we thought it would be helpful to visualize this participation in a geospatial fashion.  The map covers the world and can be read by accessing a variety...

Role Negotiation

In my January 30 blog I wrote about developing personal metrics as a way to “know that you’re winning.” After that blog went live someone asked me “What happens if your personal metrics are totally different from the library’s metrics?” I didn’t have a great answer for that—other than “it depends,” but it got me thinking. When I was consulting, our starting point for situations like this was to look at how the individual and...

The Need for Reskilling

I recently attended a webinar on training data-savvy librarians that ended with the following quote by Eric Shinseki: “If you dislike change, you’re going to dislike irrelevance even more.” Reskilling librarians are not a new idea. Librarians have had to reinvent themselves time and again and have been quite successful doing so. But preparing for the challenges of data management in the new “data workforce” is about more than learning new skills and tools to...
Since returning to sunny Los Angeles from lovely but cold Milwaukee, I’ve been contemplating the bright potential future for cultural heritage information in the Linked Open Data (LOD) environment. In Milwaukee, I spoke at a session titled “Brave New World: Using RDF and Linked Open Data for the Semantic Web” at the annual conference of the Visual Resources Association. (For an introduction to LOD, see Europeana’s video “Linked Open Data: What Is It?”). LOD is...

Geometry in Motion

Part 3 of a 3-part series In two recent blogs I noted the predicted imminent appearance of neuromorphic processors: new machines that will have the characteristics of biological computing, with the processors' wiring mimicking brain synapses. These processors respond to data based on the accumulation of past experience, and the “weight” or strength of those associations causes the value of the connections and associations to change. The neural-type network is thus reset according to the new...
Last week I was honored to be one of the 53 poster presenters at the 9th Annual International Data Curation Conference (IDCC) held in San Francisco. It was a great program as always, with an interesting mix of attendees. It is amazing how far we have come since IDCC began in Bath, in September 2005. Our conversations are more nuanced and complex as we examine the issues regarding the management, preservation, uses, and reuse of...

Innovations Through Listening and Learning

Participatory design affords us an opportunity to understand our users’ perspectives through their eyes and their words. We ask questions about their life, and they respond with narratives and images that illustrate a world that is theirs, and in which, if we listen carefully, we can discover new possibilities for library services. We see possibilities as ways in which we can deliver services where and when they are needed. In our world, this is innovation,...

Unexpected Alignments at MLA

The recent OCLC report, “Does Every Research Library Need a Digital Humanities Center?”, unfortunately represents digital humanities scholars and librarians as encompassing completely separate camps, one where the libraries are doing the supporting, while the scholars are doing the research. Many librarians (or “hybrarians” such as myself) instead see libraries as not just supporting projects, but taking an active and collaborative role in such projects, This could take the form of providing initial exposure and...

Who? Machines. (Part 2)

Part 2 of a 3-part series My January 9 blog highlighted the contemporary paradox of new computers that will reach the market later this year that are designed to learn, and the digital environment we have inherited that is structured by silos and buckets of tightly sequestered information—in this instance cataloging schemes developed during the last 150 years. The paradoxical aspect relates to a quote from the 1940s by Vannevar Bush, who lamented that library...

How do I Know I'm Winning?

Just over seven months ago I made a leap from consulting in the for-profit sector to working as a research fellow in an academic library. At the time it didn’t seem to be that big a leap: I wasn’t happy with the idea of staying full-time in consulting, I had an MLIS, I had worked in a library before, and my PhD seemed pretty useful in a library setting. It wasn’t until the CLIR fellowship...

What is Your Impact Factor?

This is the time of year when many of us reflect on what we accomplished in 2013, as we plan, strategize, and re-invigorate ourselves to dig in and dig deep for 2014. This past year was a great one for the DLF program; the annual DLF Forum was a success, DLF community membership is up, and we invested our time and attention in many activities that I believe are invaluable to the greater digital library...

Who? Machines.

Part 1 of a 3-part series A recent front-page article in the New York Times grabbed my attention. Titled "Brainlike Computers, Learning from Experience," the piece described a new kind of computer processor: one that is designed to function as the human brain's neuronal network functions. Large corporations such as Google and academic computer science programs at universities are working on these "neuromorphic processors," including Stanford (Brains in Silicon program) and MIT, which was recently...

CLIR as a College

Reading CLIR's Annual Report for 2013, I was struck by the wide reach of our programs, and the number of grants, fellowships, and contracts we gave back to our constituencies. The post doc program continued to grow with additional data curation fellowships; another round of fellows were selected for writing dissertations using original sources; another stimulated cohort graduated from the Leading Change Institute; the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives program awarded a variety of...

Data Journals: Incentivizing Research Data Dissemination

Among the obstacles to a more robust culture of research data sharing and preservation, one that stands out to me is the current lack of participation by most researchers. Research data are unlikely to be re-used or repurposed unless they are published (with a lower-case “p”) or made available to a wide audience via posts on websites or deposits into online data repositories. Unfortunately, several studies of researcher behavior show that this is not common...

Our Silent Film Heritage—Missing, Believed Lost

Public interest in silent films has never been higher, it seems, than today. Beautiful restored copies are released on DVD and BluRay, public screenings attract thousands of people at festivals and cinematheques, and homages appear everywhere from YouTube to cinema screens. Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927) was just presented again at Royal Festival Hall in London with a full orchestra. The afterglow of the success of The Artist, the unlikely Oscar-winner for Best Picture for 2011,...

Talking Amongst Ourselves

This week I had the opportunity to participate in the second meeting of Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation (ANADPII).  For background on this initiative, I recommend reading the volume that came out of the first meeting, especially the closing thoughts by Cliff Lynch that start on page 309. An update on the full ANADPII will take place at the CNI fall meeting. This year’s meeting focused on current and emerging action items in community...

The Data Doldrums; or, Reflections at the End of a Grant

For the past two years, starting as a CLIR Fellow in 2011, and continuing in my current role as director for digital scholarship with the University of North Texas Digital Scholarship Co-Op, I’ve been working on the DataRes Project, an IMLS-funded initiative documenting and analyzing LIS responses to research data management. I wrote for this blog about the DataRes Project back in January and have been busy wrapping it up since then. The final report for...

Liberal Arts Colleges and Digital Scholarship

How might liberal arts colleges collaborate in support of digital scholarship? Are there inherent strengths of liberal arts colleges that, together, we can bring to bear on shared challenges? At the invitation of Neil McElroy, dean of libraries at Lafayette College, I was invited to attend a DLF pre-conference program focused on these questions with approximately 30 peers. This opportunity was funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation though a grant to Lafayette College. During the...