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

A Most Ancient Symmetry Abandoned

Third in the Beveled Mirrors Series In a recent blog I wrote about Stonehenge and Newgrange, megaliths in Britain and Ireland whose construction and maintenance over a great period of time remain astonishing and mysterious to a modern visitor. While we may never fully understand the many facets of meaning and symbolic references these works represent, they clearly served an archival and preservation function that we can assume was integral to the cultural life of...
It is no question that the field of literary studies, the field to which I belong, has long benefited from the research of scholars who venture into archives. Indeed, archival research has led to vital recoveries and discoveries of literary works by historically under-represented groups—women, African-Americans, working-class laborers—and has helped scholars to better understand the history of and cultural contexts surrounding literary production. Yet, with the exception of those who specialize in Composition and Rhetoric,...

Framing the Sun

Second in the Beveled Mirrors Series Today the most prominent interpretation of Stonehenge argues that it was an astronomical observatory. The tall brackets that the carved rocks create were meant to frame the sun at various times of the year. Off to a distance, between two of the uprights, is a large singular, somewhat egg-shaped rock referred to as the heelstone. At the summer solstice, the sun would rise directly above it, clasped figuratively in...

More than Building a Product, Process, or Portal

Earlier this week Dan Cohen, of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, wrote a thoughtful piece about the third Digital Library of America (DPLA) Plenary Meeting on his blog, the Digital Public Library of America: Coming Together. He notes, among other things, that DPLA is more than a technical solution: It is critical to underline this point: the DPLA will be much more than its technical infrastructure. It...

Beveled Mirrors

As discussed in an earlier blog, new digital projects have begun to flourish within higher education that, if successful, will create genuine interdependencies: deep collaborations that could redefine our academic environment. The blog noted that this array of national-scale projects offers an enormous opportunity for educational organizations and institutions to build new bases of support, reach new constituencies, cultivate funding agencies, and build lasting, mutually sustaining connections between the public and private sectors. In response...

Leading Change: What's in a Name?

The question is often asked, “What is in a name, anyway?” The answer, when it comes to the newly titled EDUCAUSE/CLIR Leading Change Institute, is “Everything.” The Leading Change Institute, formerly known as The Frye Institute, has a tremendous history including a number of highly connected cohorts from the various classes. When the Frye Leadership Institute welcomed its first class of students in 2000, the prevailing views of higher education leadership, information services, and the...

Reimagining Publishing: Anvil Academic and the Service-Oriented Press

Coming to the academic library as a CLIR postdoctoral fellow from the strange wilds of the English department, I’d never had a chance to fully absorb the importance of the service ethic within “libraryland.” Despite the challenges of constrained budgets and diverse strategic plans, today’s research library has one ultimate goal: the freer and more timely transfer of information from suppliers to end users. And talented, service-oriented personnel are the sine qua non of such...

Coming to Terms with Data

Much of CLIR's activity in recent months relates to the use and management of digital research data. The new CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Data Curation for the Sciences and Social Sciences, partially funded by the Alfred P. Soan Foundation, is one attempt to address the "problem of data." It is CLIR's hope that these fellows, by collaborating with (or becoming) tomorrow's leading data curators and data archivists, will help envision solutions to our academic culture's...

With Purpose and Intent

When a friend passes away, it always leaves me thinking: What did I learn from our friendship, and what should I do to honor that friend—not just on that day or as a one-time gesture, but over time? How can I change the way I live my life, positively inspired by that friendship?   The recent passing of Lee Dirks and his wife Judy Lew in a tragic car accident in Peru has me thinking...

Seeking Coherence at Scale

As discussed in previous blogs, new digital projects have begun to flourish within higher education that, if successful, will create genuine interdependencies: deep collaborations that could redefine our academic environment. This array of national-scale projects offers an enormous opportunity for educational organizations and institutions to build new bases of support, reach new constituencies, cultivate funding agencies, and build lasting, mutually sustaining connections between the public and private sectors. One can go as far as to...

In a Sharper Light

Helsinki. The 78th annual IFLA World Library and Information Conference has convened in this lovely Baltic Sea port. It is summer, and the streets bustle with locals and tourists alike; a vibrant café scene evolves into a sophisticated eating and drinking stage at night. Among the more remarkable aspects of Helsinki is the light: the far northern sun is bright during the day, almost painful in its sharp glancing against stone and sea, turning into...
As cochair of the DPLA Content and Scope workstream, I am honored to be one of many who are contributing time and effort toward building a community, a conversational framework, and ultimately a distributed network of digital content free to all. This summer has been busy for DPLA. In addition to transitioning from a planning activity to a free-standing nonprofit organization, there has been a lot of activity around building the digital instance of the...

Data Curation Week: Just a Beginning

We’re focusing on data during the second week of CLIR’s two-week immersion seminar for postdoctoral fellows at beautiful Bryn Mawr College. We talk about data production, data curation, data management, data stewardship, and so on. We engage with a spectacular range of guests who are deeply involved with practices and conceptualizations of data curation, read a lot, and talk. Here are some recurring themes from our conversations: Diversity. It’s everywhere: in the fellows’ backgrounds, in...

Networking for Greater Results

This week I attended Digital Preservation 2012, the annual meeting of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) hosted by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Although the meeting was stellar (you can learn more about the presentations via the #digpres12 hashtag on twitter and on the conference website), I wanted to take a moment to talk about the NDSA itself. The NDSA has been...

De gustibus, in principium

A recent article in The New York Times focused on the redesign of an iconic dining space: the Escoffier Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America (C.I.A.) in Hyde Park. The room will be completely renovated, with new lighting, seats, and table settings. It will also have a new name, the Bocuse Restaurant, after Paul Bocuse. Perhaps more interesting than the physical transformation of this venerable space are the changes that the diners won’t see:...

New Registry of Hidden Special Collections and Archives

An exciting new development has taken place for CLIR's Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives Program. Since 2008, Program Officer Amy Lucko and I have been collecting data about unprocessed and recently processed library, archival, and museum collections across the United States. One of our goals has been to make this information available to the public through a web-based browsable registry of hidden materials. Our hope is that increased awareness of these materials will help...

Forging New Models for Academic Publishing

Whether the application of the commercial book publishing model to the world of academic discourse was ever appropriate is debatable; what is clear now is that the model is inadequate in the Internet-mediated world of present-day higher education. In an era of increasing inter-institutional collaboration, cost-sharing, and digitally driven experimentation, the packaging of scholarly argument into a printed and bound book accessible only to those willing to pay high prices for it is counterproductive at...

One Culture

This is the inaugural post of the new CLIR blog titled Re: Thinking. In the months ahead, one question will help to frame the contributions: To what degree are we working against our best interests in higher education: our mission statements are almost invariably attuned to our home institution and building a reputation that burnishes our university or college. We strenuously compete with one another for students, faculty, funding, and prestige. Yet the emerging digital...