Mailing List Message #113273
From: Clifford Lynch <>
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Subject: Roadmap for Spring CNI Meeting, April 7-8, 2008, Minneapolis
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 12:50:00 -0400
Roadmap for Spring CNI Meeting, April 7-8, 2008, Minneapol
A Guide to the Spring 2008
Coalition for Networked Information Task Force Meeting

The Spring 2008 CNI Task Force meeting, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 7 and 8 offers a wide range of presentations that advance and report on CNI's programs, showcase projects underway at Task Force member institutions, and highlight important national and international developments.  Here is the "roadmap" to the sessions at the meeting, which includes both plenary events and an extensive series of breakout sessions focusing on current developments in networked information.

As usual, the CNI meeting proper is preceded by an optional orientation session for new attendees - both representatives of new member organizations and new representatives or alternate delegates from existing member organizations - at 11:30 AM; guests are also welcome.  Refreshments are available for all at 12:15 PM on Monday, April 7.  The opening plenary is at 1:15 PM and will be followed by two rounds of parallel breakout sessions.  Tuesday, April 8, includes additional rounds of parallel breakout sessions, lunch and the closing keynote, concluding around 3:30 PM.  Along with plenary and breakout sessions, the meeting includes generous break time for informal networking with colleagues and a reception which will run until 7:15 PM on the evening of Monday, April 7, after which participants can enjoy a free evening in Minneapolis.

The CNI meeting agenda is subject to last minute changes, particularly in the breakout sessions, and you can find the most current information on our Web site,, and on the announcements board near the registration desk at the meeting.

The Plenary Sessions

The Opening Plenary:  The Paul Even Peters Award Presentation and Lecture

I am delighted that Dan Atkins, Director of the United States National Science Foundation Office of Cyberinfrastructure and Professor of Information, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science at the University of Michigan, will receive the Paul Evan Peters Award during the opening plenary Session on Monday, April 7.

The Paul Evan Peters award recognizes a career of contributions to scholarship and intellectual productivity at the highest level; Dan's work represents just such a level of achievement and contribution, and is notable as well for its diversity.  Dan served as founding Dean for the School of Information at the University of Michigan; he did fundamental and important work in digital libraries and in computer supported scientific collaboration environments (co-laboratories), and, earlier in his career, on high performance computing and computer assisted tomography.

But Dan is best known to many as the chair of the NSF-chartered committee that wrote the landmark report Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure (better known as the "Atkins Report") and for his recent stint as Director of the National Science Foundation's Office of Cyberinfrastucture, where he has worked tirelessly to translate the report's vision into practice.

To me, Dan's work has two particularly unusual and wonderful characteristics.  It connects technology developments with social systems and practices in particularly rich ways.  And it involves "thought leadership" - it frames discussions and developments, it sets agendas, it contextualizes systems and institutions within broad national and international needs, priorities and opportunities.  It makes us see new possibilities.

More recently, he has been thinking deeply about the future of higher education and the roles that technology might play in that future, and about developments such as open learning environments.  In his Paul Evan Peters lecture, Leadership in the Age of Cyberinfrastructure-enabled Discovery and Learning, Dan will both reflect on current developments and explore these ideas.

This will be the fifth time that the Paul Evan Peters award has been presented; the award was created by the Association of Research Libraries, CNI and EDUCAUSE to honor the memory and contributions of CNI's founding executive director following his untimely death.  Dan Atkins joins previous recipients Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf, Brewster Kahle and Paul Ginsparg.

Closing Plenary

Our closing plenary speaker will be Tara McPherson, who will use her work on the international electronic journal Vectors as a point of departure for a wide-reaching inquiry into the nature of scholarly publishing and scholarly communication in a networked, multimedia environment, focusing primarily on the humanities.  This will include consideration not just of the system of scholarly communication, but of the changing nature of the actual scholarship - the evolving nature of argument, of engagement, of experience of the work.  This moves us far beyond the simple extrapolation of printed works that characterizes the vast majority of digital publication today.  If you have not seen Vectors (, it is well worth some time in advance of Tara's talk - it's a unique and enormously rich exploration of possible futures for scholarly communication.  Those already familiar with Vectors will have some sense of the provocative exploration we can expect in this plenary session.

Tara McPherson is a faculty member at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California; she is an award-winning author who has written widely on issues involving culture, gender, race, representation, and media and the complex ways in which these interconnect.  Recently, she edited the anthology Digital Youth, Innovation and the Unexpected, a volume in the MacArthur Foundation series on Digital Media and Learning being published by the MIT press.

Highlighted Breakout Sessions

I will not attempt to comprehensively summarize the wealth of breakout sessions here.  However, I want to note particularly some sessions that have strong connections to the Coalition's 2007-2008 Program Plan and also a few other sessions of special interest, and to provide some additional context for a few sessions that may be helpful to attendees in making session choices.  I do realize that choosing among so many interesting concurrent sessions can be frustrating, and as always we will try to put material from the breakout sessions on our Web site following the meeting.

Development of cyberinfrastructure, whether high performance networking or tools for researchers, has been an important focus of CNI's agenda over the past several years.  Tim Lance, President of NYSERNet, Inc., and a member of CNI's Steering Committee will represent the Internet2 community and seek input from CNI attendees as part of a community-driven strategic planning process for a national vision and priorities for advanced networking as a key component of this evolving cyberinfrastucture.

At a disciplinary (actually, interdisciplinary) level, we will have a session on nanoHUB, a service that provides access to simulation tools for research and education via the Open Science Grid and TeraGrid; this important project is bringing tools to the classroom in science and engineering.

At the institutional level, a panel from the University of Minnesota will discuss their assessment of cyberinfrastructure needs of researchers at their university.  At Johns Hopkins, a team is working with data from the National Virtual Observatory as well as publications related to the data in a Fedora-based repository.  Their session will describe the use of the Open Archives Initiative (OAI)-Object Reuse and Exchange (ORE) to create an aggregation that will assist researchers in identifying interrelated sources of information in this domain.

In other work related to repositories, a session from Rice University will highlight their efforts to stream audio and video from their institutional repository.  Bucknell University will describe how they jump-started an institutional repository in a two- month period.  A session from the National Library of New Zealand will describe an international software development effort for a trusted, national digital repository for cultural heritage objects.

The CLOCKSS project at Stanford University, which oversees a large, decentralized repository of scholarly e-content, will describe how they managed their first case of moving a discontinued journal from a dark archive to open access, addressing both policy and technical issues.

A number of sessions will focus on cyberinfrastructure for the humanities, including a panel on the role of Humanities Centers in the digital arena; the session will build on a previous session on this topic at the fall CNI meeting.  Developers of a new multi-institutional, interdisciplinary initiative called Bamboo, will present their vision for the project which will map out scholarly practices and common technology challenges across humanities disciplines.  Another briefing, from Cornell University, will examine disciplinary work practices and assumptions that scholars bring to interdisciplinary work.

A briefing will highlight a Civil Rights digital library that contains materials in many formats and includes curricular support materials, and another session will describe the evolution of a state authors project, in this case "Alabama Authors" to management via a wiki.  The work of a Mellon-funded initiative, the Persepolis Fortification Archive, will be described; this project is making a number of variations of scans of clay tablets and fragments available to users, and raises important policy issues related to ownership and preservation of cultural heritage.

There are several developments related to new approaches to the scholarly communication system and publishing that will be explored in a variety of briefings.  CNI sponsored a workshop on authors, identity management and the scholarly communication system in February of this year.  Our intention was to begin efforts to understand, connect, and where appropriate help to coordinate a range of developments related to authorial identity and name authority in the digital environment.  I will report on the issues that surfaced and some proposed first steps.  In a related session, Thomson Scientific representatives will describe their ResearcherID system that gives researchers the ability to create a unique, persistent identity and profile for their research output.  The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is funding the MESUR project, and we will have a session on its investigation into mapping a very large reference data set of usage of scholarly information; the purpose is to explore new mechanisms for usage-based scholarly evaluation metrics.  Two sessions will explore semantic web technologies to enhance use of scholarly content:  Elsevier's work in bioinformatics will be described, and we will have an update from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's SIMILE project, which is developing tools for a spectrum of data management.

Three briefings will focus on new institutional publishing initiatives:  the DPubS open source digital publishing system, developed by Cornell and Pennsylvania State University, the Open Publishing Lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology, which is focusing on Web 2.0 applications for print on demand, and an overview of publishing services in ARL libraries.

A number of sessions will explore what types of services today's information users, seekers, and creators need and how libraries and information technology providers are innovating to meet those needs.  Delivering new types of services in technology-enabled physical spaces is an important aspect of many institutions' engagement with students and their learning.  CNI's Joan Lippincott will explore trends in new types of computer labs and other facilities such as learning centers and invite discussion of campus strategic planning issues related to informal, technology-enabled spaces.  The University of Tennessee will describe how the development of their Commons provided a platform for a transformational reorganization of the library.  The University of Louisville will discuss collaborative initiatives with campus partners in their Learning Commons.

Developing services for users of mobile devices is an emerging area on many campuses, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of California, Merced, will discuss the opportunities for libraries and the challenges they face in addressing this issue.  McMaster University librarians, who won an Association of College and Research Libraries award for excellence in academic libraries, will describe their role in supporting learning in a 2.0 environment.  We will have a presentation from the Federation of American Scientists discussing their virtual world initiative, which intends to leverage the capabilities of these environments for scholarly inquiry and encompasses some important emerging questions about standards and interoperability.

New tools to enhance user services will be the theme of several briefings.  Twine, an accessible semantic tagging solution, will be showcased by Sarah Miller from Illinois Wesleyan University, who was interviewed by the New York Times on her work in this arena.  Speakers from Mannheim University will describe their work, supported by the German national science foundation, to develop Web 2.0 services for their library users.  The beta implementation of OCLC's WorldCat Local at the University of Washington will be the focus of another session.

Many campuses are working to develop more coherent information systems and better tools for their user communities.  At Rutgers, the library is developing an open source software release platform, and they will discuss policies and procedures they have created.  Three sessions will focus on collaborations between and among campus partners, including management of Web content at the University of California, Irvine, the development of services in the University of Minnesota's my portal, and Wesleyan University's development of a unified data storage system.

Finally, we will have two sessions in which speakers will discuss pressing national policy issues.  The recently implemented National Institutes of Health policy on open access is a development that has implications for researchers, and campus offices of research and libraries are assisting their communities in implementing the requirements of the new policy.  Speakers from the University of Nebraska and the University of Minnesota will describe their institutions' responses to the policy and Karla Hahn from the Association of Research Libraries will provide an overview of the new policy.  EDUCAUSE will provide an update on key networking policy issues, focusing on late-breaking areas of concern to the higher education community.

There is much more, and I invite you to browse the complete list of breakout sessions; their full abstracts will be available at the CNI Web site by March 31st.  In many cases you will find these abstracts include pointers to reference material that you may find useful to explore prior to the session, and after the meeting, we will add material from the actual presentations when it is available to us.

I look forward to seeing you in Minneapolis this April for what promises to be another extremely worthwhile meeting.  Please contact me (, or Joan Lippincott, CNI's Associate Director (, if we can provide you with any additional information on the meeting.

Clifford Lynch

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