In my role as web developer at the Smithsonian Libraries, I recently attended the LITA National Forum in Columbus, OH. At the conference, I participated in an 8-hour pre-conference session on website analytics and how to use them to understand and improve the usability of a website. Since this is Open Access Week, I thought a summary of this session might be interesting to share. Continue reading
Martin R. Kalfatovic, Assistant Director, Digital Services Divsion, was invited by the recently formed Medical Heritage Library (MHL) to share some some thoughts about the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). The meeting was held in Rochester, MN, just around the corner from the famed Mayo Clinic. The MHL was formed in late 2009 using BHL as a model. Though the content of the two projects is much different, the congruent similarity is the focus on the heritage literature of the respective disciplines. Working with funding from the Open Knowledge Commons through the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the MHL is a consortium of many of the top history of medicine collections in the United States. Members are:
- The National Library of Medicine (Bethesda, MD)
- Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine (Harvard Medical School)
- New York Public Library
- Long Health Sciences Library (Columbia University)
- Cushing/Whitney Medical Library (Yale University)
Also on the presentation panel with me was Lori Jahnke (The College of Physicians of Philadelphia), CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Academic Libraries who is working access methodology for medical history collections.
His presentation, An Anatomy of a Mass Scanning Project: The Biodiversity Heritage Library, can be found below. You may recognize the illustrations in the presentation as being from Smithsonian Libraries' copy of Andreas Vesalius, De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543) in the Dibner Library collection.
I attended, along with Marcia Adams, the spring meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) in Baltimore. Also attending were staff from the Smithsonian’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO). CNI holds both a spring and fall meeting. One of the great things about CNI is that it brings together library staff and staff from information technology (IT) departments from some of the world’s largest research institutions.
Major topics at this meeting were open access to scholarly output; the role of institutional repositories; the increasing importance of data sets in the research environment (and the difficulties of handling them from both the library and IT perspective).
I found the report on the “Faculty Attitudes 2009: Findings from the Latest Ithaka S+R Survey” particularly interesting; this report, which focuses on university faculty attitudes towards libraries is a must read. (you can find the full report here).
Clifford Lynch, CNI Director, always gives a good summary of trends and hot topics; you can find “Cliff’s Roadmap for Spring 2010” here
Presentation summaries, handouts, links and some presentations are available on the conference website.
No kidding, on April 1, I attended the meeting, "A National Conversation on the Economic Sustainability of Digital Information" here in Washington.
The meeting was hosted by the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access. Assembled to study economic sustainability of digital information, the task force was truly "blue ribbon". Among the members were Sayeed Choudhury (Associate Dean/Director of the Hodson Digital Research & Curation Center, Johns Hopkins University), Fran Berman (Vice President of Research, Professor of Computer Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Brian Lavoie (Research Scientist, OCLC), Clifford Lynch (Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information), and the Smithsonian's own, Anne Van Camp (Director, Smithsonian Institution Archives).
After a keynote address by Thomas Kalil (Deputy Director for Policy in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President of the United States), the full day meeting was organized around a series of "conversations" in which invited interlocutors conversed on topics related to digital preservation.
Secretary Clough, participating in the "Conversation about Research Data", in his introductory remarks and follow-up questions specifically mentioned the Biodiveristy Heritage Library as an example of an important digital project. He also, when asked about the future of libraries, pointed to the "Information Commons" created at George Tech Library during his tenure at Tech.
The agenda is listed below; the full report and more information can be found at the Blue Ribbon Task Force home page. I highly recommend reading the both the full and interim reports for important directions that libraries will be heading towards.
- Conversation about Research Data
Daniel E. Atkins (Former Director of the National Science Foundation's Office of Cyberinfrastructure) and Wayne Clough (Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution)
- Conversation about Scholarly Discourse
Derek Law (Board Chair, JISC Advance), Brian E. C. Schottlaender (The Audrey Geisel University Librarian at the University of California, San Diego)
- Conversation about the Economics of Collectively-Created Content
George Oates (Lead, Open Library at Internet Archive) and Timo Hannay (Director of Web Publishing, Nature Publishing Group)
- Conversation about Commercially-owned Cultural Content
Chris Lacinak (Founder and President, Audiovisual Preservation Solutions) and Jon Landau (Motion Picture Producer)
- The Economics of Digital Information
William G. Bowen (President Emeritus, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), Hal R. Varian (Chief Economist, Google), Dan Rubinfeld (Robert L. Bridges Professor of Law and Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley)
Clifford Lynch (Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information), provided summary remarks.
As an aside, it was neat to chat a bit with movie producer Jon Landau (Avatar, Titanic) about how to draw audiences (whether they're movie goers or book readers) into a story; and Vint Cerf (one of the "fathers of the Internet, along with Robert E. Kahn), currently Google's Chief Evangelist.