Monday, December 21, 2009

CNI Fall 2009 Membership Meeting

I gave a project briefing at the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) Fall 2009 Membership Meeting on ICPSR's work on cloud computing and confidential research data. I have placed a copy of the presentation deck at SlideShare.

Most of the talks I attended were quite good, and the brief notes I've entered here are by no means complete summaries. But they will give people some flavor of the meeting, and the types of topics that one will find at a CNI meeting. I should note that I really find the meetings useful; it is a great way to keep up with what's going on at the intersection of IT, libraries, and data, and I usually meet several interesting people.

Opening Plenary - Overview of the 2009-2010 Program Plan (Cliff Lynch) - As usual Cliff opened the meeting and went through the CNI Program Plan for 2009-2010, hitting a wide array of topics including open data, open access, the financial crisis in higher education (particularly in the UC system), sustainability, linked data, the contrast between the centralized databases of the 70s, 80s, and 90s v. more diffuse collections today, and reaching deeper into membership organizations.

He drew a distinction between data curation (focus on re-use and the lifecycle) and data preservation (focus on long-term retention). My recollection is that he thought the former was more likely to attract community engagement, and the latter was a tough sell to funders, membership organizations, and business. I've heard others make similar comments, most recently Kevin Schurer from the UK Data Archive, who distinguished between research data management and data preservation.

Cliff then spoke about the usefulness of attaching annotations to networked information, perhaps in reference to a talk (which I wasn't able to attend) from the Open Annotation Community project later in the day.

Thorny Staples and Valerie Hollister gave a brief talk about DuraSpace's work to faciliate "solution communities" to help people solve problems using Fedora Commons and/or dSpace.

Randy Frank gave Internet2 kudos for creating good tech for demos and labs, but told the audience in his project briefing that he wanted to bring the tech closer to the production desktop at member institutions.

Simeon Warner described how arXiv would be soliciting its top downloaders for donations to help keep the service running. It's current host, Cornell University Library, spends about $400k per year (largely on people) for the service, and naturally they would like to find others to help pay for this community service.

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