Webwise – Day 2

Posted by on Friday March 2 2007

Web Wise Day 3

Dr. Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services, Library of Congress kicked off the morning with a keynote entitled “Digitization for Access AND Preservation: Strategies of the Library of Congress” 


One of the really interesting things she spoke about was the new digital preservation center they are building which will include the following:

Motion Picture Broadcasting and Recorded sound
Up to 150 staff
Collections building will store audiovisual collections
Central plan building
Conservation building and theater

And a new project National Digital Newspaper Program – Chronicling America (

Questions and Answers

Priscilla Caplan asked for speaker to discuss the library of Congress’s own plans for preservation of their own materials.   Speaker said there is a plan to develop format specific repositories, the newspaper, repository; she is pushing very hard for a much more comprehensive approach to preservation with the LOC Information Technology Staff.  Funding has been the primary obstacle, but is something we are pushing for hard.

Cathy Larson, University of Arizona, Artificial Intelligence Lab – can you talk a little bit about post-project evaluation?  LOC has just completed the first nation wide user’s survey that has been conducted for a long time.   The feature of the strategic plan is that is a little difference is that there are performance measures attached to every goal to evaluate our progress.  As soon as that plan is in final form it will go on the web and you will be able to see it. 

Murtha Baca, Getty Research Institute, What are some of the ways we can combat the idiotic idea that if you scan everything you get good access to it?

Although Dr. Marcum didn’t really answer the question, she did have an interesting response as follows:  I thought I would come to one conference without talking about cataloging.  As librarians we have so much to offer in terms of describing information, making it findable, we’ve been at this for many years and we actually know how to do it.  What I think our challenge is, it is not enough for us to create the perfect finding system, we know from all the user studies that individuals, who are looking for information, go directly to the open web, and our marvelous catalogues are not getting used.  We have to find ways to take our content and the metadata and move that content to the open web.  And until we do that, I believe we face a high probability of spending much, much, much money on developing bibliographic structures that are only used by a limited number of people.  I know that in any organization when people are really good at what they do, it is very hard to abandon those systems.  It is not enough to say “well users should use our catalogue.”  Well let’s think about how users are finding what they need and go where the users are.  What we’ve always wanted to do.  We have talked as librarians about how we want to get information into the hands of the people who need it.  We now have the mechanism.  WHY ARE WE MAKING THAT HARD?  We have the opportunity to do what we’ve always said we want to do.  Why aren’t we doing it?


Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities, Moderated by Joyce Ray, Associate Deputy Director for Library Services, IMLS

Steven Wheatley, VP, American Council of Learned Societies, Our Cultural Commonwealth: Report of the ACLS Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The ACLS has produced a report you can find here    The goal was to provide a structure for discussions and decisions about allocation of resources (time, money, people) to address the opportunities that are ahead of us, and to try and expand the discussion.

Why another report?  There are already lots of them.  The NSF report of 2003 was able to mobilize scholarly energy we in turn wanted to mobilize the humanities community around the same type of issues.

Why do we need a new cyberinfrastructure?  This is a necessity today.  Most objects of human creativily and expression are born digitally.   New humanists are going to need the ability to study these in their original form.  No one today can study literature or elections, for example, without consulting the blogosphere.  An effective and efficient platform to enable specific communities to work together.  This is the middle layer between the hardware and the users.   Cyberinfrastruture includes:  Discipline-specific software, expertise, best practices, tools, collections, policies, and collaborative environments.  

Five necessary characteristics for cyberinfrastructure projects:

1) Accessible as a public good (not necessarily free, but reasonable)
2) Sustainable
3)  Interoperable
4) facilitate collaboration
5) support experimentation.

Eight Recommendations of the Report:

1) Invest in cyberinfrastructure as a strategic priority
2) Develop public and institutional policies that foster openness and access
3) Promote cooperation between the pubic and private sectors
4) Cultivate leadership
5) Encourage digital scholarship
6) Establish national centers to support scholarship that contributes to and exploits cyber infrastructure
7) Develop and maintain open standard and robust tools
8) Create extensive and reusable digital collections

AAUP statement on open access
Brett Bobley, Director, Digital Humanities Initiative, National Endowment for the Humanities

Brett started with a huge laugh from the crowd saying that he didn’t want to steal IMLS’ thunder but that NEH Program Officers would be waiting in the lobby after the conference, with checkbooks in hand, making immediate grants.

NSF, NEH, IMLS should support the development of tools – we should work together to promote collaboration.  NEH also in discussions with other agencies to put together more collaborations. 

Discussed their new programs follow the link above for more information.

Roy Rosenzweig, Director, Center for History and New Media, George Mason University, Scholarly Collaboration with Museums and Libraries in the Digital Era

Discussed that there is a renewed imperative for collaborations in the cyberinfrastructure era.  He described reasons why he thinks it is important for academics to work with institutions and institutions to work with academics.

Why academics should work with institutions:

Museums, libraries, and archives have the stuff (
Museums and libraries have a permanence, while the works of scholars are transitory
The web has opened us to more diverse audiences and institutions generally have more experience with diverse audiences than we do
Institutions have the kind of expertise that complements that of the academic scholar (we have the stuff and the expertise in the curators heads)  — see Zotero tool

What do Academics bring to institutions?

–Scholars bring, obviously scholarly expertise, and a familiarity with the research process ourselves

–Awareness of the kinds of historical questions that will want to be asked about collections

-Academics bring technical expertise, infrastructure for small museums—working on generalizing the software OMEKA tool (an alternative to pachyderm)
Diane Zorich, Cultural Heritage Information Management Consultant,  Discussion and Wrap UP

Diane began with a discussion of a book she is currently reading Stuart Kelly’s The Book of Lost Books (

Why it’s important to retain access to our cultural heritage?

Diane gave an overview of what we’ve heard over the past few days and all you folk who weren’t able to attend will be pleased to know that  IMLS is going to post podcasts and the powerpoint slides for all the presentations.  In addition, Diane will be writing up a report of what was covered in the past three days. 

Diane pragmatically and gracefully identified the important themes of the conference with examples:

The core missions of our organizations historically: curation, preservation, access
The importance of collaboration
There is no one solution (TINS)
We aren’t preserving a context, we are preserving an ecosystem
Digital preservation is a transformative process

Need for more tools
Need for more training on preservation
Maybe we need fewer repositories and more collaboration
Broaden our constituency

Projects Demonstrated at Breaks

An interesting conference all around.  The Winter Ale was particularly fine in the hotel bar.  Dinners were fantastic at Obelisk and Cafe St. Ex.  And now….I’m going to take a few days break from blogging.  Guenter, thanks for asking me to do this, it was a real challenge–my fingers have six packs. 

3 Responses to “Webwise – Day 2”

  1. Diane Zorich
    March 4th, 2007 06:30

    You are a Wonder Woman! Thanks for writing the conference proceedings ; )

  2. What you missed at WebWise « Public Historian
    March 6th, 2007 02:51

    [...] Holly Witchey has all the details over at Musematic.   [...]

  3. » Blog Archive » IMLS WebWise 2007 - My sleeper-theme
    March 6th, 2007 08:45

    [...] Deanna Marcum’s (Library of Congress) library keynote on Friday morning confirmed that while museums only feel the pressure of finding their audience where they lurk to a degree, libraries know they don’t have a choice. Deanna as quoted by Holly: “What I think our challenge is, it is not enough for us to create the perfect finding system, we know from all the user studies that individuals, who are looking for information, go directly to the open web, and our marvelous catalogues are not getting used. We have to find ways to take our content and the metadata and move that content to the open web.” [...]

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