Wednesday, October 18, 2017

#NDPthree : Wrap-up

Yesterday's National Digital Platform at Three (#NDPthree) was an event that I wish all of you could have attended. Yes, there is the report, the seven-hour archived video (below), and the tweets, and there will be a report from the event. However, there is something about being "in the room" that cannot occur when you are at a distance.

In that room were some amazing thinkers. IMLS brought together people with different points of view and different library/museum situations, including a museum startup, a 501(c)3 academic library,  a tribal library, a broad range of academic and public cultural heritage institutions, library-related associations, and a few faculty.  Regretfully, a one-day event did not allow us to deeply tap into the wisdom of the room.

My big take-aways, at the moment, are:
  • The need to talk about libraries, archives, and museums using the word "platform."  In this meeting, we talk about libraries as a digital platform.  However, libraries are platforms for other things in our communities.  The word "platform" is a way for us to get away from talking about specific services and thinking about a bigger picture and different impacts.
  • The need for our cultural institutions to work together to build a platform, i.e.g, a shared way of thinking about an approaching our digital capability and capacity.  Working together means working across institutions types and sizes.  In means engaging the smaller institutions, so they are not left behind.
  • Some libraries and museums are developing creating approaches and "pushing the envelope."  What they are doing is not a secret, but most have not likely heard about it.  We need to get what they are doing known by more.  That might mean getting people to present webinars, speak at regional conferences, or write for our trade journals.
  • Funding continues to be important.  It is also important that funders be willing to take risks with their funds.  That may mean streamlining applications so that institutions can apply for funds more easily.  It could also mean providing funds to for-profit  cultural heritage institutions, who need assistance to preserve what they have and make that content more widely available.
  • We need to push for more open resources (e.g., software, platforms), which will help this effort.
  • We need to instill our MSLIS students with the knowledge and attitude which will allow them to be a part of developing, maintaining, and pushing forward the idea of libraries as a platform.  This means that students need to be able to:
    • Understand  and explain the bigger picture.
    • Have the technical language and knowledge to be able to participate in discussions and the development of solutions.  Technical knowledge does not mean that they need to be able to "do", but they do need to understand what is happening (or not) and why.
    • Relate what is occurring in for-profit organizations to the needs of our cultural institutions.
    • Create project plans and grant applications.
    • Track impact.
    • Collaborate across space and time with other organizations.  These collaborations could be with non-profit and for-profit entities in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.
    • Act entrepreneurial by taking risks and be willing to work towards a l-o-n-g term goal.  
    • Be a part of the conversation, whether the conversation occurs in-person, through virtual platforms, or using asynchronous methods. Listening is a virtue as is providing your own opinion and knowledge.
Finally, I want to promote a comment made by Luke Swarthout (NYPL), who said (paraphrased):
If our work results that people can get to the Internet to view fake news and pop up ads, then our work is not done.
Here are links to all of my #NDPthree blog posts:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#NDPthree : Going Forward

Ashley Sands, IMLS - Moderator

This panel was asked to look foward.

Kate Zwaard, Library of Congress - she works in the National Digital Initiatives Division
She has four broad points (her ideas):
  1. Modern manuscript collections - ephermal manuscripts in ephermal media.  The platforms are evolving faster than we can understand how to archive them.  Personal digital archives is part of this.  Education is not the answer.  There needs to be a tech solution.
  2. Libraries as Platform - We need to involve users more centrally in conversations about this. Are we presenting data in ways that are useful.  New or complex metadata standards are barriers to use.
  3. The problem of scale - As we scale up, how do reconfigure the structure of our institutions and our field to support this.  How can collaborations occur in a peer to peer basis?  How do we blend the wisdom of cataloguers, the wisdom of the crowd, and technology?
  4. Skills building and our patron base - She notes a benefit of demonstration projects and the need to promote the work that is similar to what are users are doing.
Loretta Parham, Atlanta University Crnter Woodruff Library - She talked about the progression of projects.  A small digital project to a larger one to preserving institutional digital records to scholarly record to audio/video digitization to a project for GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums).  Working to create object-based learning pedagogy.
In terms of need, need IMLS to exist and to thrive.  Need grants to smaller and minority institutions.   Small institutions need help acquiring skills that they do not have in house.  Institutions need help understanding how to reorganize to take advantage of opportunists.  Need conferences/events where like institutions are the majority of the attendees.  Continuing education is important.  The effectiveness of collaboration needs to be taught.  They need help in policy development, especially with born digital and records management. They need the support of public programs so that content is used.  

Chris Bourg, MIT - The biggest ROI is on shared solutions to shared problems, e.g.,  community source software development.  The challenge is that you need expertise in staff during the development.   Be willing to let go of an obsession with quick wins.  Be willing to make long term, patient investments. We need to invest in ways to make our content usable in ways we cannot anticipate. MIT is making hackable libraries, which means people can use them how they want to use them.  Finally, what are the challenges that libraries have and how can others help?  For example, MIT imaging technology that can read through closed books.  Right now the tech can only read through nine pages.  How cool would it be to digitize books without opening them?  Having that in portable technology would be a game changer.  

Cliff Lynch, CNI - He noted the report that IMLS produced on the “National Digital Platform at Three.”  He sees similarities between what IMLS is doing/funding and other efforts (e.g., DPLA).   What is on the cusp of big wins?  He mentioned several things including open educational resources (OER).  Concerns? Sustainability.  Small institutions with limited resources.  Privacy.  The life cycle of scholarly work.  Big data and especially in museums and scientific collections.  Preservation, e.g., ebooks.   News archiving.  Social media and personalization.  Do we need to rethink how we do archiving in these areas?  In the move to digital, libraries are systematically getting squeezed out of content.

Jim Neal - The impact of policy issues that are or will be made at the federal level, e.g., copyright, privacy, network neutrality, etc.  Not to speak of federal funding for libraries. 
Cliff - What Jim said! The NDP can have an impact on these issues.

Question - The need for communities of action.  We need investment of time and resources. However, funding for those cannot currently occur though grants.  How can we encourage the funding landscape to change to meet our needs?
Chris - It is a sociological conundrum.  We need to be clear about vision and mission, and use those to build trust so people will work together for a common purpose.  However, we don’t have a common agreement on what our missions are.  We are in the middle of disruptive change.  If your mission is to serve your primary community, you will need do the things your community needs for the long term.

Kate - We need to come together with a shared goal and purpose that is achievable.

Cliff - Reuse of data is overly simplified.  Some data cannot be made open.  Libraries are often uncomfortable with content whose sharing must be limited.  
Katherine Skinner - We do not have funding for the glue.  For that which will hold us and our collaborative efforts together.  

Mark Parson - The successful networks are tied to big infrastructure.  What can we do to insure that all data networks are tied to infrastructure?
Erin - People love core facilities.  Most research core facilities are domain specific.  Libraries cross disciplines.  What would a core facility for libraries look like?  How could we do?

Kate - She noted the importance of ebook usability. It is what she believes our users would want us to work on.  

Ashley - How do measure if something is sustainable or not?  
Cliff - Sustainable to some extent is related to up-take. If enough people are using something, we can figure out how to sustain it.  How do you predict sustainability in advance?  Many funders struggle with this.

Loretta - We sustain a lot of stuff that we should not be sustaining.  We need to change what we’re doing.  

Chris - We have no idea what the sustainable business model is for open access publishing.

Kate - We need to turn things off when they need to be turned off.  We all have a pilot that last too long.

Ashley - What is. A grand challenge that is pressing?

Chris - Digital preservation

Kate - Getting the word out about our collections

Loretta - Isn’t someone working on a list of all these things?  

Chris - MIT is going to have a summit on what the grand challenges are and develop white papers. Open scholarship, digital preservation, and discovery.  Imagine a discovery device that mimics how we think.

Comment - Metadata and discovery.  Linked data.  Interoperability.

Question - We spend a lot of time looking at discovery.  It isn’t about discovery, but about getting to that “thing.”  It is about getting to stuff, which is in different systems, networks, etc. what do we call this?  It is the same problem as the number of clicks to download an ebook.
Chris - Known item searching. The sense of anxiousness that faculty are missing things related to their research.  Can you help me find what I don’t know I’m looking for?

Loretta - Can the information find you?

Chris - How do we do personalization and still respect privacy?

Ashley - one more remark...

Kate - It has been an insightful day.

Loretta - How do we make mileage on solving some of these thing?  Let’s not forget those with limited resources.

Chris - How can we use our resources for the public good, but in a way that allows for the library to center itself and its perspective?

Cliff -  We spend a lot of time worrying about improving technical skills.  We also need to deal with imparting the judgment and knowledge about how to make decisions about the responsible use of technology.

Concluding Remarks: Robin Dale, IMLS
  • She noted the importance of our input, questions and answers
  • Glad to see familiar face and thrilled to see new voices and hear new voices
  • What’s next?
  • Grand challenge?

A report due in early 2018.

#NDPthree : Museums and the National Digtal Platform

Paula Gangopadhyay, IMLS - Moderator
Museums and libraries have their similarities and uniquensses. There are some different IMLS grants for museums. In 2017, that received nearly 900 grant applications.  Two priorities: professional development and digital projects. 70% of the grant recipients have been art museums. A high percentage of those (40%) are around digital asset management.  However, the vast majority of small and mid sized museums are behind the curve.  She noted three challenges including the absence of a skilled workforce. There is a need to collaborate across sectors. 

This panel was more free flowing.  The panelists were:
  • Greg Albers, J. Paul Getty Trust
  • Samantha Blickhan, Zooniverse and Adler Planetarium
  • Michael Edson, Museum for the United Nations 
Where have you seen the biggest ROI for museums services in the last three years?
Samantha - They are offering support to museums in building crowd sources projects.  The biggest ROI is the application of digital tools in unique ways, such as in accessibility.  Visualizing data in new and specific ways, e.g., dome-casts in planetariums. They want to get to a place of being software neutral.  In terms of Zooniverse, she talked about a project builder that allows more projects to be built.
Greg - What came to his mind was the word “open.” Open access.  Open data.  

Michael - A move from focusing in technology to focusing on social impact. How do you put tech to use for something that matters.

Samantha - How do you create tools that support the use of data/digital assets?

Michael - Need to use the word “platform” more broadly. He pointed to Zooniverse an their work to help people do work faster and at scale.  Good technology is rooted in good human interactions.

Greg - It is hard for museums, etc., to compete for staff with for profit companies.

Michael - People - perspective employees - need to see cultural heritage institutions  as places that is making a difference.

Michael - What are the super practical things that have changed? 

Greg -There is an understand of what makes up a digital museum, although smaller institutions cannot do it.

Samantha - One institution has a VP of user experience.

Michael - It used to be “illegal” to talk about Wikipedia in museums, but not talking about Wikipedia is normal.

Where do you see the biggest gaps, needs and challenges over the next 3-5 years?

Greg - The capacity is people.  He is interested in top to bottom digital literacy at the Getty.  People who are focused on the digital are throughout the institution. Because they are spread out,they are not good at talking to each other.  They share baseline skills and a language for talking about things. Literacy can include being aware of “X.” The digital share is a full day staff retreat.  All people focused on the digital come in the spring and must share.  (You can come, but you must share.)  All people need to have a shared understanding.
Samantha - Zooniverse worked to produce data and analysis after Hurricane Irma.  Great work that needed more publicity.

Greg - People are willing to share, but the institution needs time to do the sharing.

Greg - How does the Getty decide what to do? Now have a VP level digital content person, who has a team of digital architects, including metadata creation.  They are updating their governance model in recognition of the digital work they are doing,

Paula - Some of the work Getty is doing could be scaled down and be used by smaller institutions. Digital is not the responsibility of one person or one department.
Michael - Step 1 is that someone somewhere in the organization is focused on digital.  Step 2 is that a department somewhere  in the organization is focused on digital.   Step 3 is that the department in charge of the organization's digital presence/content has been more purposefully selected.  Step 4 is that there is someone in upper level management who is focused on the organization's digital content/life.

Samantha - The Department of Citizen Science is also where teen programs are housed.  This means that design and use are in the same department.

Greg - When a smaller institution can’t grow to build a department, it needs to look for cross fertilization.

Michael - Do what you do best and network the rest.  Are there members of your audience who are doing what you need to do?

What are the intellectual property issues?  
  • Greg - Look for low hanging fruit.  It is becoming more acceptable to put things online.  Take advantage of Fair Use.  
  • Samantha - Doors open when you start with the access that you have.  Show what happens - positives - when you provide access.
What are some of the opportunities and resources that museums should be leveraging?
  • Michael - Super serve your niche.  Focus on basic access and basic service.  How do our museums help us make good decisions about our future?
  • Samantha - Talk to your user base because they are the ones using your collections/projects. You have to give them the opportunity to share their ideas.
  • Greg - We need to connect with each.  Both in connecting with people and interoperability. 
How do you assess where your social impact is? 
  • Michael - Sometimes the last e where the social impact will be is baked into the project.  Where will meaningful change occur?  Most change happens in small local groups, not online.

#NDPthree : Opening Scholarly Communications

Ashley Sands, IMLS - Moderator

This conversation was mostly on gaps.

Ixchel Faniel, OCLC - Comes to this as a person who studies research data management issues.  (1) Continued education for librarians an archivists - There have been studies on this in Europe, Australia and the U.S.   Librarians are interested in this.  Existing staff are being repurposed and they need the correct training. There needs to be an investment and a clear return in investment. There needs to be a more concerted effort conceptually. (2) Meeting researchers needs - Expect to see a big return here.   Expanded data and new methods of collaboration.  Sharing data and reusing data.  How do activities in the data life-cycle influence each other?  We need to consider the full life-cycle. What and who are touching the data?  What is the result of those touches?  How are downstream activities impacted?

Mark Parsons, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - He comes from a data perspective, although new to RPI and IMLS.  He is skeptical of the term “scholarly communications” although he likes the broad definition in the NDP report.  Infrastructure is a body of relationships.  Libraries and museums are mediators and thus part of the infrastructure.  In terms of mediation, we are not done until people can use the data to improve their lives. We need to focus on users and providers.   Mediators need to work from different perspectives. We need radical collaboration and radical trust.  We need to develop standards.  He believe the big gap is around economics.  Scholarly communications needs reciprocity.  We need to share.

Merce Crosas, IQSS, Harvard University - IQSS develops tools which help in research. They help with data management, FAIR data plans, data citation principles.  (1) building communities - Bringing together the users and e developers.   (2) supporting larger data sets -These needs to be done in the cloud. Your work will be in the cloud. It could be an open cloud.  (3) supporting sensitive data - Sensitive data sets exist now.  How can they be made usable?  What privacy tools are needed? (4) intregration of the data life cycle - It needs to be easy and interoperable. 

John Wang, University of Notre Dame - Example of a book that included multimedia.  Researchers are incorporating various data/artifacts in their work.  How do you preserve these materials?  How do you assure continued access?  The problem of interconnected objects.  Preservation is often an afterthought.  Many faculty do not understand that librarians can help solve these problems.  And they do not engage librarians early enough in the process.

Sayeed Choudhury, John Hopkins University - From innovation to impact.  Think of return on impact, not just return on investment.  The infrastructure is invisible until something goes wrong.  If someone uses data in your institution without your help, that is impact.  If someone uses data in unanticipated ways, that is impact. One way of having impact is to use as librarians what others have created.  He noted that using content is continual and creation is continual, which causes problems and concerns.

Ashley -  What is the most pressing problem or concern?  
  • Sayeed said that IMLS has a probing of view that no one else does. What is IMLS seeing? 
  • Mark’s answer was trust.  Can IMLS help to steer the conversation in the academy, especially in terms of what publications are (format) and how they are rewarded? 
  • Ixchel wondered how we work collaboratively.  What changes are needed?  
  • Merce said that IMLS needs to recognize the changing output of funding efforts.
Comment - In the arts - digital arts - some of these topics have already been discussed.  Can we learn from them? 

John - There are different ways of thinking about value that occurs much further upstream.  We cannot plan for the unanticipated, but we can facilitate it.

Emily - Have you had success in working outside the library environment?  What was needed? 

Mark - You need lots of time to build relationships and trust. You need to make a commitment. 

Merce - Spoke about collaborating across cultures and borders.  Everyone needs to have some sense of ownership.

Roger Schonfeld - He noted the breadth in the definition of scholarly communications.  For profit investments in end to end scholarly communication workflow. Is it less about communications than research workflow? John’s answer spoke to partnership.

#NDPthree : Expanding Digital Cuttural Heritage Capacities

Emily Reynolds, IMLS - Moderator

The overarching questions in the session were "What has made a difference?" and "Where are the gaps?"

Bergis Jules, University of California, Riverside - Talked about the forum that is getting a diversity of voices at the table to discuss community archives and preserving local cultural heritage. These forums are creating new space for new voices.  The forums help to broaden knowledge.  They also help to envision radically inclusive processes for the field.  What they have learned has not yielded any surprises.  Mostly about funding and labor.

Karen Cariani, WGBH Educational Foundation - Return on investment: Two page submission form which helps in a number of areas including collaboration.  There is more support for collaborations. She noted that some of the tools needed already existed, e.g., open source speech to text tools. Benefiting from the work in NLP (natural language processing) and efforts of linguists. National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) programs are benefiting young professionals and host organizations. Trying to give more knowledge and experience to the next generation of professionals. Local collections have the biggest gaps - they need funding for digitizing and digital preservation. Another gap is that computational researchers are used to biggest funding and they see the IMLS grants as being too small.

Thomas Padilla, UNLV - His project is trying to think through how to make collections computational amenable.  It is a broad area that could have far ranging impact.  Gaps:
  1.  Need programs to help existing professionals to build the knowledge and skills needed in this area. What can be done to encourage local organization success? 
  2. Need to encourage projects that are cross disciplinary and with different orientations?  How can we go for the difficult wins, not just the easy ones?  
  3. More collaborative funding opportunities and opportunities that are international.  Can we have private-public sectors exchange of staff, so we can learn from other private sector colleagues (e.g., Twitter)?
Jefferson Bailey, Internet Archive - (1) Noted the importance of systems interoperability and the need to have funding that seeks pieces that are able to work together.  We need glue rather than spokes. The need to promote data exchange through APIs.  There are industry technologies that could be adopted for the needs of digital cultural heritage.  (2) There has been success in collection development and we need to continue to think locally, as well as collection building in new domains (e.g., Twitter) and fast moving events.Risks:
  1.  Grant funding around big projects with established institutions.  Funders need to take more risks with their funding.  
  2. Need to lower the barrier of entry.  
  3. Shared infrastructure beyond the application layer, e.g, storage.  Could we have a non-profit cloud?
Emily Reynolds - Question about funding models.  Bergis said he has no specific solutions.  What if funding targeted specific opportunities, rather than a general call for applications?  What if funding was available to those who are non-profits? He mentioned a Native American boarding school with tremendous archives, which needs help in preserving their collections. Karen said that when you include smaller institutions in your grant, it takes time to manage the efforts of those smaller institutions.
Comment - Comment about the trust factor needed.  Smaller institutions may not immediately trust.

Question - Large cultural institutions don’t always have the ability or motivation to step up.  Yes, larger institutions should help smaller ones, but they also need to help themselves.  Do they have enough institutional support?  Thomas said he doesn’t know what the solution is that provide larger institutional support.  Need to create and support new positions in emerging areas.
  •  Karen said that they are an organization between a bigger one (Library of Congress) and smaller institutions.  How do larger institutions be more than users of the smaller institutional collections?  
  • Jefferson - Can there be cost sharing?  Can larger institutions provide the capacity and smaller institutions provide the expertise?  
  • Thomas -What does big and small mean?  Some smaller institutions have having an incredible impact.
 Rhiannon Bettivia - Comment - Metadata and data model. There is a cost and need to structuring the data.

Emily - The need to create our own Amazon web services for libraries.  

Bergis - Who legitimizes our history?  Who ensures that history is preserved?  We need to broaden who is part of the conversation and what is preserved.  We need to be radically inclusive.