Thursday, October 20, 2011

Transitioning to a Digital Future - afternoon session

Okay - here's my notes dump for the afternoon speakers. Once again, these notes are completely unedited and unprocessed. I will say I found the last speaker - Charles Henry of CLIR - fascinating, especially the bit about the relationship between preservation and scholarly interpretation.
(Also, I had some nice online chatting with Peter Verheyen during the session!)

Grant Funders Panel Discussion
Eryl Wentworth, Executive Director, Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation
Howard Wactlar, Director for Information and Intelligent Systems, Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), National Science Foundation
Charles Thomas, Acting Associate Deputy Director for Library Services, Institute of Museum and Library Services

Eryl – FAIC – excels at professional development –
We need to develop/harness volunteer passion and energy
Excited about Emerging Leaders in Conservation group. Have skills and energy to do more advocacy work
There is an interest in AIC to create a preventive conservation/Collection Care division.
Howard of NSF – two pieces to preservation world – preserving information, but biggest opportunity/challenge is preserving experience
Eg. Ways of recreating walk through national park.

Charles of IMLS
More important than ever when thinking about the numbers of items and digital materials – need to think about selection. Focus on crowd-source to help with selection/curation.
New type of planning grant – national forum grants – discuss across institution types and make recommendations.
Re: selection for digital preservation – storage is cheap, but preservation/management/retrieval isn’t.
Importance of local and national perspectives.
Big question with IMLS preservation grants is whether preservation policies developed by large institutions work well when applied to a smaller organization. Need to develop/test different models and how they work in different contexts.
IMLS funds grants for preservation research – like energy efficient storage environments.

NSF guy thinks we should record/preserve everything – not yet able to decide. Disk storage at 3.5 cents/gigabyte.
Defer decisions about what it is okay to forget. Hold off on that decision as long as we can.
Don’t worry about reformatting – the cloud and the market will figure that out for us?!?!
(He seems quite fond of the commercial marketplace as driving how preservation changes.)

Eryl – C2C as an example of a program that takes preservation issues to smaller institutions. Survived a shift of organization/leadership. – now its C2c online
Research – storage/environmental issues.
FAIC assumed responsibility for Conservation Online. The archive is a relic itself. Many conservators don’t use it. ConsDistList however is very popular/used. Now getting some proposals to think about how to use CoOL to provide current information – with interactive component.

Shared management becomes more complicated at a local level – have little spare capacity/resources to contribute.
Workforce issues – need for qualified preservation staff. Very few training opportunities to meet demand. IMLS sponsors a few fellowships.
Funded a demonstration project to build a community storage site for people to place own digital info – with option to share it or not.

NSF guy – what are the next steps. Reformulate our needs as technical or scientific problems.
Until scientific community is adequately faced with the need they are not going to address the problem.

Eryl – back to workforce issue. Training future leaders. Samuel H. Kress funded FAIC conservation fellowship.
Recurring issue with AIC – public outreach/education.

IMLS – interest in archives administration continues to grow.

A Mirror Held, The Future Reflected 
Charles Henry, President, Council of Library and Information Resources
He said "Chock-a-block"
4 programs in higher education in humanities – preservation of cultural records will involve humanists. New concepts coming out of humanistic research.
1. Relationship between  preservation and scholarly interpretation.
- in this era of amazing ability to see within artifacts – previously unseen. This will influence interpretation. Continuity of decision-making that leads and helps determine interpretation of that object. Line of thinking between preservation and scholar. Need to focus on the whole spectrum of engagement. Those interpretations can influence further preservation
2. New forms of scholarly research in humanities. E.g. Digging into data. Humanists and computer scientists collaborations. Looking at 56,000 quilts that had been digitized. 14th c. French manuscripts. 17-18th maps. All three projects looking for patterns.
With the maps – was there a way you could trace a lineage of authorship. Same with manuscripts.
With quilts – what’s a crazy quilt and what’s not. Discerning lineage of authorship.
Big question – what is authorship and how is cultural tradition passed over time.
Terabytes of data and many algorithms. Algorithms hold true for many other disciplines. Where is this data going to go? This project executed  in an environment with no preservation plan.
All these projects require new kinds of academic expression.
3. Project will be announced in a month – federated research and educational depository system. (FREDS) UVa, Mich, Emory, Stanford. Preserving academic record. 3 or 4 dark archives run on different platforms. Redundancy of archives but not of operating systems.
We are subject to a catastrophic loss of digital info.
4. Digital Public Library of America. DPLA. National roll-out tomorrow. Could become a vast federation of American cultural heritage objects.  If it’s done well, it could be one of the greatest resources we’ve ever seen. DPLA won’t own digital objects, only federate them. Preservation is not mentioned anywhere in this project. Exhilarating and indicative.

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