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Posts Tagged ‘Data Curation

Leighton Christiansen – Profiles in Awesome

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What do digital poetry and truck driving have in common? How about union organizing and digital preservation? All are things my friend Leighton Christiansen could tell you a lot about. Leighton is one of my colleagues at GSLIS, a skilled tech-tamer, and the story of his path to library-land seems to span nearly the million miles he logged as a trucker. AND his initials are LC…coincidence? You decide.

Nicole Forsythe: Tell me about your background and current work.


The Other LC

Leighton Christiansen: I grew up in Iowa, graduating from Betttendorf High in 1986, and starting my BA in English at the University of Iowa that Fall. I graduated with a BA English major and Informatics minor in May 2009. In the 23 years in between, I did some carpentry, delivered pizza and newspapers, drove a school bus, wrote radical journalism, learned newspaper and magazine layout, worked as a household goods mover, drove a truck, worked in campus IT at Iowa, organized and participated in hundreds of rallies and pickets, and was a member of three labor unions: the Chicago Truck Drivers’ Union, The National Writers’ Union, and the Teamsters. I started my MLIS at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in August 2009. I hold a Graduate Assistantship in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS’) Instructional Technology and Design area, working to keep our 40 to 50 distance LIS classes on the air every day. And after serving as the GSLIS steward for the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) and on the GEO strike committee in November, I have been recently elected as a GEO Officer-at-Large.

NF: How did you get from being a truck driver, carpenter, et al, to library school?

In 2002, after truck driving for 9 years, I realized that was not going to be a good long-term career choice. I moved back to Iowa with the idea of picking up my unfinished BA. I had always been a big library user and had thought about being a librarian at various times. I was not actually able to restart my education until 2006. I took 20 asynchronous distance-education hours at Kirkwood Community College in 2006 & 2007, often doing my homework in the cab, or sleep, of the truck while I was waiting to be loaded or unloaded. I took a poetry survey class with Marianne Taylor. Marianne introduced us to digital poetry, especially the work at I had finally, after starting my English major 20 years earlier, found the kind of poetry I was most interested in.

While studying digital poetry and coming across dead links and obsolete players and software, I began to worry about who and how these poems and art objects were being preserved for future study. I graduated with my AA in Spring 2007, knowing that when I started at Iowa in the fall, I was going to study new media poetry and go on to library school, with the goal of preserving digital poetry. I continued to drive truck full time through the end of my junior year, when I got a job in campus IT. And after three attempts to retire from truck driving, I was finally successful. 

Fortunately, I was able to pair my course work with my IT job. I picked up an Informatics minor at Iowa, because I needed to learn a whole new technology. At Iowa I was part of the SITA (Student Instructional Technology Assistants) program. Our job was to help instructors introduce new technologies into their teaching. This included web site publishing, podcasting, blogging, building wikis, and integrating and exploring virtual worlds, just to name a few. I got to work with faculty one on one or in small groups, and was often asked to come into classrooms to introduce the new technology to the students. The final three years of my 23-year-BA odyssey were fabulous, and I think made me attractive to the LIS schools I applied to, including UW Seattle, UNC Chapel-Hill, and UIUC.

NF: What do you want to be when you grow up and how do you see an MLIS getting you there?

LC: My current area of study at GSLIS is a Masters in Data Curation, with my intention to stay and pursue a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Digital Preservation. Once I get out of school and back to the work world (and I am in no hurry), I see myself working at a digital archive or at a museum that preserves new media poetry and cyber-fiction. Hopefully, the day job will allow me to continue my own content creation that I began while at Iowa. The MLIS and CAS are key to attaining the technical skills and theoretical background I need to become a serious humanities preservationist. I have a lot of technology to learn, and many specialized data standards to learn. I think the MLIS is the best way for me to start exploring and attaining the many new skills I will need.

NF: You do a lot of work with helping online education at GSLIS go smoothly. What are some of the benefits and limitations of online ed, as far as you can see?

LC: I am a huge fan distance and online education. Over my undergrad career I attended three different community colleges and universities. More than half my AA credits at Kirkwood were from distance ed classes. In the early 1990s, these classes where synchronous distributed courses, with an instructor and camera at one site, and with students at up to seven remote sites, with cameras and mics of their own. The asynchronous credits I took in 2006 and 2007 were Internet-based courses, using the Blackboard course management tool. Online ed meant I was able to complete my AA while still working a very irregular truck-driving schedule.

My current work at GSLIS ITD is in support of other students who are working full time in other cities, in other states, on other continents. The difference for GSLIS LEEP (the distance education scheduling option) classes is that we use Elluminate software, which creates virtual synchronous classrooms, allowing students to interact with instructors and other students without having to be in the same physical location. 

The main benefits of distance ed are the freedom and access students have. Students can learn from great instructors, and collaborate with excellent students, based in universities and colleges all over the world. Students with crazy schedules and family lives, or other restrictions, can gain life-changing education. For students, I don’t really see a downside.

Some are concerned that maybe that there is not enough interaction with instructors or students. Students do need to be pro-active about contacting instructors and staying on track. But I can tell you, in the GSLIS LEEP program, which requires students in the program to spend a few days each year on campus, that students can create a tight group identity. GSLIS LEEP students tend to use our course management chat and discussion tools more than on-campus students. GSLIS LEEP students also graduate at the same rate as our on-campus students. 

The limitations on on-line ed come mostly from the institutional side. Institutions with the attitude that Internet-based classes will just bring in the money, and they don’t have to do anything, will soon find the program will fail from lack of interest. Colleges and universities have to understand that distance students have different needs and you have to dedicate the resources these students need. Having been on both sides of distance ed now, I am excited to be registered for the course E-learning at GSLIS in Fall 2010. It will add some depth to conclusions I have drawn from my experiences.

NF: What are some of the issues in LIS right now that you’re most passionate about? If you could proffer advice to the field on these issues, what would it be?

LC: The biggest issue in LIS right now is the big issue in higher public education everywhere: the corporatization of education. Over the past 30 years more and more tax dollars that are supposed to go to education have been diverted into the bank accounts of private companies. Jobs have been privatized and given to private bidders. More and more administrators are from the corporate realm, not academia. The ideology they bring to the job requires that university departments show a profit, or bring in more grant money, or garner publicity for research that is then given away to businesses for free. Many LIS schools have responded to this cultural change by de-emphasizing library education and emphasizing information science, especially in the area of organizing information for private corporations.

Education should not be about the bottom line. And it does not have to be.

We in LIS, and across the academy, need to fight back against the education-for-profit model that is sucking the life out of education– that is trying to tailor education to the needs of corporations rather than the needs of people. Of course this would have an impact on jobs after MLIS. Public librarian jobs should be highly-paid State jobs. These jobs should not be cut just at the time when more people need access to information and service that libraries provide. Library utilization increases in times of recession and depression. Academic librarians and institutional archivists aid life-saving research and preserve culture. They cannot be cut without negative impacts on science and humanities: benefits will go undiscovered; culture will be lost. Some services have intrinsic value that cannot be measured on a spreadsheet.

If you are in a LIS school, fight back against budget cuts. If you are faculty, organize or join a union. Are you a working librarian? Organize and fight cuts that affect your patrons; get them involved. Societies and cultures change all the time — we can affect that change. And we must affect that change if we are to have the greater say, as library and information professionals, in what information and services are available in the future. If we don’t, everything will only be measured by how it benefits some business’ bottom line.

NF: Anything else you’d like to say to library-land?

LC: We go to LIS schools to learn how to shepherd and preserve information and entertainment in its many forms. The thing we have to remember is that besides living on our shelves and in our computers, information lives in a larger environment that surrounds our libraries and archives. Just as we try to control the internal library environment–adjusting temperature, humidity, and light–we need to try to shape the cultural and economic environment that information lives in; to shape the cultural and economic environment that we study and work in. We want to create an environment more hospitable to information and culture, to the people we serve, to the people with whom we work. Some of that work must take place in our schools and libraries; some of it must take place outside.


Are you interested in being profiled in “Profiles in Awesome” or know someone you’d like to see here? Have a good idea for a question to ask? Email me at nicolibrarian{at} gmail {dot}com.


Written by nicolibrarian

April 15, 2010 at 6:54 am

The Scholarly Record becomes The Scholarly MP3

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When I decided I wanted to be a “librarian,” I got a lot of “Oh? You have to go to graduate school for that?” and “Why would you want to shelve books all day?” One friend teased me by looking over his glasses and saying, in a husky voice, “Your books are very overdue,” a line that will still, all these years later, elicit a good chase around the room. Before I veer too far into the naughty librarian stereotype, it’s worth noting that this default image of the public’s experience of the public library is a powerful archetype. I’d even suggest that I fall prey to it, as do my fellow LIS students, and professors, too. We’re all prone to it from time to time, but LIS-land is a vast and varied country, marked by many tribes speaking many languages and inhabiting a variety of environments. I’ve recently felt like I’ve been studying abroad in the (foreign-to-me) Lands of Academic Librarianship, most specifically in the Nation of Scholarly Communication. And you gotta come vacation here, because it is a rich culture with a warm people and a helluva lot of problems and opportunities to explore. (You’d even be surprised at the native dress, which I’ll happily tell you, is becoming hipper by the day. And, if you don’t mind a few roaches, I can recommend a great place to stay with a charming Innkeeper: The Salo Inn.)

So –  I’ve been thinking a lot about the production of scholarship these days, despite my native tendency to think about the library as a circulator of already-produced material.  Librarians would be remiss as professionals if we did not involve ourselves in a deep way in understanding how scholarship is produced, quality-checked, and disseminated – or, somewhat more interestingly, not disseminated. This duty to understand scholarly practice runs deep: as collectors and keepers of information, scholars are our customers; as researchers ourselves, scholars are our peers; as teachers, we are tasked to seek out truth and encourage critical thinking and analysis in students; and as budgeted departments of institutions, we must decide what scholarship to acquire and keep, and at what cost.

This last point and the day-to-day questions that arise from it – what do we buy? For how much? To satisfy whom? And how long do we keep it? – are at the heart of Collection Development. So what do we do when this first question is irrelevant, such as in the case of “gray literature” that is freely available on the Internet, when there is no publisher to buy from, to publish catalogs from which we choose material? How do we respond to the part of “to satisfy whom” when our patrons are no longer limited to our institutional users – the students, professors, staff and others in our physical environs?

I’ll tether these ideas down with the specific example of Open Notebook Science, as written about in the article Chemistry Crowdsourcing Using Open Notebook Science by Bradley, et al. In the work outlined in their article, the researchers advocate for and propose “exposing a researcher’s complete record of progress to the public in near real time” using “free hosted services using general blog and wiki functions to facilitate replication across any scientific domains.” Neat, right? Interesting for the practice of Science, right? Kudos for collaboration, right? Three cheers for evolving the practice of Science to embrace modern technology, right?

But hold the phone…you’re the librarian at an institution where researchers are engaging in Open Notebook Science.  Data and analysis of important research is going out on a WordPress-hosted blog, and a free PBWiki. Do you freak out? Do you feel you (and your library) are even obligated to save this stuff? How do you handle the undergraduates three years from now who come in with questions about this project? Do you shake your fist ruefully at the wacky professors and their graduate assistant drones who don’t think about preservation? Do you shrug it off and be glad it’s not your job to deal with this stuff; wish you could help but point to your lack of skills and budget as excuses for your inability to act; or get all in a huff and demand that policies must be put in place to prevent this sort of thing?

These are all interesting and likely all very real possibilities, and in many ways, I’m not the person to be answering such questions. (Are you? Please leave a comment on this post…I’d love to hear your perspective.) Yet as a librarian-in-training and someone who has entered the field with an excitement for the evolution of librarianship, scholarly communication, and use of communications technology, I believe the following:

  • Making data new again - flickr photo from @pigdump

    Making data new again - flickr photo from @pigdump

    As librarians, we are obligated to preserve the scholarly record in all of its forms, be they new or old. So what if the comfortable institutional frameworks we’ve know for so long may be becoming outdated? So what if the world of research moves faster than we’d like? So what if the scholarly record has become the scholarly MP3, and our buildings are outfitted with record players? So what if we don’t feel we know how to start saving stuff like Open Notebook Science, because we don’t have the skills, policies, budgets or technology? We are leaders and as such are called to develop solutions and find our way around problems. Maybe those solutions aren’t technological – perhaps we need to be training our Chemists to be good data managers and digital preservationists. Perhaps we need to build inter-faculty, inter-institution partnerships to address these problems. Maybe we need to fire staff unwilling to change with the times, and maybe we need to raise some hell to get adequate funding. We need to talk often, and loudly about these issues of change.

  • We are likewise called to innovate in how we serve our patrons. The above obligations and potentially necessary hell-raising that accompanies it is not merely on behalf of our professional obligation to the scholarly record. It is on behalf of our patrons, users, and customers, both current and in the future. Will future researchers need to look at what past researchers thought, and thought online? Yes. And we can provide meaningful service to researchers by not only being at the end of the slide to pick up and keep their published research, but by being at the top of the slide and helping them manage their data along the way, or even before they get to the playground, in order that we might help them prepare adequately for what’s ahead.

So how can we start? Good question. At the institutional level I don’t know. Yet I do know what I’m doing on a personal level, as an LIS student, to get ready to answer these questions:

  • I’m learning new skills. Do I necessarily WANT to be a computer programmer? Nope! But I’m learning Python and XML anyway, and keep my eyes open for opportunities to get outside my comfort zone and learn new things.
  • I’m reading blogs on scholarly communication, data curation, digital preservation, and talking about these areas of the field with not only my like-minded fellow students, but those who may not understand or be interested in such subjects. My aim is less to proselytize and more to invite conversation.
  • I ask questions. A lot of them. All the time. Not only do I learn, but my hope is that others will, too.

So – what do you think? What are our obligations to the scholarly record, to patron service, and how can we begin and continue to change, both as individual librarians and as institutions?

Written by nicolibrarian

April 1, 2010 at 6:36 pm

What makes special collections so special, anyway?

The Iowa Ad Herrenium, from their digitized collection

I’ve been hanging out at the University of Iowa’s Special Collections department lately. My husband is doing research on a copy of the Rhetorica ad Herennium dating from 1340 CE, and I often find myself tagging along. The Iowa Ad Herennium is a beautiful thing, and there’s something magical and transfixing about being able to hold anything, especially a book, that’s nearly 700 years old. I must admit that being in the Special Collections space brings to mind specifically rare books and manuscripts and a sense of luddite-ism. You check your bag, pens, and liquids before you enter – only laptops and pencils allowed. Special Collections is an especially quiet place in the library, complete with an air of I-know-something-special-because-I’m-in-here, that certain smell of old (really old) books, and an affable dowdiness found only in certain deep reaches of academia.

As a Library and Information Science (LIS) student and a data curation fellow, I must confess I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about special collections, or rare books and manuscripts. It is part of my field that, for better or worse, I just don’t have much interaction with at this point, not unlike my colleagues who are training to be K-12 librarians. I’m friendly to their work, and recognize it as sibling to my own. I just happen to find myself awash in the digital, enamored with things like user experience, interface design, metadata, and systems analysis.

A Mac Performa

A Mac Performa

So I was interested this week when the New York Times did a story on Emory University’s preservation and presentation of their collection of Salman Rushdie’s archives – not only his papers, but his digital files, and his actual computers. In fact, you can see an emulated environment of his first computer, his Macintosh Performa 5400 at a researchers workstation at Emory. (Read the NYT article, and watch the excellent NYT video with screencasts from the emulator.)  And where’s this collection housed? The Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL) – in special collections.

It might seem odd that such highly digital, tech-forward work is being done in an area of libraries that – to be frank – would seem to prefer the physicality of paper and the cult of the tangible over bits, bytes, data and devices. But if being in library school has taught me anything, it’s that librarians and information scientists are often not what they seem, stereotypes be damned. According to the bloggers from OCLC Research, the debate over if special collections is the place for digital “stuff” is certainly not new. Last October, the Association of Research Libraries hosted a conference in D.C., An Age of Discovery: Distinctive Collections in the Digital Age. In his remarks there, Clifford Lynch summed up the tensions between the special collections and digital worlds:

“For cultural memory organizations, these stewardship obligations are paramount—and make no mistake: now that the technology is available and increasingly affordable and well understood, the creation and geographically distributed replication of digital representations of unique treasures is fast becoming an obligation of good and responsible stewardship.”

So let’s assume this divide and debate is passe, that all special collections departments are digital friendly, and that they’re training and staffing themselves for a robust technological future. (Shall I say “Yeah, right?” Down, Cynicism! Down!)  How might the increasing ability of scholars and the public to discover materials formerly limited to physical-only entities, stored in esoteric special collections, affect information behavior? The hope would seem obvious: that scholars, researchers, and other interested parties will find material more easily without expending as much effort. These knowledge seekers will no longer have to travel to musty nooks far and wide for primary and secondary documents. These seekers will also be able to know and share information about the holdings of libraries, and research topics and questions will be sparked and ignited by this knowledge of collections. This great flowering of availability will in turn result in a great flowering of important, stimulating scholarship, a more in-depth understanding of our history and world, and special collections departments will be funded adequately by their institutions because their value is recognized, appreciated, and supported. The manna rains from heaven and we all dance naked, filled with joy and love!

Or wait. Maybe we should do the dancing clothed.

It is hard to say if increased digitization and the possibility of increased access and easier discovery will be, or if it is currently, that big of a deal. After all, scholars have been finding what they need for a long time, through printed indexes of holdings and information-sharing scholarly networks.  Just because you put something online doesn’t mean it is findable – if you build it, they will not necessarily come. Is your digitized collection’s interface easy to use, and if you are digitizing text, is it actually helpful and usable?  (e.g. How accurate is the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and what are the ramifications for searching as discussed here?) Is your collection’s metadata being harvested and aggregated elsewhere, or is it just on your site, a meek satellite with no force amplification? Are you tracking, analyzing, and reviewing metrics on the use of your digital collection and using that data to further bolster use, discoverability, and usability?

By way of demonstration, I propose a challenge. Without using the above link, find the digitized copy of the Iowa Ad Herennium. Quickly. Go. (Leave a comment and let me know how fast this was for you.)

Now how likely was it that as a scholar you were able to find that volume without knowing it was there, and digitized? And how likely is it that you know the digitized copy is not in the order of the physical item (as my husband’s research has found)? If you were doing in-depth research, attaching your name and scholarly reputation to said research, would you be likely to come and see the real thing? Methinks in certain fields that yes, you would need to.

I don’t mean to sound skeptical or against the digitization of works in special collections; and I do suspect that making online copies available will be helpful and very useful over time. I also believe that there will always be a need for the original object, and that they will be worth saving and using. The challenges will be to make collections quality, highly usable and interoperable, be able to demonstrate the value of both the digital and physical to host institutions, and the ability to market and promote resources (something I worry libraries, not to mention special collections, are not as good at as they need to be.)

So what do you think? What barriers exist now, and into the future, for both bridging the special collections stereotype to the digital future? Will there be a need for physical objects in an digitized future? How will information behavior change going forward? Other thoughts?


This post is, as so many of my other posts are, indebted to my colleagues in LIS590CDO, taught by Dorotha Salo, who is mentioned so often in this blog I’m considering renaming Libraries with/out Walls to “A Drooling Fangirl of Salo Rants On and On,” or perhaps “Dorothea Salo is My Hero.” Of particular note among my classmates is one Trevor Muñoz, co-author of the above-linked OCR paper, and who pointed out that the Rushdie and Updike papers mentioned in the Times article all fall under the purview of special collections. As always, a tip of the hat to you, good sir, and thank you.

Written by nicolibrarian

March 18, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Profiles in Awesome – Lynn Yarmey

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Lynn Yarmey is a fellow distance-learning (or LEEP) student in the University of Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS). I first met Lynn last summer and was interested in the similar paths we seemed to be taking in school, despite the differences in her science-oriented background and my humanities-oriented background. In the email interview below, Lynn talks about why she’s pursuing an education in LIS, challenges in the larger social understanding of information issues, and how she stays on top of developments in her field.

Lynn Yarmey, LIS student

Nicole Forsythe:  Tell me about your background, and your current work (as in, job).

Lynn Yarmey: Many years ago (maybe 9th grade? 10th?), a friend and I did a History Day project on the Anasazi.  We learned about how the culture and life of the people were so intimately tied to the geography of the area. At the time I was taking physics class that I really enjoyed.  I didn’t know exactly what it meant, but I smashed geography and physics together and decided I wanted to be a ‘geophysicist’. It was terribly difficult, but I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Geophysics from Boston College in 2000.

After a stop at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, I was hired in 2001 by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (part of UC San Diego) in the Programmer/Analyst track to process and analyze ocean current data from a particular instrument (my senior ‘thesis’ at BC looked at that same instrument).  Five years ago, the funding for that project ended and I ended up as a programmer-for-hire. I was lucky enough that at the same time, there was a new data management initiative starting up in my department. Now I split my time between the data management side and programming and analysis work for other scientists who have funding and work.

NF:  What made you want to go to library school and what do you hope to do with an MLIS?

LY: I had been putting off grad school until this year because I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I couldn’t stomach learning any more programming but the thought of getting an oceanography degree wasn’t that much more appealing.  I am much more a jack-of-all-trades type, a little good at a lot of things, and I like people, which didn’t necessarily fit directly with my CS or PhD options. My job is great, though there is only funding for me to do what I love to do half-time and many of the other positions I was seeing listed an MLIS as a requirement.

I would love to work with scientific data and metadata full time in a sustainable career path, and libraries seemed like a place that have the career path and organizational placement figured out.  While I tend to agree with critics who point out that libraries are not ambitious enough in terms of staking claim to the realm of data curation, I think that libraries have at least accurately articulated the problems and worked to define the realm. I hope the rest of academia comes around!

I am hoping to be one of those (seemingly rare?) people who have a foot in the theory world and the other solidly in the practical work – a “pracademic,” as you called it. I would love to be able to do information work and write about it, to blend science, technology and social elements. I want to be able to explore the complexities on the ground and also be able to understand those actions enough to put them all back together again.  Information work brings everything together: how we learn, how we record what we know and how that gets translated to other people across time.   It means mediating across hugely diverse fields like psychology, business, communication, education, political science, computer science, and for me, environmental science.

In my own little ideal situation, working with information means I get to bring people together, help them talk to each other, and move from the big-picture goals to the nitty-gritty details as a partner, and then step back and think about what elements of that experience can be made generic, or can help other people do the same thing.  I seek to think across time, people and subject. I want to be an insider and an outsider at the same time, balancing the reality and the ideal, the theory and the practice, and all of the different tensions, demands, possibilities and limitations. For me, information work is like mental gymnastics and sounds amazingly fun.

NF: What do you see as a big issue in the world relating to LIS – challenges for the field itself, info challenges for the rest of the world, or challenges for individuals?

LY: I don’t think I know what the Grand Challenge issues in LIS are.   From my very limited perspective, I can see a lot of smaller issues:

  • For individuals, as far as I call tell, there is no identifiable career track in information work, even though almost every organization, business, non-profit and individual deals with similar issues at various points. Education still seems to be on a specialization track while LIS works more across domains. Information issues are being identified, but are still being dealt with by traditional organizational structures and existing expertise rather than brought together with new expertise.
  • For the field of LIS itself, I think we are playing out one aspect of globalization but again with existing paradigms. There is an amazing amount of complexity in bridging local knowledge to global standards and practices and I think it is possible that the relevant perspectives are not all at the table just yet.

Generally, I think that in many ways we need a mental and cultural shift to appropriately address information problems and to really get ourselves to the web 3.0 leaping point where ‘seamless’ integration is the norm.  I have been told that these things just take time.

NF: What might “information leadership” mean to you?

To me, information leadership would involve getting the right people together to talk about what we value and how ownership overlaps with that value (if at all). We need to talk about what knowledge is and how we want to represent it digitally, what an information society looks like and what should be public vs. corporate. Discussions need to be had about what information should be regulated and by whom, where the balance should be between privacy and openness, or what topics individuals should consider in these discussions. I think even creating a plan to get us from our current position to the point where we as a society can start to begin to address such questions and formulate others would be a part of “information leadership” right now. In many ways, technology (and technologists) is starting to answer these questions for us and I am not sure that is the best thing, though we don’t yet have a proactive, thoughtful, fair and inclusive alternative. Decisions need to be made at the social level, though the rate of technical advance seems to be forcing early decisions.

NF: Is there anything else you’d like to say?

LY: I’m always interested in the ways that other information professionals are keeping up on LIS issues. For me, I like picking out information articles in popular reading (I love SEED magazine, but also Wired or Newsweek, the local news outlets, etc) to keep a better grip on the big picture.  I love Dorothea Salo’s blog, I try to keep up with the Digital Curation Centre research, and follow a few of the oceanography communities of practice that seem to be emerging (QARTOD and MMI).  The Long Term Ecological Research information management community is also great.


Are you interested in being profiled in “Profiles in Awesome” or know someone you’d like to see here? Have a good idea for a question to ask? Email me at nicolibrarian{at} gmail {dot}com.

Written by nicolibrarian

January 17, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Interesting – Geospatial Data Policy

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Just a quick note – read this tonight, and found it interesting – CUGIR is the Cornell University Geospatial Information Repository:

“The CUGIR work group recently implemented a data management and distribution policy. A primary motivation in developing the policy was to communicate our data management and distribution practices to our data providers… A secondary purpose in creating the policy was to formalize a security review process that was initiated following a request to disable the entire repository some time after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.” (p. 276)

I can’t help but wonder who asked, and how long after 9/11? Seems like a rational response on behalf of CUGIR to draft such a policy in order to find the balance between civil liberties/access to information/intellectual freedom/and “safety.”


Steinhart, Gail. (2006). Libraries as distributors of geospatial data: Data management policies as tools for managing partnerships. Library Trends, 55(2), 264-284.

Written by nicolibrarian

October 8, 2009 at 10:31 pm