Six representatives from the University of Cincinnati Libraries and IT@UC participated in the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) annual membership meeting in Seattle, Washington on April 13-14, 2015. This is the largest UC contingent, and first to include multiple units presenting together, ever sent to this nationwide gathering of institutions working in “digital information technology for the advancement of scholarly communication and the enrichment of intellectual productivity.”
The UC participants in the annual meeting were Nelson Vincent, vice president of information technology and CIO; Linda Newman, head of digital collections and repositories for UC Libraries; Ted Baldwin, director of the science and engineering libraries; Josette Riep, associate director of information technology, and Nathan Tallman, digital content strategist for UC Libraries. Steve Marine, retired associate dean of digital initiatives, special collections, preservation and grants, also attended the meetings as a UC representative.
“Year after year, the CNI conference delivers an invaluable opportunity to collaborate with those from across the country who share a passion to advance education and scholarship through information technology partnerships,” said Vincent. “This collaboration plays a key role in our work to support the academic and research mission of UC.”
Representatives from the Libraries and IT@UC presented “Transforming Organizations through New Partnerships, Collaboration and Agile Development.” They discussed the development of a suite of programs for researchers and scholars to utilize throughout the research life cycle, including the Research Directory, an expertise and facilities discovery tool, and Scholar@UC, an enterprise-wide digital repository now in BETA. The group discussed the collaboration among UC Libraries, IT@UC and the UC Office of Research that enabled the development of these programs for researchers and scholars. Additionally, the presenters discussed how agile software development projects and broad system integration have enabled the partners to develop nimble, user-driven processes and a strong-sense of risk taking to deploy new enterprise-wide systems in an environment of lean staff and resources.
“Showcasing our partnership and some of its results at CNI was both exciting and an honor. Audience members urged the team to publish our story,” said Steve Marine. “Today’s results are just the beginning. Working together and with scholars we will add new programs and eventually integrate the entire ecosystem of research support programs and tools.”
In addition to the presentation on UC’s recent research collaboration, Linda Newman and Nathan Tallman served on a panel representing an academic consortium of prominent U.S. universities collectively building a preservation repository. “The Academic Preservation Trust (APTrust): Report on First Months of Production,” outlined how the cloud-based digital repository works to preserve bit-level data and how the University of Cincinnati became the first consortium member to contribute content. The project update communicated that APTrust is in production and that the system architecture is flexible enough to allow multiple methods of adding digital content.
A third presentation at the meeting highlighted a project involving Xuemao Wang, dean and university librarian. “Building Expertise to Support Digital Scholarship: A Global Perspective,” was a progress report on an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project for which he serves as the principal investigator working alongside co-investigators Vivian Lewis of McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) and Jon Cawthorne of West Virginia University to define and describe the key skills and competencies required to support a robust digital scholarship program.
“The collaboration between UC Libraries and IT@UC on Scholar@UC and other important initiatives is one example of how both organizations are implementing new tools and services that re-imagine and transform the way students, faculty, researchers and scholars interact with and use the libraries and technology in new and creative ways,” said Xuemao Wang. “Our participation in CNI has raised UC’s national visibility and profile, which will allow us to collaborate with front runners in the field and to make an impact on the community while we recruit future talent to the university.”
CNI is a coalition of some 220 institutions representing higher education, publishing, information technology, scholarly and professional organizations, foundations, libraries and library organizations. The group is dedicated to supporting the transformative promise of digital information technology.