Ever since it was announced that the Digital Library Federation was merging with CLIR, I’ve heard people wondering about the fate of the Forum, which has long been appreciated as one of the signal benefits of the Digital Library Federation. As stated in the press release:
“While we do not believe an independent, governance-based organizational model is still viable, our assessment has underscored the continued value in the [DLF] Forum and the potential for catalyzing our community. Dissolving the Digital Library Federation and re-conceiving the program agenda within CLIR offers considerable promise,” noted the Review Committee.
Thankfully Sayeed Choudhury of Johns Hopkins University, a long-time DLF Forum participant and well-respected in the community, stepped forward to lead the planning of the Fall Forum. Joined by a team of DLF activists (and me, go figure), he is intent on changing the typical Forum into a transformative experience. This coming Forum, to be held November 11-12 in Long Beach, CA, is focused entirely on “Strategies for Innovation”.
Rather than being based on the classic “call for papers”, this time the planning committee is soliciting specific speakers who we believe can best focus on what it takes to be innovative and how we can collectively more forward in these trying times. Therefore the talks themselves will not be the usual “this is my institution, this is what we did, and this is what happened” kind of thing. We’re after experiences, certainly, but focused on what we can take away from them to inform our efforts to be innovative. Currently the speaker line-up includes:
- Brad Maclean, DuraSpace
- John Wilkin, The HathiTrust and the University of Michigan
- Bess Sadler, University of Virginia
- Katherine Kott, Stanford University
- Sayeed Choudhury, Johns Hopkins University
And we are working hard to line up others to flesh out the main perspectives we want to have at the table: libraries, funders, technology, and community.
The first day will be comprised of these stage-setting talks and an evening reception where we can informally discuss what we’ve heard. The second day will be devoted to discussion and participation. Attendees will divide into one of three groups in the morning of the second day: Developers, Project Managers, or Administrators. The focus in each of these groups will be to discuss how to be innovative and what strategies we think would be the most effective to move us all forward. The groups will report back and form the foundation for the culminating session of the Forum, which will be a group work session to identify specific strategies to pursue. As Sayeed said in a recent message to DLF-ANNOUNCE:
With this approach, it is difficult to know precisely what will result from the conversations and reflections, but one desirable outcome would be a set of near-term community source software development needs, along with a clear understanding of the organizational and financial arrangements to meet those needs. Another important outcome would be a road map for subsequent Forums and perhaps even DLF itself.
This Forum will be an opportunity to share your thoughts about what has worked — and what has not — in terms of innovation within libraries and how to make changes in order to support innovation more effectively. It will be your chance to identify the most pressing technical needs that must be addressed if we are to make rapid progress for supporting new forms of learning and research. This Forum will be an assembly for open discussion where you can help shape the future of DLF.
Roy Tennant works on projects related to improving the technological infrastructure of libraries, museums, and archives.