I blogged about the Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration a while ago, but have not yet summarized presentations from CNI. Here are some notes from presentations I found interesting. (Links will take you to abstract on the CNI site, and hopefully will also get you to PowerPoint and other information.)
I have read about the XC project, but not extensively and not for a while, so I found this a good and timely overview. The XC aims to connect users to content. It does not aim to be an ILS replacement, but rather a discovery layer than can work with an ILS, but also bring in material not managed by the ILS. The project has some interesting components, such as a metadata services toolkit, which will aggregate and normalize metadata. Once normalized, you can feed metadata back into your ILS, or other systems. (I’ve referred to this before as drycleaning your data, and I think even in a local setting, it’s a nifty concept). There is also a learning management services toolkit, which helps to associate library content with library resources. The project is looking at getting licensed content into the mix, so the metadata from those resources can be indexed as well. Project partners are working to get the XC hooked up with various ILS systems (I imagine this will be no small task!).
University of Rochester has come to be regarded as a user studies powerhouse, working on a number of projects with anthropologist Nancy Foster. Susan Gibbons quipped, “if we have a problem, we hit it with an anthropologist.”) What I like about Rochester’s approach is that they take questions from previous studies and follow up on them in interesting ways. When trying to find out faculty preferences for using an institutional repository, they found that what faculty really need is an authoring system — something that would help them while they are in the midst of doing their work, not after they are done. Knowing that they would be unlikely to engage faculty around further needs assessment in developing such an authoring system, Rochester decided to work with grad students. Findings are quite interesting. Scholarly work is increasingly collaborative — the “loan scholar” model exists only in the humanities. Therefore, an authoring system needs to accommodate numerous collaborations (co-authors, reviewers) but also needs to work across organizational boundaries (to allow access for a faculty advisor who is no longer with the institution, but needs to get access to the work in order to review it). Another interesting finding is that grad students would like to be able to find other work that their faculty advisor endorsed — now Rochester includes the faculty advisor’s name in catalog records for theses and dissertations so this information is easy to find. There was a presentation of the authoring system, called IR+, which will be available for download as OpenSource.
A report from the study is now available.
If you are interested in how faculty and students can use copyrighted works in their own work, look to fair use, says Peter Jaszi (American University). The Center for Social Media has now come forth with a number of “code for best practice in fair use” guidelines for dealing with a variety of materials. Guidelines have been developed by various use communities. Good stuff.
Syracuse is employing a Rochester-style ethnographic approach as a change-agent in listening to users and re-imagining the library. Interesting differences between values of librarians, students, and faculty. In the PowerPoint, these were illustrated by numerous graphs — hopefully the PowerPoint or a report will be made available to share results.
Merrilee Proffitt is Senior Manager. She provides community development skills and expert support to institutions within the OCLC Research Library Partnership.