Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#NDPthree : Expanding Digital Cuttural Heritage Capacities

Emily Reynolds, IMLS - Moderator

The overarching questions in the session were "What has made a difference?" and "Where are the gaps?"

Bergis Jules, University of California, Riverside - Talked about the forum that is getting a diversity of voices at the table to discuss community archives and preserving local cultural heritage. These forums are creating new space for new voices.  The forums help to broaden knowledge.  They also help to envision radically inclusive processes for the field.  What they have learned has not yielded any surprises.  Mostly about funding and labor.

Karen Cariani, WGBH Educational Foundation - Return on investment: Two page submission form which helps in a number of areas including collaboration.  There is more support for collaborations. She noted that some of the tools needed already existed, e.g., open source speech to text tools. Benefiting from the work in NLP (natural language processing) and efforts of linguists. National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) programs are benefiting young professionals and host organizations. Trying to give more knowledge and experience to the next generation of professionals. Local collections have the biggest gaps - they need funding for digitizing and digital preservation. Another gap is that computational researchers are used to biggest funding and they see the IMLS grants as being too small.

Thomas Padilla, UNLV - His project is trying to think through how to make collections computational amenable.  It is a broad area that could have far ranging impact.  Gaps:
  1.  Need programs to help existing professionals to build the knowledge and skills needed in this area. What can be done to encourage local organization success? 
  2. Need to encourage projects that are cross disciplinary and with different orientations?  How can we go for the difficult wins, not just the easy ones?  
  3. More collaborative funding opportunities and opportunities that are international.  Can we have private-public sectors exchange of staff, so we can learn from other private sector colleagues (e.g., Twitter)?
Jefferson Bailey, Internet Archive - (1) Noted the importance of systems interoperability and the need to have funding that seeks pieces that are able to work together.  We need glue rather than spokes. The need to promote data exchange through APIs.  There are industry technologies that could be adopted for the needs of digital cultural heritage.  (2) There has been success in collection development and we need to continue to think locally, as well as collection building in new domains (e.g., Twitter) and fast moving events.Risks:
  1.  Grant funding around big projects with established institutions.  Funders need to take more risks with their funding.  
  2. Need to lower the barrier of entry.  
  3. Shared infrastructure beyond the application layer, e.g, storage.  Could we have a non-profit cloud?
Emily Reynolds - Question about funding models.  Bergis said he has no specific solutions.  What if funding targeted specific opportunities, rather than a general call for applications?  What if funding was available to those who are non-profits? He mentioned a Native American boarding school with tremendous archives, which needs help in preserving their collections. Karen said that when you include smaller institutions in your grant, it takes time to manage the efforts of those smaller institutions.
Comment - Comment about the trust factor needed.  Smaller institutions may not immediately trust.

Question - Large cultural institutions don’t always have the ability or motivation to step up.  Yes, larger institutions should help smaller ones, but they also need to help themselves.  Do they have enough institutional support?  Thomas said he doesn’t know what the solution is that provide larger institutional support.  Need to create and support new positions in emerging areas.
  •  Karen said that they are an organization between a bigger one (Library of Congress) and smaller institutions.  How do larger institutions be more than users of the smaller institutional collections?  
  • Jefferson - Can there be cost sharing?  Can larger institutions provide the capacity and smaller institutions provide the expertise?  
  • Thomas -What does big and small mean?  Some smaller institutions have having an incredible impact.
 Rhiannon Bettivia - Comment - Metadata and data model. There is a cost and need to structuring the data.

Emily - The need to create our own Amazon web services for libraries.  

Bergis - Who legitimizes our history?  Who ensures that history is preserved?  We need to broaden who is part of the conversation and what is preserved.  We need to be radically inclusive.

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