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Thomas Dowling and I attended the fall meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information December 14-15 in Washington, DC. Wake Forest is a member and the CIO (Mur Muchane) and I are the representatives for the University. Mur was unable to attend, so Thomas went in his place.

CNI meets twice a year and its focus is to promote the use of digital information technology to advance scholarship and education. Given campus interest (and now as of July funding to support a program) about having ZSR develop a digital scholarship space and new services, I primarily attended sessions focused on digital scholarship, Maker’s Spaces, and related programs. Here is a synopsis of the sessions I attended:

Digital Scholarship Centers: Two Models — U. of Iowa and Case Western Reserve were the presenters. Takeways: Important to brand the center broadly even if the focus is a disciplinary area. CSRU repurposed a Media Center into the Digital Scholarship Center. Saw lots of interaction between Humanities, Design, and Engineering students. Iowa, who had to build their space quickly, emphasized flexibility with creating the space as the program will change and evolve.

MakerWeb Consortium — Very relevant presentation from folks at Union College in NY, a small, undergraduate-focused school with a “liberal arts” style engineering major. Like CSWR in the early session, they had lots of collaboration between engineering and liberal arts students. Many engineering students work as lab assistants. Big focus of their program is 3D scanning and printing.

Cooperative Path for Open Access: Talked about the sustainability of the current “pay for open access” model that many publishers have. Encouraged libraries, presses, and faculty to take a more active role in the dissemination of scholarship (i.e., direct those funds to peer-reviewed OA journals, etc.)

Design Labs: Learning & Scholarship: Liked how Michigan is trying to 3D print block prints for its letterpress.

Digital Scholarship Spaces: People are the key to a successful program — the technology and space will not be successful without the people to consult, train, and train.

CNI does a detailed program with abstracts. For more information, see:

While attendance at CNI is limited to member representatives or their designate, you can also attend by being a speaker. The spring meeting will April 4-5 in San Antonio and a call for proposals should go out soon. Also of relevance for us is that CNI and ARL will offering a digital scholarship workshop in the spring (announcement coming in January).

This was my first CNI and based on the content and networking opportunities, I am glad we are a member.