NITLE webinar – Chuck Henry on the Future of the Liberal Arts College Library

While the webinar was titled, “Chuck Henry on the Future of the Liberal Arts Colleges Library,” the talk was focused on the CLIR Committee on Coherence at Scale for Higher Education.

The Committee on Coherence [may I stop right here and propose we start up a Claremont Colleges Committee on Coherence – “C4”] is made up of mostly larger research institutions (there is one liberal arts college in the list) and the talk referenced these larger institutions’ projects and issues. I interpret the intention of the webinar was to reach out to smaller liberal arts colleges to bring them into the fold to look at these issues and begin acting on them.

Issues such as:

Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives. Our Special Collections is well aware of this and has been making inroads.

Data Curation. Our library administration is aware of this need and while we do not have the infrastructure to support the colleges data just yet, we are looking to provide resources and education opportunities.

Henry discussed the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and Global Digital Library Collaborative as examples of coherence.

Henry spoke about CLIR’s Mellon grant for designing a professional cohort for data curation in medieval studies. What? There is medieval data? No, data produced out of medieval studies scholars and programs is in need of curation.

Examples of data producers and use:
Michigan State University GLQC – images of quilts that are mined for patterns, colors, composition.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne Mapping the Great Lakes – 17th and 18th C maps of the Great Lakes, comparing British and French cartography over a span of time for change and consistency.

University of Suffolk – mining 14th century French manuscripts to determine what imagery has lasted, what gestures were used, what scripts survived.

In terms of digital preservation, HATHI Trust was mentioned, as was the Digital Preservation Network (DPN). DPN is used as a secure network for all digital objects in the DPLA.

Other buzzwords and phrases that liberal arts colleges should learn about are:
Linked Open Data.
Semantic Web.
Data Curation as a up and coming profession.
[hint: the library wants one]
New publishing models: be the new publishing model, be a catalyst not a press, support new forms of scholarship. example: ANVIL Henry gave Middlebury and Amherst as examples.

The Coherence Committee recommends Areas of Responsibility:
Research (technical specs, platform)
Modeling (integration of programs)
Benefits of transformative aspects

While we like to talk about the effects of digital based pedagogy, data curation, etc. on the collective and cultural legacy, Henry states we should speak to what the provosts want to know – how much are we going to save. Henry believes the savings could be in the billions of dollars annually. He also believes that the tradition of funding and competing institutions is something to re-imagine.

In the Q & A, it was posited that working with faculty at the curriculum level is key to success and Henry agreed that there needed to be an invigorated focus on pedagogy. Digitally based pedagogy needed to be supported and promoted. Here, here.

Notes by Allegra Swift Gonzalez | Digital Initiatives Librarian | Claremont Colleges Library

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