Research IT presents on museum collections, digital humanities at CNI 2016

CNI schedule

Research IT Director David Greenbaum and Digital Humanities Coordinator Quinn Dombrowski represented UC Berkeley among the presentations at the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) winter meeting in Washington, D.C. on December 12-13. This annual event convenes library directors and CIOs from over a hundred universities, with sessions typically focusing on themes including developing and managing networked content; transforming organization, professions, and individuals; and building technology standards and infrastructure.

Greenbaum co-presented with Robert Miller from LYRASIS and Ann Baird Whiteside from Harvard University on “Collaborations to Improve Collections Management and Access with CollectionSpace, an Open Sourced Software Solution”. From their presentation abstract:

The current patchwork of homegrown databases, proprietary systems, spreadsheets, and paper files used to manage object collections at many academic institutions is an inadequate solution to a growing problem. [...] With a single platform, CollectionSpace, an open-source solution for collections information management, allows collections of all sizes and disciplines to benefit from proper management and higher-quality data. The benefits of improved management are myriad; for example, faculty and curators may engage in initiatives that require high quality information, e.g. web-based portals for discovery and sharing, accelerated digitization projects, and object inventories. Webapps and APIs provide a method for integrating object collections information into the broader digital ecosystem of library and archival collections.

Dombrowski presented a forthcoming joint ECAR/CNI white paper on developing institutional capacity around digital humanities support. This white paper, which will be published in 2017, which will address topics including how to get started, organizational models, governance, human and technical infrastructure, and communications. The white paper is being written by an ECAR working group, co-chaired by Dombrowski and CNI Associate Director Joan Lippincott, who also presented at CNI. The audience was particularly interested in how the white paper addressed governance issues, and offered numerous helpful examples of how governance for digital humanities support is handled at a variety of institutions.

There were numerous other interesting presentations at CNI, addressing digitized manuscripts, preserving social media content, establishing IT services responsive to researcher needs. Recordings of many CNI presentations, as well as related materials, are available on the CNI website.

Photo credit: Harlan Wallach