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D-Lib Magazine

September/October 2015
Volume 21, Number 9/10



Year Twenty-One

Laurence Lannom
Corporation for National Research Initiatives

DOI: 10.1045/september2015-editorial


Our previous issue celebrated twenty years of D-Lib Magazine and so with this issue we start the twenty-first year and, I am happy to say, start it in quite an interesting fashion, combining topics that would have been unlikely subjects for D-Lib articles twenty years ago with updates on more traditional topics. Our lead article, by Buddenbohm et al., tackles a very timely topic — the success criteria for virtual research environments (VREs). The connection of successful science to information management continues to grow in importance. Research library technology and practice has long been driven by the needs and practice of science, primarily in the area of traditional journal publishing, but now that connection is being supercharged by the emergence of e-science, aka cyberinfrastructure, which is moving both science and the library community deeper into the digital realm, where they will need to work more closely together than in the past. VREs are essential to the modern research environment and this article, based largely on expert interviews, proposes a life cycle model for VREs, from preliminary studies all the way to potential liquidation and replacement, and includes a set of success criteria to guide VRE development and sustainment.

This is followed by Casad et al. of the Cornell University Library on a very different topic, although equally as unlikely to have appeared in our 1995 premier issue — the preservation of complex new media objects. This is a fascinating issue. The subject is creative works whose nature is frequently interactive and the question is how to "capture the experience — or a modest proxy of it — so that future generations will get a glimpse of how early digital artworks were created, experienced, and interpreted." The article reports on the initial results of an NEH-funded project to develop a framework for preserving access to complex new media objects. Our third article, by Rosenthal et al. at Stanford University Libraries, is an important update on the well-known LOCKSS project for peer-to-peer digital preservation. The article is interesting on two counts. First, it describes a set of significant updates to LOCKSS in the areas of ingest, preservation, and dissemination. Of perhaps equal interest, however, is the funding model described. LOCKSS uses the 'Red Hat' model which combines free open source software with paid support and on that basis has been largely self-supporting from 2007 to 2012, following the initial development funding from NSF and the Mellon Foundation. This was sufficient for the frequent and relatively modest updates made during that time, but longer term development called for additional external funding, which was again provided by Mellon.

Our fourth article, by Parilla and Blase at the Smithsonian, reports on the Field Book Project. The goal is to increase access to natural history fieldbooks. The project started in 2010 with an initial goal of finding, cataloging, and preserving the, at that time unknown, set of these original source materials across the institution. Thousands of these important items have now been cataloged and digitization has started and the project is now looking at making the connections between the field notes, related physical specimens, and published literature. An earlier D-Lib article, "Descriptive Metadata for Field Books: Methods and Practices of the Field Book Project" provided details on the cataloging structure. Article number five, by Stein and Thompson, describes the results of a survey on the current trends of institutional migration from one set of digital asset management systems (DAMS) to another. The trends are clear — digital libraries are increasingly moving in the direction of open source systems and to increase local control of those systems and the article examines them in detail. Our sixth article, by Wu at Roger Williams University, looks at the future of institutional repositories (IRs) at small academic institutions. She reports on the experience of her own institution which, like many small universities and colleges, is focused more on teaching than on research and so faces challenges somewhat different from those institutions who can connect their IR with research output. Connecting IRs with undergraduate education, useful in all cases, thus becomes even more important at small institutions.

We conclude the article section of this issue with Carol Minton Morris reporting on the 2015 VIVO conference. And so begins year twenty-one. The editorial staff once again thanks our authors and we hope that you the reader will find some or all of this issue to be of interest and use.


About the Editor

Photo of Laurence Lannom Laurence Lannom is Director of Information Services and Vice President at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), where he works with organizations in both the public and private sectors to develop experimental and pilot applications of advanced networking and information management technologies.
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