Putting All The Pieces Together – Cyberinfrastructure

Tim Daniels and Doug Goans from Georgia State University presented this talk.

I had never heard the term ‘cyberinfrastructure’ before this presentation, and am still not sure I entirely grasp the basics. But here’s what I picked up:

Cyberinfrastructure is really a mindset or an overall vision at an institution. It takes a more global view of collaboration – if we collaborate well with each other already, why not take it further?

An example of this mindset in action might be collaborating statewide on agreed metadata, or consortium catalogs. I felt like a lot of this session tied back into yesterday’s Death of the OPAC topic. It also fits well with the basic idea of economies of scale.

But first, cyberinfrastructure has to be set up within your own campus. According to a rough survey taken by the presenters only 43% of libraries have a defined technology plan, and that has to change.

Internal library IT workers should get out among the broader campus IT community more, and take advantage of those resources. Of course, there will be issues between the two levels such as funding priorities. But it can be overcome. Security is another issue, especially given recent breaches that get a lot of press.

Once a larger pool of IT resources is developed to draw from, take advantage of it! Add new services like virtual reference, multimedia tutorials, e-reserves, etc. These tools can often be transparent to faculty. Be sure to point out resources to them that might traditionally fall outside of their subject areas.

Perhaps most importantly, a concrete spelling out of the scope of a cyberinfrastructure helps leave things more open and accessible down the road.

The concept of cyberinfrastructure is still evolving – the presenters mentioned that it was a relatively new idea to them as well.

Presentation materials are online here.

One thought on “Putting All The Pieces Together – Cyberinfrastructure

  1. As an aside, the ALA OITP held a workshop looking at cyberinfrastructure and strategic implications of Governement Policy on it a few years ago. I looked for a link to the backgrounder, but don’t find it.
    Here’s the Wikipedia definition though I’m not sure this is what the presentation was about (I was in a different session)

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