Impressions from CNI

As the LITA Representative to the Coalition for Networked Informationn
(CNI), I had the privilege of attending the Fall 2005 (Dec. 5-6) and Spring
2006 (April 3-4) CNI meetings. CNI meetings are always professionally
invigorating. Cutting edge work is being reported on. As its name suggests,
networking is key to the success of these meetings and CNI in general. CNI
is a joint initiative of the Association of Research Libraries and EDUCAUSE
and has about 200 member institutions from higher education, publishing,
networking and telecommunications, information technology, government
agencies, foundations, museums, libraries, and library organizations. I will
not attempt in this report to summarize the presentations as they can all be
found on the CNI site. In fact, it would be impossible for me as one person
to adequately cover this meeting as there are 7-8 reporting sessions offered
in each time slot except for the keynote speakers at the beginning and end
of the conference. Instead, I would like to convey to you my overall
impressions of what is being reported and the exciting work that is going

CNI promotes the use of networked information technology to advance research
and education. I was particularly impressed at these meetings in how
proactive library leaders have been in weaving their libraries into the
institutional fabric. Research libraries are taking leading roles in the
development and implementation of institutional repositories, digital
libraries, preservation of digital objects, and development of library
spaces that optimize collaborative learning and knowledge creation. New
models of library organizational structures are cropping up to accommodate
the partnerships in learning and research. These new models show promise of
attracting a new generation of librarian who takes our traditional skills to
the next level in the processes associated with the creation, acquisition,
preservation, organization, and access to knowledge resources. We will not
attain these key positions in our institutions without rethinking what the
priorities should be and how we work. The use of anthropologists and
sociologists to research what our library users want to do is informing our
strategic direction in far more targeted ways than ever before. These are
truly exciting times.