‘Opening Digital Doors’: Interview with JISC conference sponsor OCLC
Openness, community engagement and ‘furthering access to the world’s information’ are issues of paramount concern to the library community and OCLC, the non-profit organisation that is sponsoring JISC’s annual conference for the second consecutive year.
In this podcast interview, OCLC's Vice President of WorldCat and Metadata Services Karen Calhoun describes the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of contemporary research, and the role she believes OCLC and JISC have to play in promoting its development.
Calhoun says: ‘One thing that I have observed is that primary sources, online research data stores and ‘born digital content’ - completely new kinds of digital assets - are increasingly important to researchers, [who] dwell in an environment that is increasingly interdisciplinary.’
A key challenge articulated by Calhoun is the lack of regional and national infrastructure to support this evolving working environment. Calhoun says: ‘Libraries have the opportunity now…to support new forms of scholarly information dissemination through the open access movement, through repositories, and in a number of ways but this means of course adopting technologies and approaches that require the interfaces between the scholarly community and libraries to be much tighter and more interactive.’
In tune with the findings of the recent JISC-commissioned report on Open Access publishing, Calhoun believes that a cultural shift is needed, away from finding research value merely in the creation and control of data. She says: ‘We need to transition to making the value come from the exchange and the linking of data.’
Library collections are becoming increasingly ‘difficult to get our arms around’, as Calhoun puts it. The notion of using a tangible collection is ‘no longer as relevant as it used to be’, and new types of data need new homes such as online repositories, with which libraries and scholars need to engage. JISC is spearheading the UK’s use of repositories with a £14m programme of investment, and JISC Collections is currently active in the field of developing new business models to provide access to digital data collections on behalf of UK education.
Looking at the bigger picture, and in a sentiment that reflects JISC’s own, Calhoun emphasises the need for community engagement, saying: ‘The trick will be to find the right balance between the things that are best done locally, regionally or nationally and then more globally, on the network, in the cloud. And that’s a decision that needs to be made by the community, collaborating together and figuring this out.’
Listen to the podcast interview with Karen Calhoun here
Learn more about the JISC Annual Conference 'Opening Digital Doors' in Edinburgh, 24 March 2009
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