The September 2018 Social Science Research Council report "To Secure Knowledge" cast light on some troubling developments in the world of knowledge production and access: dwindling federal funding, public mistrust in institutions, and widespread skepticism about evidence-based knowledge. In short, "the infrastructure supporting the social sciences is shifting in ways that threaten to undercut research and knowledge production."
To ensure the integrity of social knowledge for future generations SSRC president and member of CRL's Board of Directors Alondra Nelson encourages academic institutions to "think beyond the institutional and disciplinary silos in which we typically operate." CRL's 2019 forum will be a community conversation about how academic and independent research libraries can figure in that effort.
The Global Resources Forum, held in conjunction with CRL's 2019 Council of Voting Members meeting, is a venue for sharing ideas and expertise on the work of academic and independent research libraries, and an opportunity for CRL member institutions to help shape CRL's programs and strategic agenda.
CRL has arranged for special rates at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 East Wacker Drive. Reserve by April 30, 2019.
Log in at https://book.passkey.com/go/CenterResearchLibraries2019 Or call 1-800-233-1234, indicating the Hyatt Regency Chicago, the dates of stay, and the Center Research Libraries 2019 Meeting
Meeting Agenda (May 23 - 24)
Keynote To Secure Knowledge: Social Science Partnerships for the Common Good
Thursday, May 23, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Alondra Nelson, President of the Social Science Research Council, Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, and member of the CRL Board of Directors.
The distinguished author of The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome will discuss the hazards of “the new knowledge landscape” identified in the SSRC study, and roles that U.S. and Canadian research libraries might play in helping "secure social knowledge for future generations."
Session I The Supply Side: The New and Challenging World of Data and Documentation
Thursday, May 23, 2:30-5:00 p.m.
Civil society organizations and governments are playing ever larger roles in the knowledge supply chain, and technology giants like FaceBook and Google are gatekeepers of a growing share of the information critical to research. Session One examines the academy's ability to hold its own in a new and rapidly changing knowledge economy.
The Privatization of Data, Private Data, and Data Privacy
Margaret Levenstein, Director, Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and Research Professor, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research.
Researchers increasingly make use of the digital traces of human interactions with private companies, from commercial transactions to social media postings, in addition to or instead of traditional sources of "designed" data. These data make possible innovative and timely analyses of human behavior. They also raise important challenges that the research and archival communities are just beginning to address. The provenance and access protocols for these data are often obscure. There are usually no mechanisms to version or preserve data, making replication for education and scientific progress difficult. The ethical use of these data, generally gathered for non-research purposes without the explicit consent of the individuals being studied, requires a different approach than that developed for surveys and experiments.
Access to Social Media Data: The SSRC Social Data Initiative
Jason Rhody, SSRC Program Director, Digital Culture.
Social media have emerged as rich sources of data for social science and humanities research. Twitter, FaceBook, Weibo, and other platforms are now indispensable in tracking the spread of opinion, ideologies, and disinformation in the public sphere. Unfortunately access to such data is limited to private companies, due to the proprietary interests of the social media companies - for whom data about users and trends is a valuable asset - and the privacy of social media users themselves. SSRC and Facebook have launched the first systematic effort to explore how these obstacles might be overcome and how, and under what conditions, social media data might be further opened to academic research.
Human Rights "Observatories" and Investigating the Disappeared
Barbara Frey, Director, Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota.
In the field of human rights scholars, jurists, citizens, and civil society itself have a shared stake in access to documentation and data. The Observatory on Disappearances and Impunity in Mexico aims to increase awareness of forced disappearances in Latin America. Frey will describe how Minnesota graduate students and FLACSO-Mexico are using coding and computer-assisted analysis of news and document archives to cast new light on forced disappearances and state-sponsored violence.
Session II The Demand Side: New and Emerging Approaches to Digital Social Science and Humanities Research
Friday, May 24, 9:00 a.m. to noon
Researchers in a wide range of disciplines, from public policy to history, are testing new applications and tools to mine ever larger bodies of text and data. Much of this work is taking place outside, and independent of, the library sphere.
Mining Digital News for Economics and Public Policy
Michelle Alexopoulos, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Toronto.
New tools and capabilities enable social science researchers to mine vast bodies of electronic text and media, to identify and analyze economic trends and phenomena over time. A pioneer in the use of the digital New York Times and other large databases to track business cycles, growth, and economic uncertainty in the last three decades. Alexopoulos will report on the special challenges such research poses for existing university and library infrastructure, and suggest what new capabilities, tools and policies are needed.
Detecting Political and Gender Bias in Digital Video and Audio
Bryce J. Dietrich, Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School and Assistant Professor of Social Science Informatics at the University of Iowa.
Using new quantitative, automated, and machine learning methods to analyze non-traditional primary sources like audio and video can reveal what legal, political, and textual information do not. Dietrich shows how vocal pitch and other non-verbal cues in congressional debates can betray implicit gender and racial bias, and can telegraph the preferences of Justices during oral arguments at the Supreme Court.
The Broadcast Archive as DataSet: Mining the Digital Content of Public Broadcasting
Casey Davis Kaufman, Associate Director, WGBH Media Library and Archives, and Project Manager, American Archive of Public Broadcasting.
The American Archive of Public Broadcasting, a joint project of WGBH Boston and the Library of Congress, is the premier repository of public radio and television news. The digital content in the archive provides a vast body of source material for social science and historical research. Kaufman will discuss its use as a testbed for computer-assisted analysis and interpretation by researchers at Brandeis, Dartmouth, and the University of Colorado Boulder.
Lunch (on one's own) -- Noon to 1:00 p.m.
Session III The Challenges and Opportunities for Libraries
Friday, May 24, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Matthew Sheehy, University Librarian, Brandeis University; Darby Orcutt, Assistant Head, Collections & Research Strategy, North Carolina State University; and [TBD]
Decision-makers and leaders from CRL libraries comment on the presentations in Sessions One and Two, and suggest how libraries can respond to the challenges identified in the SSRC report.
Bernard Reilly, President, Center for Research Libraries
What the presentations, conversations, and panel discussions suggest for CRL’s agenda going forward. How can CRL best support "securing knowledge" for emerging and future generations of social science and humanities researchers?