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, according to the report, "the infrastructure supporting the social sciences is shifting in ways that threaten to undercut research and knowledge production."
The report suggests how academic institutions can "secure social knowledge for future generations." This will require us, says SSRC president and member of CRL's Board of Directors Alondra Nelson, 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 this effort.
The Global Resources Forum, to be held following 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.
Downtown Chicago: University of Chicago Gleacher Center 450 North Cityfront Plaza Drive
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
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Keynote To Secure Knowledge: Social Science Partnerships for the Common Good
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 recent SSRC study, and the role U.S. and Canadian research libraries might play in helping "secure social knowledge for future generations."
Session One The Supply Side: The New and Challenging World of Data and Documentation
As the demand for news and geospatial, financial, and population data grows, corporate and government actors are playing larger roles in the knowledge supply chain. Aggregators and data providers like LexisNexis and Bloomberg, and technology giants like FaceBook and Google, are the gatekeepers of a growing share of the information critical to research. And data journalism is generating news content that is more voluminous and more complex than anything we saw in the age of the newspaper. Session One will explore the implications of these phenomena, and 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. The Social Science Research Council 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.
Monetizing Public Collections at the National Level Bernard Reilly, President, Center for Research Libraries.
In the quest to promote access to their historical collections national libraries and archives are adopting a variety of strategies for generating income and subsidizing digitization. The UK National Archives, Library and Archives Canada, and Bibliothèque nationale de France exemplify a range of approaches, with varying implications for the public good.
Friday, May 24, 2019
Session Two The Demand Side: New and Emerging Approaches to Digital Social Science and Humanities Research
9:00 a.m. to noon
Researchers in a wide range of disciplines, from public policy to history, are pioneering the use of new applications and tools to aggregate and mine ever larger bodies of available text and data. Many of these endeavors are taking place outside, and independent of, the library sphere. Session Two will explore the special challenges - and opportunities - the new practices present for libraries.
Human Rights "Observatories" and Researching the Disappeared Barbara Frey, Director, Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota.
The Observatory on Disappearances and Impunity in Mexico aims to increase awareness of forced disappearances in Latin America, through pattern analysis and objective data that fills gaps in existing information.
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. Distinguished economist Michelle Alexopoulos has pioneered use of the digital New York Times and other large databases in her own research to track business cycles, growth, and changes in the level of economic uncertainty in the last three decades. She 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.
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. Casey Davis 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 Three The Challenges and Opportunities for Libraries
Panel discussion on the role of libraries in "securing knowledge" for emerging and future generations of social science and humanities researchers.