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That Cutting Edge: Technology’s Impact on Scholarly Research Processes in the Library

Virtual Conference

About This Virtual Conference

Recent years have introduced a variety of new technologies into the mainstream, such as artificial intelligence, data science, and virtual and augmented reality. As the research community increasingly uses these tools and techniques to generate findings, what are the needs of the library in supporting the research activity as well as the resulting output? This virtual conference will explore technologies supported by the modern research library and the impact on both workflow and workforce.

The first block of the day will consist of discussions of the administrative view of new technologies impacting on the library with the rest of the day given over to case studies.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Jeremy Frumkin, Executive Director, Research Technologies, University of Arizona,  
  • Alicia Peaker, Director of Digital Scholarship, Critical Making, & Digital Collections Management, College of Bryn Mawr; 
  • Darby Orcutt, Assistant Head, Collections & Research Strategy, North Carolina State University
  • Susan Ivey, Research Data & Infrastructure Librarian, North Carolina State University; 
  • Demian Katz, Director of Library Technology, Villanova University
  • Mita Williams, Scholarly Communications Librarian, University of Windsor;
  • Jack Maness, Associate Dean for Scholarly Communication and Collections Services, University of Denver.
  • Patrica F. AndersonEmerging Technologies Informationist, Taubman Health Sciences Library, University of Michigan
  • Rick Johnson, Head, Data Curation and Digital Library Solutions, The University of Notre Dame

Event Sessions

11:00am – 11:10a.m. Introduction


11:10 - 11:45 a.m. How to Cut Without Bleeding – Supporting Research in Higher Ed in an Age of Technological Innovation


Jeremy Frumkin

Executive Director, Research Technologies
University of Arizona

Supporting researchers at an academic institution, especially a research 1 university, is an ever increasingly complex enterprise. Research support is generally spread across various units, including central computing, offices of research, and libraries (in addition to support provided directly by colleges and departments). Increasing requirements related to research data (both in terms of being more open and in terms of data requiring security and privacy controls), along with continuous challenges in support research reproducibility, make institutional infrastructure, services, and expertise is enormously critical and necessary. 

This talk will look at the challenges research-focused higher ed institutions face in supporting their faculty’s research endeavors, with a particular focus on new and emerging challenges in supporting data science and data-informed research. 

11:45 am - 12:15 p.m. A Trusted Citizen: Libraries in a Shifting IT Environment


Jack Maness

Associate Dean for Scholarly Communication and Collections Services
University of Denver

As fast as technology evolves, expectations for technical support seem to keep pace, even exceed what is possible. This is true for students as much as it is for faculty and researchers, and for libraries as much as it is for campus information technology divisions. Supporting research projects with technology, either through infrastructure or consultation regarding it (or both), often puts libraries and their administrations in the position where they must manage what might be considered a form of technical debt—one that requires balancing immediate with ongoing expectations. Staffing levels, skill sets, and collaborative efforts are all key considerations. This talk shares an overall strategy and provides examples of how the University of Denver Libraries seek to position itself as a trusted partner in campus priorities regarding technology.


12:15 - 12:45 p.m. New Needs, New Approaches: Libraries as Technology Collaborators


Darby Orcutt

Assistant Head, Collections & Research Strategy
North Carolina State University

Susan Ivey

Research Data & Infrastructure Librarian
North Carolina State University

New technologies both provide and demand increasingly connected and collaborative approaches to research support. In strategizing these potential roles and campus partnerships, libraries should recognize that:

  • new technologies should empower research support, not drive it.
  • our traditional library values trump traditional services.
  • innovation requires experimentation.
  • people and culture are always the most challenging.
  • anticipating farther futures never happens enough.

As one way to support research data storage and preservation mandates from funding organizations and publishers, NCSU’s Office of Information Technology and Office of Research, Innovation and Economic Development created a new research data storage service, which provides every funded project for NCSU affiliates with 1TB of storage during the grant and for 10 years after the active grant period. Within the Libraries, a position was created to collaborate with OIT on the development and outreach of the service, and to communicate ongoing data needs to library and OIT stakeholders in order to direct the growth of this and other potential services. This talk will discuss the vision for the new Research Data & Infrastructure Librarian role, existing plans for collaborative outreach and development of the new research data storage service, and potential challenges and opportunities for this new initiative.

12:45 - 1:45 p.m. Lunch Break

1:45 - 2:15 p.m. Fostering Digital Scholarship at Bryn Mawr College


Alicia Peaker

Director of Digital Scholarship, Critical Making, and Digital Collections Management
College of Bryn Mawr

Using Bryn Mawr College’s Digital Scholarship Program as a case study, in this session I will discuss our foundational approaches to growing and sustaining digital scholarship activities within our merged library/IT organization. I will focus both on general strategies and on concrete, local instantiations of these strategies including our Digital Scholarship Summer Fellowship program for undergraduates, Domain of One's Own Initiative, and our Digital Bryn Mawr seed grant program for faculty, staff, and graduate students. I will close by looking to future enhancements of the Digital Scholarship Program enabled by a new organizational configuration conceived to better support the life cycle of digital projects. 

2:15 - 2:45 p.m. Rediscovering Serendipity in the Age of Electronic Resources


Demian Katz

Director of Library Technology
Villanova University

The rise of electronic resources has dramatically changed the shape of library collections. It is no longer possible to judge the scope or quality of a library collection by browsing the stacks, because many resources now exist "on the cloud." As physical collections become less central to the library experience, spaces are being used in different ways. In this changing environment, how can a scholar explore a collection and make serendipitous discoveries? While many attempts have been made at a "virtual shelf browse," scrolling through virtual spines is very different from browsing physical shelves. This presentation will discuss how Villanova University's Falvey Memorial Library approached this problem by adding new features in the open source VuFind discovery layer, with the goal of creating a user experience that serves the same purpose as stack browsing while presenting an interface that feels natural in the digital environment. Current progress, technical architecture and future plans will be discussed.

2:45 - 3:15 p.m. Open Refine for Librarians: How a power tool for Google is now being used by librarians to clean up data and connect it to the world


Mita Williams

Scholarly Communications Librarian
University of Windsor

Open Refine started as a “data wrangling” tool developed by Google in 2010 but when Google declined to stop supporting the project in 2012, they allowed the software to become supported by the community that had grown around it. At that point, Google Refine became known as Open Refine. The software developers who maintain and extend the powers of Open Refine run regular surveys to learn more about their fellow users and in 2018 they found that their largest community was from libraries – a group that did not even register as its own category in the original 2012 survey.  This presentation will introduce you to Open Refine and some of the use cases that librarians have found to employ Open Refine in the work of data cleanup and reconciliation involved with research data cleanup, scholarly communications, working with MARC records, website scraping, and exciting new connections into Wikidata.

3:15 - 3:30 p.m. Afternoon Break

3:30 - 4:00 p.m. Cutting Edges with Company: Emerging Technologies as a Collective Effort (with Case Study)


Patricia F. Anderson

Emerging Technologies Informationist
Taubman Health Sciences Library, University of Michigan

What does library engagement with emerging technologies look like when the core mission of the entire library is focused on innovation? The informationists and librarians of the Health Sciences - STEM Division Libraries at the University of Michigan have that broad focus on innovation, with the result being a wide and eclectic collection of engagement around emerging technologies and trends. This presentation will provide a smorgasbord of a baker's dozen of projects and services highlighting activities of the division, from the Anatomage to Software Carpentry, closing with a case study on a video game development project. 

4:00 - 4:30 p.m. Research Libraries and Computational Research: Challenges AND Greater Opportunities for Impact


Rick Johnson

Director of Digital Initiatives and Scholarship
University of Notre Dame

With advances in High Performance Computing (HPC), our ability to analyze and produce data has increased exponentially over the last two decades.  However, with these advances it has placed the authority of scientific studies in jeopardy as research environments are difficult to capture, recreate, describe, and confirm.  Equally, research libraries are charged with capturing and sharing this research output as research environments are rapidly changing and being outmoded. Preserving the data is simply not enough.

So, where does that leave Research Libraries?  Within these challenges are hidden opportunities. This has forced libraries to assume a more active and impactful position in research, with active partnership with research computing groups on campus.  I will review the the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Libraries’ past and present experiences to meet these challenges, in close partnership with our Center for Research Computing, as well as the external partnerships we have forged to advance the greater community and the opportunities they present.

4:30 - 5:00 p.m. Roundtable Discussion

Moderated by Todd Carpenter

Additional Information

  • Cancellations made by Wednesday, October 17, 2018 will receive a refund, less a $35 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.

  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the virtual conference via e-mail the Friday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions before the start of the webinar.

  • If you have not received your Login Instruction e-mail by 10 a.m. (ET) on the day before the virtual conference, please contact the NISO office at for immediate assistance.

  • Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the conference. You may have as many people as you like from the registrant's organization view the conference from that one connection. If you need additional connections, you will need to enter a separate registration for each connection needed.

  • If you are registering someone else from your organization, either use that person's e-mail address when registering or contact to provide alternate contact information.

  • Conference presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to this event webpage following the live conference.

  • Registrants will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived conference recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's organization.

For Online Events

  • You will need a computer for the presentation and Q&A.

  • Audio is available through the computer (broadcast) and by telephone. We recommend you have a set-up for telephone audio as back-up even if you plan to use the broadcast audio as the voice over Internet isn't always 100% reliable.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your system is properly set up before each webinar begins.