Session called: “CI Track Panel: Cyberinfrastructure as Computation vs. Support for Meaningful Interaction” Panel.
Mostly a talk about NSF Cyberinfrastructure Initiative. Not just tech issues. Human and social themes. Tech is not the problem. IP spoken of as copyright is — again. Funding etc.
Reagan Moore first. From SDSC. Overview of NSF presentation on cyberinfrastructure. TeraGrid noted. Diskspace dedicated at SDSC for “good projects in supercomputer areas” Very much a talk Dan Reed would love and could give. Most of this on the SDSC site where cyberinfrastructure is a front page feature.
Steve Wheatley of American Council of Learned Societies. About Humanities and Social Sciences. Here is their page. How small the funding is for Humanities as opposed to Science is addressed and to make sure that Humanites and SS are included in the funding. Are they really only trying to put their fingers in the NSF money pot? No No No Of course not ;-> This talk mostly borrowed from one by John Unsworth of UIUC and from the ACLS site linked to above and here. Stories about Humanities successes such as cuneiform compilations at Stanford. Humanities will help us know about the evolving cybercultures. Copyright and privacy are the two biggest problems. Privacy biggest for social science says he.
Cliff Lynch next. See his talk at UNC Symposium on ibiblio. No slides of course. This is Cliff afterall. He will be brief (hee hee we know better). He will offend us all eventually says he.
Nature of Cyberinfrastructure. What an odd word. In Europe, they use eWhatever as in eScience or eGov. That lets us focus on changes of practices of scholarship instead of changes of tools.
Questions of knowledge representation for example. Draft report from National Science Board about the management of long-lived data collections. And about digital curation centre in the UK [alert Helen Tibbo]. What are the disciplinary norm for sharing need to be paid attention to. Platforms for collaboration. How does the corpus of literature fit in? How to handle and mine this.
Two or three other things in conclusion. Funding strategies are not so new. Consider the history of the role of funding in the development of high performance networks for example. We cannot be nationally bound or disciplinarily bound. Especially Humanities for international cooperation and peer relationships. Break disciplinary silos [or siloes]. Funding agencies need to be open and not worry so much about which agency owns what parts, but they should collaborate even more broadly. Include arts, libraries etc. Don’t look from large gifts from on high, but plan to contribute [as we have in the past]. CI must be a multiway partnership.
Questions from audience:
Asks Steve about Privacy as an issue. News to her. Huge gov databases including census and health don’t allow some innovative access to their data.
Cliff steps in to talk about the dark side of CI. He says that Henry Brady on UC-Berkeley is the best on this problem. Medicine understands this, but social science has problems here. IRBs are also a big problem as they interfere with say oral histories. He cites this as a problem of privacy over-reach.
Greg Crane of Tufts. Begins rant about NSF funded research not funding any humanities or acknowledge previously funded humanities projects. Why should NSF or anyone fund this? Wikipedia has the biggest impact on general public without our [our being scholars] participation.
Reagan first. No examples in the slides, but yes humanities scholars do use supercomputers. He wavers to explain them tho. How do we reach the public? National Virtual Observatory is one he likes.
Steve now. Perhaps he was too subtle or too ironic in his talk. He nods to Cliff’s representation of knowledge. He sees CI as a way to open the discussions. He agrees that Humanities scholars don’t reach out to the public in production or in research.
Back to the panel. Some stuff not covered here. Cliff talks about DLI2 and about the need for more policy clarity from the federal agencies and about the ambivilence of NSF toward the humanities.
Cliff now gives props to text searching as not so bad, but worries about our ability to support image use across the broad world of scholarly communities.
Person from Bath asks about the silos of vocabulary that separate the disciplines and about standardizing datastructures with crosswalks. Reagan says that they are on it and mentions the multivalent browser for text parsing.
What about the cultural norms for sharing and for preservation within each discipline. People have to release their intellectual property [says Liz the moderator]
Steve: progress in the humanities moves forward funeral by funeral [he says he quotes someone he will not name]. Presses are understrain and must move to new technologies and social practice must also change. Learned Societies are acknowledging the need for collaboration.
Cliff: progess in datasharing are improving. Science does active collaboration and how multi-authored papers are now the norm. But humanities cannot cope well with that. back to datasharing. Reproducability of scientific work demands datasharing. Dead Sea Scrolls noted as bad humanities practice.
Cathy Blake [from UNC] talks about her work and how can tools get to agreements and disagreements and bring them to the fore via text mining (say).
Steve talks about the slowness of the cycle of discussion in the print culture. We are getting better he says.
Cliff says that in Health Sciences does this with analysis of clinical studies. Humanities are harder to do for various reasons.
Reagan says turn the question inside out. Publishing data is often required in science. what is the similar publication in humanities? sources? etc? he doesn’t see that in the same way.
Cyberspace is here, says guy from Norway whose name I didn’t catch. Rant about how it is here like it or not and detailed. Rant in a nice Norway way. How many funerals does it take for things to change? [humourously asked] but seriously what is the funeral rate necessary for progress?
Steve sees a tipping point at this very moment. We need to provide the infrastructure so that scholars don’t have to build a printing press before they publish. Infrastructure should be open so that any field can use it. That said the work may change the entire intellectual and scholarly landscape.
Cliff threatens to be controversal. Two different folks Active rejectors. Time will fix that. But there are also folks who don’t want to use the new stuff and why should they as long as they don’t block others. Now on younger scholars. Just because folks grew up with technology doesn’t mean that they know how to use it. So folks born after photoshop don’t necesssarily know how to use photoshop but need to be taught image manipulation say. So curiculum reform is needed.
Reagan says different research questions will be asked now that were not asked in the past. Since large scale analysis will be the future, collaboration will be necessary.