Presentation given at MathFest, August 8, 2015, Washington, D.C. From the submission abstract: Libraries, archives, and museums have traditionally preserved and provided access to many different kinds of physical materials, including books, papers, theses, faculty research notes, correspondence, and more. These items have been critical for researchers to have a full understanding of their fields of study as well as the history and context that surround the work.
However, in recent years many of these equivalent materials only exist electronically on websites, laptops, private servers, and social media. These digital materials are currently very difficult to track, preserve, and make accessible. Future researchers may very well find a black hole of content: discovering early physical materials and late electronic records, but little information for the late 20th though early 21st Centuries. In other words, a portion of history, including the field of Mathematics, may be lost unless this electronic content--perhaps some content you have right now--is cared for properly.
The presenters will cover the issues surrounding Digital Preservation, including steps needed to make sure data is reasonably safe. Additionally they will pose a small number of discrete challenges and unsolved problems in the field of Digital Preservation, where Mathematicians may be able to help with analysis and new algorithms.
During the last three years new leadership at the University of Cincinnati (UC) in many senior administrative positions has resulted in a rare culture of collaboration. This presentation will focus on the dynamic that has evolved among the Dean of Libraries, Vice President for Information Technology, and the Vice President for Research; discuss the development of the Research Hub@UC, which will deliver a profile-based customized suite of programs to researchers and scholars throughout the lifecycle; and explore a specific initiative (Scholar@UC) that demonstrates the depth of collaboration and its impact on the partners’ cultures, particularly the libraries’ at all levels. UC’s research support ecosystem has been disjointed, incomplete, ignored, or simply hidden. To grow the university’s research enterprise, these leaders realized that support programs throughout the research lifecycle had to be improved, expanded, and promoted. Presenters will discuss the successes and challenges of bridging different work cultures, funding development in a fiscally austere environment, and establishing collaborative models for operational support. To demonstrate the value and challenges of the partnership, including its impact on the cultures of each partner, presenters will explore two projects that have been enabled by the partnership, including the aforementioned Research Hub@UC and Scholar@UC, a faculty self-submission repository. Using these as case studies, presenters will discuss how agile (including open source) software development projects and broad system integration needs have enabled the partners to develop nimble, user-driven processes and a strong sense of risk taking to deploy new enterprise-wide systems in an environment of lean staff and resources.