Core to our mission, CLIR and the Digital Library Federation stand in resolute support of our dedicated and diverse community of information professionals and organizational sponsors, promoting the fullest and most inclusive vision they may hold of the publics they serve: individuals and institutions that are both stalwart and vulnerable, people living now and generations yet to come. We also stand with our community in determined opposition to any political policies, actions, and divisive ideologies—like those we have observed during the current transition of power in Washington, DC—that contravene our shared, core values of enlightened liberalism and scientific understanding, and threaten our mission to create just, equitable, and sustained global cultures of accessible information.
What does this support and opposition mean in practice?
For CLIR, the current socio-political situation deepens our resolve to advance the creation, organization, and distribution of knowledge, by fostering imaginative leadership and cross-sector coherence in technology, cultural heritage, and higher education. Our investment has never been more vital, in efforts to create new cohorts of leaders, augment our community’s scholarly and technical expertise, and make primary materials safe and broadly accessible for research and teaching. We do this through the generosity of sponsors, funders, and host institutions. Key projects include: re-granting programs like Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives and Recordings at Risk; our support for the work of CLIR Postdoctoral Fellows, Mellon Fellows for Dissertation Research in Original Sources, and CLIR/DLF Postdocs in Data and Software Curation; our development, in rich collaboration with international partners, of the Digital Library of the Middle East; and our support for professional and organizational advancement through our programs for liberal arts college CIOs and a broader array of practitioners adept in “Leading Change.”
Similarly, an evolving, ambitious joint research and publications agenda at CLIR/DLF—centering in a five-year plan to better inform the development of transnational digital library and data repository infrastructures—supports the conviction we and our sponsors, advisors, and board members hold dear: that global and local information systems, wisely constructed, can become instruments of social justice, advancing human capacity and compassionate understanding and helping us to build a kinder, freer, safer world.
For its part, DLF reaffirms its staunch commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as an organization that exists to foster research, learning, social justice and the common good through the creative design and wise application of digital library technologies. As a responsive, action-oriented program of CLIR, we have redoubled our efforts to serve as an amplifying framework for our members’ grassroots activities, particularly supporting the work of individual librarians, museum professionals, archivists, and technologists as community organizers, to connect with their peers across institutional lines and undertake collaborative projects for the purposes of careful analysis, protective action, imaginative response, or necessary resistance.
DLF working groups are active on issues ranging from: assessment of overarching cultural, economic, and technological factors in the construction and content of digital libraries; increasing coherence in the professional development landscape; improved efficacy and broadened reach in digitization and in teaching and research with digital content; development of best practices for digital library labor rooted in a feminist ethic of care; issues of transparency and accountability in government records and born-digital information; and more. We also see in this light: DLF’s hosting of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance as an organization focused on collective strategies for digital curation and long-term preservation; our programs to connect professional and conference communities through “cross-pollinator” fellowships and our own practitioner-driven DLF Forum; our support of meetings and/or communications platforms for an array of allied groups; our consultative services; our pragmatic attention to diversity and inclusion in all our sponsored events; and our longstanding work in fostering technical standards and incubating inter-institutional projects and platforms.
DLF will pay close attention this year to any executive order or piece of legislation that may impact travel and safety for our Forum participants, with whom we stand in solidarity and pledge to assist.
CLIR and DLF exist as focal points for active collaboration and the building of trust across borders of all kinds—a safe harbor for candid, deliberative discourse and collective, inter-institutional work. We hold this characteristic among our most salient contributions to our constituencies. It is our aim to advance, protect, and uphold the values our information communities share, and to help those communities resist counter-forces so that they may create enduring, empowering, charitable futures filled with hope.
Regardless of your membership status or affiliation, if you support this mission, we invite you to use CLIR/DLF as a platform, engage with us as fellow-travelers, and direct us as a set of public-spirited services. Please feel free to contact members of our dedicated and expert staff, or to write directly to Charles Henry (CLIR) or Bethany Nowviskie (DLF) with your ideas.
Charles Henry, President of CLIR
Bethany Nowviskie, DLF Director
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, CLIR Board chair
Dan Cohen, DLF Advisory chair
(cross-posted at CLIR)