Sayeed Choudhury Speaks at Kennedy Library
SAN LUIS OBISPO, California — February 22, 2007 — More than forty faculty and staff from Cal Poly departments attended a campus forum on "The Value of Establishing an Institutional Repository," held at the Kennedy Library on February 21, 2007. Dean of Library Services Michael Miller introduced Sayeed Choudhury, Associate Director for Library Digital Programs and Hodson Director of the Digital Knowledge Center at the Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins University.
As part of his responsibilities at Johns Hopkins, Choudhury serves as principal investigator for digital library projects funded through National Science Foundation's Digital Libraries Initiative, and Information Technology Research, the Institute for Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant, and the Mellon Foundation.
Choudhury began his talk by opening the floor to the Poly attendees to share their concerns and interests in the prospective Cal Poly institutional repository.
In response to the audience's predominant desire to "archive" student and faculty work, Choudhury stressed the primary importance of preservation of digital materials in a repository. Without preserving files, there is no accessibility.
Choudhury went on to discuss the importance of metadata to systematically catalog materials submitted to an IR and the complications and benefits of folksonomy, or the work of a group of people cooperating spontaneously to organize information into categories. While he believes the frameworks should be flexible, he also stressed the need for clear policies and procedures to ensure that data are not only preserved without duplication or elimination, but also that the digital materials are able to be readily retrieved.
Choudhury also suggested that the current state of technologies could be viewed as the "Digital Dark Ages." Because the idea and implementation of institutional repositories is so new, the available frameworks have not yet evolved enough to meet all needs, especially when it comes to functionality. "We may not even be aware of the information we are losing because we don't have the tools to properly preserve the work," said Choudhury, but institutional repositories have begun to address this issue.
Dean Miller concluded the session by sharing that the Kennedy Library will be working with faculty and students in the near future to begin Cal Poly's institutional repository. Planned as a phased implementation, it is anticipated that the new repository will deliver to users worldwide a digital environment containing Cal Poly's intellectual capital. Planning is still in the preliminary stages and input from faculty and students is being sought in a number of venues.
Our thanks to Sayeed Choudhury for traveling to San Luis Obispo and sharing his experiences and insights.
More information about Choudhury's work