Resilience and Engagement in an Era of Uncertainty

Clifford Lynch: Let me welcome you to the
Fall 2017 CNI Member Meeting. I hope that people did not have too much trouble
getting here. We did have a little bit of snow over the
weekend. It was kind of picturesque, but I don’t
think it amounted to very much here. And I’m really glad you’ve made it. I’d like to extend a special welcome to
our international guests. Some of you have come a very long way and
I know how difficult that can be. And I’d also like to extend a welcome to
our new members. Um, we actually have quite a number of new
members and I’ll just read them out. The University of Illinois, Springfield, Anthonima…Anthen…I
have a lot of Anthenaeum, thank you. For some reason I have a terrible trouble
with that word. Anthenaeum 21. The University of Northern Iowa, Northern
Arizona University, Old Dominion University, Villanova University, The Faulty Memorial
Library there, Binghamton University has recently joined us. We have the Ontario Counsel of the University
Libraries, an important consortium, Smith College, and I’m very please finally to
announce that Dora Space has become a new member. Please recognize and welcome our new members. (applause)
You will find in the packet of stuff you picked up our new 2017-2018 program plan and if it’s
not on the web already it will be on the web eminently. And I hope that you enjoy looking at that. I’ll have a number of things to say about
that in the course of my remarks. Finally in the meeting packet, I just want
to note that planning on..planning for the joint CNI JISC meeting to be held in Oxford
in July, is well advanced and we will be announcing speakers for that quite shortly. But there is a hold date note in your packet
that you picked up. A couple of session notes…um…first off
a very small number, we think, of the agenda programs, the physical program, have got the
wrong tabs in them. They’ve got all the right pages, but they’re
about…there have seemed to be a dozen or so that have the wrong tabs. If you have a bad one trade it in for a good
one. But otherwise the…you’ve got SKED, if
you’re using that on the web, and that’s fine. And it should all work out. We don’t think there were very many of t
hose, but I’ll just alert you. We have a message board out there and we will
announce any agenda changes or cancellations. I do want to note that we know we have two
cancellations. Joe Lambert from JISC was unable to be here
so the session Tuesday at 10:15 on the JISC Shared Research Data Service had to be cancelled. And Ken Klingenstein’s session scheduled
for today at 3:45 on Identity Federation also had to be cancelled. We will be able to bring both of those sessions
to you probably in the Spring. And I think that that’s everything I want
to say about program and logistics, other than to note that we have been tinkering with
the time and the duration of some of the sessions, as I indicated in the road map. So the goal being to…to…allow as many
sessions as possible and to also be more responsive to the fact that some sessions don’t need
a lot of time and other sessions need a good deal of time. So with that, let me turn to talking through
what’s going on the world, some of the things I have my eye on and some of the components
of our program plan. And I’m going to have to go very fast here
because unfortunately there are an awfully lot of things going on and there are some
things I need to talk about that I really hoped I’d never have to talk about again. (laughter)
So, basically I think we are dealing right now with a tremendously uncertain world. And this really challenges us at many levels. If you think about the shifting policy environment
for a minute I think that we’ve seen some really bad things and we’ve seen some responses
to it and some other leadership that we should be very proud of. The entire data refuge movement, which was
really cobbled together by a small number of leaders and a big grass roots effort on
very, very short notice, did an enormous amount of good. It’s unfortunate that we need this but it’s
a great tribute that we got it in place. The research…some of the research funders
still don’t seem to be coping very well with the need to support infrastructure and
that that infrastructure needs to include adequate infrastructure to manage research
data, and that this needs to be a more serious partnership between the research funders and
the universities themselves. I think that, sadly but importantly, we have
been reminded that the Federal Government can be an unreliable steward. And I want to be clear what I’m saying here. We have a tremendous number of very dedicated
people and good stewards scattered through the federal agencies and we have some organizations,
like Narrow, like the Library of Congress, Like the National Library of Medicine, that
are absolutely first class, dedicated to what they do and doing it very well, albeit generally
with inadequate resources. But we have been reminded of two things: that
all of this is unfortunately at the mercy of politics in funding. And that indeed both memory and science are
becoming increasingly politicized in various ways and I think that that reminds us of the
importance of resilience and diversity of institutional participation as we think about
how we’re going to manage our scholarly and our cultural record. We really need to be careful wherever possible
to minimize single points of failure of all sorts, technical, financial, political. I think that this is an important reminder
and what happened with the Date Refuge Movement should be thought about beyond just that movement
and really taken to heart as we think about the overall structure of the stewardship provisions
that we are evolving. Finally on the policy front, I never quite
thought it would come to this, but it appears there is a very good possibility that they
are going to do away with network neutrality. And one of the things I have been puzzling
about is what that means to our community. And it’s really complicated. I mean it’s obvious to me at least that
this is going to be..this is going to open the consumer market to untold bad things. I mean the opportunities for mischief are
endless. But in terms of the research and education
community, our institutions mostly obtain their network service wholesale and are much
less subject to this kind of problem. However, so many of the resources that we
depend upon are out there on the other end of networks and so many of our community work
not just from our campuses and labs and things like that, but also from home, or from afar
in various ways. There is plenty of risk to go around. Very difficult to quantify, but something
to be very mindful of and I think one of the things that we may see is that this will make
it important to make many of our key content sources hosted much closer to networks that
we can control end to end. And of course the bigger content sources,
much like, uh, much like our institutions themselves buy their bandwidth wholesale. Some of the smaller ones are probably much
more at risk of problems here, so unfortunately this is a whole new area that we need to be
very mindful of and it’s one that we can no longer entirely disentangle from access
to content and scholarly resources because we have taken that move to the network very
deeply into the patterns of what we do. We also face a lot of problems right now because
of an overall distrust of education, of scholarship in science, of journalism. We have faced an avalanche of propaganda,
unverified facts, all kinds of material, and I’m afraid this is gonna get much worse
before it gets better. Um…obviously we face major problems in how
to even preserve this environment so that we can analyze it for later study. And I’ll have a little more to say about
that later. But one of the things I see coming very eminently
now is a lot of manufactured stuff up ‘til now is words. And, you know, there’s still a sort of a
“seeing is believing” and “hearing is believing” mentality at work in the world
and I think that that is very rapidly going out the window. I don’t know if you’ve seen some of the
systems that have been generated, been built lately, so pick your favorite public figure,
um, basically anybody where there’s a good deal of audio and video around, and give this
thing a script and it will manufacture that person saying those words quite convincingly. Um…One can only imagine the mischief that’s
going to cause. Or, here’s another interesting development
and speaking as a computer scientist, it’s brilliant, but it has some very scarey consequences. How many of you know about something called
generative adversarial networks? Okay. I’ll just tell you briefly the germ of the
idea that will become obvious what’s going on. So, you’re all familiar with systems that
use machine learning to build classifiers to recognize certain people or objects in
photos and things of that nature and that stuff has come a very long way. Um, there is also work on how to detect fake
images and things like that by looking for various inconsistencies and, you know, there’s
a whole little branch of forensic science about how do you tell whether an image is
real or not. But that’s…it’s a very specialized,
small world. Well, someone came up with the brilliant idea
a couple of years ago where you take two machine learning systems that kind of work. One that tries to recognize things and the
other that tries to generate fake instances of the thing and you let them talk to each
other and run. So, you have a system that generates fake
images and also has an enormous store of real images. And it hands the other system that wants to
recognize fake images examples of each and then says..tells it, after each one, did I
get it right? Or did I get it wrong? Um, and the machine learning thing grinds
away and, you know what happens? Both systems get better. They learn from each other and both of them
improve steadily. And after you let this go for awhile with
big enough training sets, you have one system that gets pretty good at recognizing things
and another one that gets pretty good at generating them, whether they are fakes or what have
you. See where this is going? (laughter) Sounds a little like an arms race
doesn’t it? Um, so we can look forward to lots of interesting
applications of technology like that coming in the near future. I think that one of the things that this does,
one of the issues it creates, is it reminds us that in an age of perfect replication on
one side and increasingly good generation of things that never happened on the other,
trails of provenance become hugely important. I mean, the only way we’ll have any authenticity
anymore is in a very real sense with provenance. We have pervasive personalization now in everything. Experiences of all kinds are customized and
tuned in to individuals and I think that this creates an enormous set of challenges as we
seek to preserve the cultural and indeed even the scholarly record. Um, particularly to the extent that we want
to capture not just the static of what was presented, but the dynamic of how information
is spread, who knew what when, how widely was something known? And I’ll have a little more to say about
that in a few minutes. I think that some of these developments also,
at least for me, reinforce that open access is not just important for scholarship, it’s
important for society. Basically access to quality vetted information
very broadly is, I think, increasingly an imperative for society as a whole, not narrowly
for the research and education community. I also see a lot of interest and a lot of
progress towards increasingly replicable and reproducible scholarship in the cases where
that makes sense. And I think one qualification can’t be said
too frequently is that it doesn’t make any sense to demand that all science and all scholarship
be reproducible. There are endless numbers of exploratory kinds
of things that basically seek to develop hypotheses or insight that future, hopefully reproducible,
research can then advance or put to rest. There are vast amount of scholarship that
are matters of interpretation rather than deterministic outcome. And so I think we need to recognize that replicable
scholarship is an important goal, but it’s also not a meat ax to simply to be swung around
to declare large amounts of important work without value. Finally, as I look at this unstable world
out there, this broader world, I think that we’re reminded very strongly of the need
for public outreach and communication by scholars and scientists and by educators. And I think that we should be able to make
a significant contribution to facilitating that just as we all here make significant
contributions to scholarly communication. This is going to become an increasingly important
part of the scholarly communication agenda, I believe, in these days. Let me just say a couple of words about open
access and where that stands and I constrain these remarks to the United States. I am struck by how different the open access
picture looks from nation to nation now. There is no question that we have made significant
progress in opening up the scholarly record. It is also unquestionable that a lot of it
still hasn’t been opened up. I do think that it is very appropriate for
our institutions to take a deep breath, to step back, and to recalibrate or reaffirm
their goals, expectations and the level of importance and commitment they assign to open
access goals. I….I see a sort of decision point coming
up and, um, some of these decision points surround funding and where funding is going
to be expended and committed. Some of them are around policy sorts of matters. We see very large discussions happening in
other countries. Think about what’s going on in Germany,
or proposals that come out of the Max Planck Institute and CERN. And the proposal that some of our colleagues
here have been advancing and I believe we’ll be discussing as part of this meeting, the
so-called two and one half percent commitment. Um, I think that this is a time where institutions
really need to be clearer about what they’re trying to do and about what they hope to get
form it and what they really are realistically prepared to get from it. I don’t think, I don’t think we’ve been
appropriately critical in our thinking about that and I think some of this reappraisal
has stated in the last couple of years as people have said, “Well, we’ve coupled
institutional repositories and open access and it doesn’t seem to be working very well,
um, maybe we’d better think about that connection and we also ought to think about, well, why
do we have our institutional repository and what do we hope to achieve by it?” And we had some fascinating discussions of
that at our last Fall’s meeting. I think this continues to be an important
discussion, but it’s also important to take the open access question to the next level. I’m not going to give you the answer to
that, but I think that institutions are going to need to figure out one by one where they
think the answers lie to those questions. Let me turn to something that I’m increasingly
seeing as a really important programatic component for us to be paying attention to. Um, I believe that for the good of both scholarship
and society we have got to address what I would characterize as a crisis in the preservation
and stewardship of evidence. Now I want to be clear what I’m talking
about here. I’m not talking about the scholarly record. I think that we are doing much better than
we were doing ten years ago on the scholarly record. There is still plenty to do, but we at least
are starting to put institutions in place, practices in place, and I think we’ve established
a very health trajectory there. Although in particular research data and ancillary
research objects remain exceedingly challenging. What I am talking about here is the much more
ephemeral, in some ways, and much more volatile, in many ways, broader cultural record, which
becomes important evidence for scholars in the future. It’s not material that’s produced primarily
for scholarly purposes, but it becomes the object of study by an immense range of disciplines. It’s really hard to know what to preserve
here, what the right objectives are. One of the core problems is…you’re essentially
making speculative judgements about what’s likely…what you think is likely to be important
in future. Uh….it’s at best ignored. Now we have somebody, of what I’d characterize
as a broad evidence base, where we already have some good reason to believe it’s important. And that’s because it’s been cited in
the scholarly record. If you look at references in scholarly work,
many of those aren’t scholarly works. They’re two pieces of evidence. And in fact we see a number of systems and
practices showing up that basically call for the systematic archiving of referenced components
of the cultural record that appear in the scholarly record. There’s a very interesting initiative called,
“Permanancy”, which had its roots in dealing with link routing the legal literature, which,
as it happens, make a lot of cross referencing to the broader popular literature of various
works, the popular cultural record. It’s now spreading out to other disciplines. We have a series of archiving on demand kind
of things where scholars archive references as they cite them. And we have systems like MOMENTO that facilitate
this sort of referencing and versioning. I think that extending these processes and
strengthening them is going to become an increasingly important thing. This is the one part of the evidence base
that is a fairly sure bet in terms of, if we looked at, if we wove it into the scholarly
record once we’re very likely going to end up wanting to have another look at it at some
point in the future. But we need to go far beyond this and I think
we have huge problems in, you know, how we set priorities. Indeed, one of the things I’ve been looking
at a bit and I wish I could tell you there is great news about it, is, how are we doing? Do we have any idea how we are doing? In actual fact, and it turns out again I’m
limiting my remarks here to the United States, our measurements of rates of production of
various kinds of components of the cultural record are pitiful, as in often just one step
shy of nonexistent. If we can’t even figure out how much is
being produced, we definitely are gonna have trouble with, yeah, and how much of it are
we saving? Or, even where are the hot spots that, you
know, particularly merit effort? I mentioned, uh, the whole question of machine
learning, personalization and sorts of developments earlier. This last year I’ve been thinking a lot
about what does this mean for our ability to preserve the cultural record? And a number of other people have been thinking
about aspects of this too. David Rosenthal has done a wonderful series
of articles about it called the “Amnesiac Society”, which I recommend to you on his
blog. I recently summarized a lot of my thinking
over the past year in an article in “First Monday” this month. And briefly, you know, one of the things that
I came to recognize is that today stewardship of the cultural record is about much more
than the sort of preservation or archiving of objects, be they physical or digital. It’s about fundamentally almost like documenting
performances. And obviously we can only do this on some
sort of a sample basis, given that there are an almost infinite number of personalized
performances happening on the web every day, but I think we can’t just say, “Oh, it’s
too hard. We can’t do anything about this. Let’s just stick with the digital and physical
objects that we’re comfortable with.” And one of the things that this says to me
is that the enterprise of stewardship of the cultural record broadly is going to need to
weave in a lot of practices from ethnography, from journalism, from documentary film making
and idiography and similar sorts of things. And this is a whole relatively unconsidered
set of issues I think, but it’s going to be crucial for dealing with the news. I can’t believe the subject of archiving
without talking about two developments. One of them was just a genuinely wonderful
thing that happened last week. And some of you will, many of you will probably
be hearing about it for the first time, ‘cause the public announcements just came today. Um, last week I was contacted by some folks
with a heads up saying that a number of organizations committed to preservation, um, had prepared
a joint statement, a declaration of values, and that they wanted to announce it today,
here, and several breakouts will, among other things, include some aspects of this and they
just wanted to give me a heads up and an opportunity to read it in advance of its publication. Um, I can’t take any credit for this other
than being fortunate to be able to recognize support and publicize a very, very good thing. But I immediately said, “Would you mind
terribly if CNI signed on to this as well? And if I actually took a moment to direct
everybody’s attention to it at the CNI?” Um, there are already links from a number
of the partners to this document. I’m not going to read all the partners. But we will have a link to it on our web page
sometime tonight. So basically this is up as a Google doc at
present and it will remain open until March for comment, at which point it will get finalized. So, I commend that to you. The other thing that I just wanted to say
that’s showing up to me as an issue under many guises now as part of the broad conversation
about digital preservation and digital resilience is the way in which this is colliding with
the move to the cloud and with storage services available in the cloud. We are going to need to sort out how much
we trust the cloud and how much we want local copies of thing under our control. And right now there are very interesting arguments
happening around the place at institutions where people are saying, from the IT side,
we want to do a cloud strategy and just put all our storage in the cloud and rely on guarantees
from the cloud vendors. And the stricture community is saying, but,
but, but, but…um, we need to do fixative checks, which don’t work very well in the
cloud on a regular basis, and we want a copy under our control. If something happens we don’t want it all
centralized in one place. And I think that navigating and understanding
that challenge and explaining the position and the sometimes good reasoning for it to
the IT community is going to be a very significant discussion over the next year or two. Okay, so I’ve talked about policy uncertainty,
uncertainty of the stewardship of the evidence, and I’ve talked about the shifting government
policy environment. I’ll leave you, finally, with a discussion
of some of the technical uncertainty that I’m tracking and I’ve put that into a
couple of buckets. There’s one bucket that’s about scale
up. About whether we can successfully move from
prototypes and things to a genuine sort of social adoption and infrastructural integration
of things. And in that area I’m looking very hard at
annotation. Um, we have built some very good annotation
technology although it’s still a little fragile. Um, look at the work that hypothesis has done. Look at the work that’s coming out of the
World Wide Web Consortium. And I believe that there will be an update
session on the Web Consortium’s work, the W 3 C work at this meeting. But we have all these unresolved kind of uncomfortable
questions. Who gets to see what annotations? Who gets to annotate? Where are the annotations going to be stored? Who’s going to run the annotation servers? Are the people who make content available
really comfortable with it being annotated? I know a lot of authors have a very visceral
negative reaction to this. Um….should they be told, too bad, live with
it? Should they…should their wishes be respected? This is all the social and adoption contract. Then the other one that I think is very important
and very unpredictable is containerization, as a means of preserving and sharing software. This is one of these things that is starting
to work pretty well technically, but you have a whole lot of problems about standard T-figurations. How many versions there are going to be. Proliferation of containers. Uh, there’s a whole practice side of this
that we don’t understand and now also note that there’s a whole software licensing
side of this that we also don’t understand very well. In terms of media and things…it’s getting
very hard to tell media from technology…I want to note t here things. One is three dimensional stuff. Now something very striking has happened here
in the last couple of years, which is that we have managed now to get the full life cycle
from capture to reproduction of a very significant range of 3D objects with reproduction occurring
in reasonable quality and at reasonable cost in many cases. And I think that this is going to have a huge
impact on education, as people actually can handle things, you know, a physical copy of
it as opposed to looking at pictures and trying to imagine what that must be like. We have a whole library apparatus that needs
to be put in place here. Libraries of 3D objects, good standards for
storing them and describing them, um…good provenance to tell us where they really came
from and whether they’re real or designed on a computer. I think that’s going to be a very significant
and important challenge to step up to. Right now I would say that the reproduction
of existing objects that have been 3D imaged is probably farther along than the computer
generated ones, which tend to be much more sensitive to the generation environment and
to certain classes of stuff like architectural models or their own planet, and, you know,
the CAD CAM is a whole other planet and a lot of these are very stove piped. Coming up behind that we have Augmented Reality
that’s certainly getting a lot of hype and a lot of attention. It’s getting attention though importantly
from beyond the Academy as a way of annotating places, architectural things, allowing annotation
as you’re experiencing things, the tourism industry is very interested in it. Again, we need to figure out standards for
storing this, for describing it, for taking the associated geospatial reference frames
that go with it, and also storing those. I think there’s plenty of work to do there
and, you know, always looming behind it is various kinds of VR objects, which, you know,
depending on who you ask, are always just a couple years away. I mean it’s clear there’s a trajectory
where the devices are getting a bit cheaper and a bit better for, you know, experiencing
this, but when they really cross that critical optic line, uh, beyond super expensive immersive
caves and things of that nature, I don’t know. There’s a lot of apparatus that I think
is rife with various forms of uncertainty and, you know, I’ll just mention a few of
them that I’m watching very carefully. Link Data and how Link Data genuinely is going
to work at scale for cultural memory institutions is really unclear. There have been pilot projects. There are lots of problems that nobody’s
really talking much about. Um….there is digital biography, which is
kind of related to this and the convergence of biography and bibliography especially in
the contexts that include CRIS, they include encyclopedias, they include documentary editing. SNAC is a hugely important development and
if you’ve not followed what’s going on there you really should because I think that
it holds the promise of really massively changing the way scholars discover and use archival
and special collections material. And then there’s MOMENTO, which I mentioned
before, which I suspect Herbert may have a couple of things to say about tomorrow, since
he was one of the pioneers of it, that’s both a technology and an infrastructure. You need MOMENTO capable servers. And one of the big questions again is, we
have the core technology. How much infrastructure is going to be out
there and that’s an adoption rate question. Then, you know, just to round out my pack
of jokers, I have a few basic technology things I’m looking at. One is quantum computing, which is…it’s
incredibly hard to figure out how fast that’s going to move, although there’s some evidence
it’s moving a lot faster than people, let’s say ten years ago, would have predicted. It’s important to understand the first stake
there. Uh….what quantum computing is going to do
is invalidate a lot of cryptographic infrastructure, which included authentication, various kinds
of code signing, a couple of key signing things, and I guess the short story is, we are not
real agile about switching large scale cryptographic infrastructure. we could suddenly, as developments
happen there, find ourselves in a very unstable situation. The last thing I’ll just put in the deck
of jokers is this block chain technology. Now, you know, I’m sure you’ve all heard
much tedious speculation about Bitcoin and related crypto currencies. The thing that may not be clear to many of
you is that Blockchain is actually a set of technologies which, although it has some very
real limitations still, is much broader than crypto currencies and has a lot of potential
applications for attestation and attribution in a kind of verifiable public way. And exactly that plays out and the extent
to which that may supplant or supplement a number of current practices I think is very
important to keep an eye on. So, just to conclude, I think we’re dealing
with massive uncertainty in almost every sphere at this point. And….in looking at this I really come away
with just a few, perhaps, trite observations. The first is that this is a time of all times
to be keeping a very close watch on development and be prepared to respond quickly. That in trying to navigate these developments
we need to have a pretty firm grasp on our values and goals and a pretty realistic set
of expectations. And the last is that effective collaborations
are gonna be especially important now. I feel like resources are getting spread very
thin and things like this digital preservation declaration of shared values and the thinking
behind it is so important because it basically says that we’re making a commitment to work
together and to try and maximize resources by coordinating rather than squandering them
on redundant and uncoordinated efforts and I think that there’s a terrifically important
theme there that I hope CNI can advance and contribute to and it’s going to be very
important for navigating these uncertainties in the coming years. And that’s what I wanted to say about how
I’m viewing what’s going on right now and some of the developments, a number of
the things that we’re watching carefully, and will try our best to keep you informed
about developments on and a few problematic initiatives that I think are particularly
significant, many of which, as I say, have said before, you know, really address not
just today and tomorrow morning, but a few years out and I hope are going to be very
valuable to you in strategic planning. Thank you very much and I’ve actually finished
in enough time that if I can see questions, which these lights in my eyes, I would be
delighted to field a question or three. Thank you. (Applause). We’ve got mikes in both aisles, all three
aisles actually, and you can also just yell and I’ll repeat the questions. And I’m sure we’ve got some……… What? Nobody’s going to take the bait? (laughter)
Question 1: When you first started speaking and talking about trails of provenance now
that’s increasingly important, and that there’s only…..I just want to get you
to respond to that. Who gets to decide what? Oh? Question 1: it’s to all these different
factors in play. Well, you know, ultimately provenance is no
better than the initial metadata that’s assigned to a thing. At best, after that, you can construct chains
of custody and you’re going to decide those based on which organizations you trust. Um, you know, you will believe some people
are…or some organizations are trustworthy stores and others aren’t. I mean that’s typically the way this works. I think one of our real challenges is how
to deal with that, you know, kind of initial creation event. How you attach the metadata to it that you
can trust or quickly attach some kind of affectations to things that help to generate some trust
and I think that is something we need to be thinking about very carefully. Uh, you know, when you consider, for example,
how heavily people are relying on crowd sourced photographic evidence of events now, um…I’m
starting to feel like there’s a desperate need to somehow to be able to weave in some
hard to defeat way to uh increase confidence that what you’ve got is something that really
is what it claims to be. And I don’t think there are easy answers
to that, but I think these are, these are hard problems we have to be thinking about. Ultimately though a lot of it is going to
be subjective trust in various people and institutions. I wish I had an easier answer for that. Yeah? Question 2: You spoke at the beginning about
the likely end of net neutrality and can you say more about the implications of that for
those of us who are relying ever more on cloud computing? Can you make a link there or give us some
questions we should be asking ourselves or…. So, in terms of cloud computing specifically,
and in particular some of the big cloud platforms, you know, in a certain sense I don’t see
this as being a big issue because your typical institution that’s doing cloud computing
on Amazon or Google or IBM or As You Were for Microsoft or something like that, if you
look at the pads there you have the one contract between the educate…the RNE institution
and a major ISP typically. Then you have another contract between the
cloud service provider and a major ISP directly. So those two contracts prevent, can prevent
funny business with traffic prioritization. Typically those two primary ISPs are directly
cured. Or there is a very well trusted third party
pairing point in the middle. So, um, the, the opportunities for problems
there are fairly limited. On the other hand if you look at content resources
that we might license or rely on, they’re just scattered all over the place with potentially
complicated and largely unknown paths between the consumer of the material and the provider
of the material. So I would worry much more about that than,
you know, your sort of more routine cloud computing. Even if you’re trying to do cloud computing
from home, in most cases you’re not moving that much data back and forth to the, to the
cloud computation and storage platform. The stuff’s already up there and you’re
just doing control, which doesn’t take a lot of bandwidth typically. Do we have another question there? I’ll get over there next. You go. Question 3: Thank you for that overview. Can everybody hear me? Um, uh so I notice that a lot of the trends
you are identifying, future directions including like Blockchain technologies as well as the
adversarial aggregate of conversation. A lot of those are very confrontationally
intensive and I wonder if you could speak to kind of where you see environmental impact
playing into CNIs in the sense of new directions for the following year. Um, I have to say that we don’t spend a
lot of time on these environmental issues. There are some organizations that have started
looking at this carefully, particularly with regard to cloud computing. And there are some folks that are really interested
in how to minimize the environmental footprint in various ways, you know, by various metrics
of those facilities. I know that some of the, some of the campuses
that have been invested in high end research computing facilities have been very thoughtful
about this. For example, there is a fabulous newish facility
at Princeton that I had an opportunity to tour about a year or so ago that has won a
number of awards for green computing. Also the commercial players are often particularly
sensitive to power consumption and for both economic and environmental reasons are citing
centers very near sources of renew…inexpensive sources of renewable energy. Um, solar, hydro, things like that. Um, uh, but that stuff tends to be, you know,
much closer to the sort of engineering of high performance computing than we tend to
get and it’s an area with quite a bit of specialized expertise than needs to be brought
to bear on it. I hope that helps a little bit. Yeah? Question 4: You spoke about cloud storage
versus local storage and I’m very curious. You spoke about it, but you didn’t…are
you comfortable expressing your either personal or professional opinion on that matter? Um….yes. I am in a very general way in that it’s,
if there’s one thing that we’ve learned over and over and over again it is that things
fail. They fail for a lot of reasons, especially
the ones that never fail. (laughter) They’ve failed for economic reasons. They’ve failed because of human error. They fail because the technology doesn’t
work. They fail for political reasons sometimes,
natural disasters, all kinds of stuff. And my bias is that for things where it’s
important that those things survive, um, a multiplicity of copies under stewardship that
is as independent as possible with regard to all of those factors I just named, which
by the way also implies a certain amount of international redundancy of material, is the
path for most likely success in being able to keep things alive. The other thing I’d say is I think we often
confuse reliability with resilience. There is a very large amount of material that
I believe it is important to have survive, but if it goes offline for a little bit and
it takes us a week to recover it, we’ll be okay. It’s much more expensive to increase, you
know, sort of operational resilience than it is to, um, you know, increase resilience
if you’re willing to eat some availability problems on rare occasions. Question 4: Thank you. We could probably squeeze in just one more
question if there is one. Uh oh. Okay we’ll squeeze in both of them now,
but I will be terse. Yes. You’re up. Question 5: Ed Vengimer from Wisconsin. Thank you for your presentation. So you didn’t mention anything about issues
around privacy and I suppose we could spend days talking about that, but you know the
university risk involved in the privacy of various records and about individuals. Yet it seems like every time I call my pharmacy
or clinic or whatever they have more data about me than and know more about me than
I know about me. (laughter) And so I wonder what insights,
if any, looking forward with regards to the management of issues around privacy, I guess. Okay, so I’ll just say three brief things
about this, um, ‘cause I could go on for an hour about this at the drop of a hat. The commercial stuff is ghastly and getting
worse every day and not only are they collecting data like mad and squirreling it away, whether
it makes sense or not, but they’re not doing a very good job of protecting it. And that is a bigger problem than we as a
community can take on. That is a society level problem. And some of it is a regulatory problem that
we seem to have no will to deal with in this country. Um…in terms of things where we do have some
control, I think that…I am happy to say that after an intoxication with analytics
of various kinds at the institutional level, not the library level, and which included
a great deal of fairly thoughtless application of these things, we are now seeing a second
round of investment in this that is characterized by some very thoughtful policy making. I invite you to have a look at the talk that
Jen Springer did, I believe, last meeting from Berkley, about their work on what principals
that should guide institutional policy and the way that’s been brought forward and
codified by the IMS Consortium. In terms of libraries specifically, I did
a fairly deep study of issues around reader privacy, which I finally summarized in a publication
that came out in, I don’t know, February I think. It’s quite a long publication. I think that we have a problem in this area
and I think that I would like to see…and again this is something that’s in our control
largely…I would like to see a lot more attention paid to those kind of issues vis-à-vis contracts
with content suppliers at our institutions. That’s the very, very short version. Last question. Question 6: Hi, Keith Webster, Carnegie Mellon. Not a question, but hopefully not breaching
embargo by congratulating you, Cliff. Today the ECM announced their new Fellows
for this year. You are one of the people honored. Fewer than one percent of ECM members become
Fellows and I thought we should congratulate you. (Applause)
What he says is true, but I did not put him up to that. I promise. Yeah, the announcement came out today. I was really…I was really flattered and
it’s kind of you to say that. Although I’m a little embarrassed. Uh, with that I think I should send us on
our way. We are five minutes late. But, uh, off to your next session. Thank you so much for coming. I hope this was helpful. (Applause)

Michael Martin

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