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Fall Forum

E-Research and Supporting Cyberinfrastructure

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A Forum to Consider the Implications for Research Libraries & Research Institutions

October 15, 2004
Westin Grand Hotel
2350 M Street NW
Washington, DC

Sponsored by

Association of Research Libraries
Coalition for Networked Information

The term "cyberinfrastructure" was coined by a National Science Foundation (NSF) blue-ribbon committee to describe the new research environments in which advanced computational, collaborative, data acquisition and management services are available to researchers through high-performance networks. The term is now widely used to embrace a range of e-research environments that are emerging from the changing and innovative practices--often called "e-science" or "e-research"--of scientists and scholars in all disciplines. Cyberinfrastruture is more than just hardware and software, more than bigger computer boxes and wider network wires. It is also a set of supporting services made available to researchers by their home institutions as well as through federations of institutions and national and international disciplinary programs.

This one-day forum addressed the issues raised for research institutions by the shift to e-research and the concomitant demands for cyberinfrastructure support. The forum focused particularly on library and information technology strategies and organizations. For example, the scientific community is calling for federated strategies for disciplinary data curation. What is the connection between such strategies and institutional repositories? What will be the most critical services that scientists and scholars need and expect as they undertake their e-research?


  • Dan Atkins, Chair of the NSF Blue Ribbon Panel that recommended major NSF investments in cyberinfrastructure to support e-science, made a keynote presentation. Dr. Atkins reviewed the cyberinfrastructure movement and its strategic implications for the research institution community.
  • George Djorgovski, Professor of Astronomy at Caltech, illustrated the potential of cyberinfrastructure by describing the work underway via the National Virtual Observatory.
  • Paul Courant, Provost at the University of Michigan, reviewed an investigation of cyberinfrastructure needs in the humanities and social sciences being conducted by a commission of the American Council of Learned Societies, of which he is a member. Dr. Courant also spoke to some of the institution-wide implications of building and sustaining cyberinfrastructure.
  • Sang Kim, Director of the Division of Shared Cyberinfrastructure, National Science Foundation, provided an update of the Division's program.