GRL2020 Asia, 2009

 GRL2020 Asia Post-event Report

The third GRL2020 workshop highlighted DL activities in around the globe with special emphasis on Asia. Insight into domain specific digital libraries was also given with presentations on Biodiversity,e-Heritage, Multiple Discpline Science and Climate change.

The vision of GRL2020 was discussed with a number of important topics being identified as vital for the future sustainability of the group. To date the workshops have been funded by Microsoft and local hosts. However, funding for activities between workshops has not been available and the group recognised the importance of this. In order to attain funding it is imperative that GRL2020 sharpens its profile by stating a  clear direction, intention and value proposition. This will improve the external perception of GRL2020 highlighting that this a unique group of experts that is evolving as a forward looking think tank for the future of infrastructure, attracting representatives from an even wider variety of backgrounds such as librarians, domain specific scientists, researchers and funding agencies. Such a profile would make it more possible for the group to attain funding.

The group recognise the difficulty in attaining acknowledgement of the importance of knowledge infrastructure and digital libraries from political decision makers on national, institutional and research organisation levels, especially when compared to more tangible areas such as networks and software even in an era that supports online universities and user supplied libraries such as wikipedia . The Heterogeneous nature and diversity of domains is challenging for these groups to deal with and a report outlining the role of knowledge infrastructure and digital information in the future would give the group authority and branding and could also be used when addressing funding agencies and knowledge infrastructure and digital library colleagues. The report would also give the group the opportunity to comment on initiatives and offer positive support and perhaps most importantly will drive the direction of the global research library and research communities.

In order to attract researchers and domain specific scientists, it was suggested that a second report could focus on relevant topics. In particular the group should invite information scientists who have experience of working with domain specific scientists and who understand their information management issues.  This will also ensure that these experts are informed about topics such as data management, open access and collaboration.

Participants recognised the importance of focussing on areas such as humanities, biodiversity, health and environment. However, it was also noted that identifying single topics which can only be addressed on a global basis can be problematic, especially if attracting interest from funding agencies. In order to address this issue, GRL2020 could focus on topics which challenge the survival of humanity such as global warming, clean energy, clean water, disaster management, and food shortages. GRL2020 should focus energy on one of these compelling and dangerous inter- and multi-disciplinary areas in order to demonstrate the value of knowledge infrastructure and the federation of digital libraries. Furthermore, GRL2020 should identify national research libraries in particular disciplines that could gain significant global benefit from their federation to generate a global research library.

Working groups also need to be set up in order to initiate focussed discussion on important topics that were not covered at the workshop in great detail such as long-term preservation of data and Humanities. Potential work areas also include: Infrastructure – assisting DRIVER in terms of scaling; Skills & Training - educating of libraries and librarians; Content – improved engagement with domains scientists.

In order to ensure that GRL2020 is truly global and is able to manage global activities it was suggested that the group seeks a global organisation with experience and expertise of organising global activities and events. One suggestion was involving a non-political UN practitioner to take this role.

Finally, the group recognised the importance of resources to support work by the group between workshops. Although post-event report from GRL2020 Europe was published as well as the GRL2020 Asia position papers, discussion and movement on actions by GRL2020 Europe participant did not take place.