The National Science Foundation approved a research planning grant for the CDL to coordinate a working group that will set an agenda for future research in the emerging area of digital library “actors”. These actors are persons, organizations, and instruments that play roles in the production, dissemination, and use of digital information. Digital library “actors”, and the roles they play, are not yet well understood as general concepts, but are increasingly important in challenges such as the management of digital certificates, content licenses, intellectual property, as well as the development of adaptive search and retrieval systems. More traditional challenges include applications of name authority control and user profiling.
The CDL’s coordinating role for the planning project was discussed and endorsed by the CDL’s Strategic Technology Architecture and Standards working group (http://www.cdlib.org/inside/groups/stas/). Setting a common framework for actors should lead to benefits for CDL and other library initiatives that describe authors, derivation sources, target audiences, support contacts, etc. The outcome should provide standard ways to interoperably describe actors and various key relationships they may have to information objects. This NSF award is complemented by a similar award from the European DELOS Network of Excellence for Digital Libraries. The two funded groups will jointly draft a whitepaper that is to be the tangible deliverable of this effort. The American coordinator is John Kunze (CDL and UCSF) and the European coordinator is Jose’ Borbinha (National Library of Portugal).