videoApril 9 2015

Data Landscapes of the New York Public Library


Databite No. 32

NYPL Labs is an interdisciplinary team working to reposition library collections for the Internet, and to explore new roles and tactics for libraries in a data-driven society. In this talk, Ben Vershbow and Shana Kimball explore the emerging role of the library as a data aggregator, curator, and clearinghouse. Specifically, they look at: how NYPL is working with the public to mine data from historical materials (and how some of that data is being used); how they’re beginning to transition from siloed catalogs and websites into a linked data and API-driven library platform; and they explore together, in conversation, how the role of libraries might evolve as a key part of the civic information infrastructure of communities, and how libraries might support data-driven research in a public context.

Ben Vershbow  has worked for more than a decade at the intersection of libraries, scholarly communication, arts, and the web. He spent 4 formative years working with electronic publishing pioneer Bob Stein at the Institute for the Future of the Book, a New York-based think tank and software studio exploring emergent networked forms of reading, writing, and peer review. Following that, Vershbow worked for over 8 years at The New York Public Library, where he founded and led NYPL Labs, an innovation program which spearheaded a wide range of digitization, open data, digital humanities, and crowdsourcing initiatives. He currently lead Wikimedia Foundation’s Community Programs team, which seeks to foster deeper collaboration between the Wikimedia movement and professional knowledge domains such as education, libraries, cultural heritage institutions, and the scientific community.

Shana Kimball brings ten years of experience working in higher ed / research settings as an academic publisher, project and people manager, strategist, communicator, and public speaker on open access, alternative academic careers, and more. Most recently, at NYPL Labs, she led the development of a new initiative to engage technologists, scholars, and other digital practitioners in new uses of the Library’s digital collections and data sources, and to host conversations and incubate experimental projects that explore the future of public knowledge.

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Data & Society’s “Databites” speaker series presents timely conversations about the purpose and power of technology, bridging our interdisciplinary research with broader public conversations about the societal implications of data and automation.