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Frequently Asked Questions


What is the E-Science Institute?

The E-Science Institute was designed to help academic and research libraries develop a strategic agenda for e-research support, with a particular focus on the sciences. The Institute consists of a series of interactive modules that take small teams of individuals from your institution through a dynamic learning process to strengthen and advance their strategy for supporting computational scientific research. The coursework begins with a series of exercises for teams to complete at their institutions, and culminates with an in-person workshop. Local institution assignments help staff establish a high level understanding of research support background needs and issues.

What is the purpose of the Institute?

The Institute is designed to be an interactive, experiential process focused on how institutions can develop a strategy around E-Science. It also is intended to be a community-building process, where participants learn not only from Institute faculty, but also other participants.

What is the main outcome for participants of the Institute?

To prepare participants with tools and information in order that they may develop a strategic agenda for their institution’s approach for E-Science. Once the course is over the resulting strategic agenda can then be used to help institutions develop a strategic plan around E-Science. The strategic agenda will cover:

  • Institutional context and assumptions
  • Library’s aspirational goals and priorities
  • Possible activities to be prioritized: data curation, scholarly communication, virtual organizations, physical space, organizational development, funding, policy, developing collaborations, collection development, technical infrastructure

Will the E-Science Institute help participants create a plan for data curation?

Data curation is an important e-research support activity, but not the only one. While the Institute will not specifically help participants create a data curation plan, it will help participants identify a suite of activities and expertise that are potentially required, starting with the most traditional (collection, preservation, description) and moving through the data lifecycle into more disciplinary-specific areas (e.g., advising on information structure, locating external collections for new research).

What will the Institute NOT cover?

Participants will not be developing detailed strategic plans, nor will they receive training on how to address e-science at their institution. The course is not limited to data curation or a specific aspect of e-science. Rather, the course is intended to help institutions understand what is involved in developing an approach to e-science and will help participants set a strategic agenda for moving forward as they develop a detailed strategic plan at their institution.

What is the relationship between the current E-Science Institute and the original course offering by ARL/DLF?

The current course is an updated version of the original Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) / Digital Library Federation (DLF) E-Science Institute, incorporating feedback from course participants and faculty. While the DuraSpace organization is managing and facilitating the course, it is in full consultation with ARL, DLF, and the original course designers. The content covered in the current course is very much the same, but it has been updated and improved and the course length has been shortened from 6 months to 3 months. In addition, most of the faculty from the original course have signed on again (see Faculty Biographies DuraSpace is also pleased to be offering this course at a reduced price and to a broader audience, as it is now available to any institution, not just ARL or DLF members.

What is the ideal team composition (who should attend)?

In order to maximize the benefit from the E-Science Institute and the resulting strategic agenda, it is important to involve individuals that fit the following role descriptions at your institution:

A library administrator
Rationale: A library director is critical to the success of the outcome of the institutional team participating in the Institute. As a key decision maker, the library director understands the local institutional landscape, management structure, and culture. The library director also sets library priorities for e-research and can make key connections for the team. Because the Institute will include issues of organizational culture and change that require knowledge of the management structure and processes of each library, it is important to include the library director. Example roles could include: Associate Director of  - Collections, Information Resources, Scholarly Communication, Technology, Research Services, etc.

A data or e-science librarian
Rationale: This person will bring subject and technical expertise to the group.

A non-library participant
Rationale: This person will bring perspective from beyond the main library, allowing the group to explore opportunities for collaboration with other campus entities. Examples of non-library team members include but are not limited to: science/research faculty or center director, CIO/IT Department director, Research Computing director, etc.

If only one person from my institution is going to participate in the course can we get a discount on the cost?

A critical component in the course’s design is the inclusion of key players and decision makers on each institution’s team in order to maximize the benefit and ultimately, the usefulness of the team’s strategic agenda.  There is also a specific intention that course participants will benefit from the experience not just of the course’s faculty, but also their peers from other institutions. Therefore, for the benefit of each team and all participants we highly recommend that every institution have a 3 member team, one from each of the recommended categories (library administrator, data or e-science librarian, and a non-library participant -- see above for more detail). It also should be noted that the current offering of the E-Science Institute is the same course (with updates) that was designed and offered by ARL/DLF to their members and will be taught by the same faculty, but for half the price. At this time there is no additional funding to offer the course for any less.

Who are the Institute faculty?

An array of administrators and practitioners, all experts on various aspects of e-science issues and/or designing and leading learning experiences, have been assembled as faculty for this Institute.

Jake Carlson, Purdue University
Mike Furlough, Penn State University
David Minor, UC San Diego
Chris Shaffer, Oregon Health Science University

The Institute also has a the following subject matter experts and advisors:

Chuck Humphrey, University of Alberta
William Michener, University of New Mexico
MacKenzie Smith, University of California, Davis

Full biographies are available at

Course Logistics

How will I stay informed about the Institute?

All communications will go through the CLIR Connect site. Each of the three participants from your institution will receive an login identification once the course is officially lanched in early September. After you login for the first time we highly recommend you go to “My Profile” (top center of the CLIR Connect screen) and set up your “My Subscriptions” to be for “real time” delivery instead of a daily digest.

How do I access the Institute website?

The three team members formally designated by your institution will be automatically added as participants to the CLIR Connect website. You will receive an email confirming that you’ve been invited to the Institute with a link that will take you to the site. If you have never accessed the CLIR Connect site before you will be directed through a process to create a profile and your own password. You should also be sure to set up your email subscriptions by going to “My Profile” (top center of the CLIR Connect screen) selecting “My Subscriptions” to be for “real time” delivery instead of a daily digest.

How many people can be registered to the Institute website from one institution?

Three. Institutions are not limited in the number of people on a local team or who can participate in the webinars, only to the number of people who can have access to the Institute website and attend the in-person capstone event.

Can information on the Institute website be shared by others on the local team who are not subscribed to the website?


Who is responsible for communicating with local team members?

While all three registered team members from your institution will receive communications through CLIR Connect through the site’s email feature, each team should designate a team lead who is responsible for ensuring any relevant communications are shared with anyone else involved in the initiative at your institution who is not registered on the CLIR Connect site.

What if I forget my password or don’t set one up immediately?

You can go to the site and click on “Forgot Password” feature and it will guide you through the process of getting access. If you have continued problems accessing CLIR Connect, please contact Kathlin Smith <>.

Whom do I contact if I have questions or need help?

We encourage you to use the E-Science Discussion Forum on CLIR Connect as much as possible, as it is likely that if you have a question, other course participants might have the same question. Questions posted to the forum will be answered as quickly as possible. If you have questions about your CLIR Connect account, please contact Kathlin Smith at For all other questions, please contact Valorie Hollister at

Can more than our three officially designated team members participate in the webinars?

Yes. Institutions are encouraged to make the webinars and other learning resources available to others in your library and on your campus. The only portion of the Institute that is limited to officially designated team members is the in-person event.

When is the Institute launch date?

September 6, 2012 is the official launch date of the Institute, which means participants will have access to the course site and preparatory reading materials. The first scheduled Institute experience is the launch webinar on September 6 from 1:00-2:00pm Eastern.

If I miss a webinar, will the recording and slides be made available to course participants?

Yes, all the course webinars and supplemental webinars and the corresponding slides will be made available to all registered participants, generally within a few days of the event. Once recordings are available an email message will be sent to all participants through the CLIR Connect site.

What is the webinar schedule?

Please see the most current information here:

When and where will the in-person event take place?

The in-person event will take place in Washington D.C. area on December 12-13 at the Sheraton Pentagon City in Arlington, VA. The event cost, including most meals, are included in the E-Science registration fee, however, participant lodging and dinners are not included. The meeting will begin on December 12 at 9am and and on December 13 by 4pm.

Where can I get more information about the in-person event?

More information about the capstone event will be distributed to the 3 registered participants from your institution by mid-September.

Will the Institute be offered again?

DuraSpace plans to offer the E-Science course at least on an annual basis and perhaps twice a year if there is enough interest. For information on future course offerings, please contact us.