Our Cultural Commonwealth Recommendations

1. Invest in cyberinfrastructure for the humanities and social sciences, as a matter of strategic priority.

Implementation: Determine the amount and efficacy of funding that now goes to support developing
cyberinfrastructure for humanities and social sciences from all sources; through annual meetings
and ongoing consultation, coordinate the goals this funding aims to achieve; and aim to increase both
funding and coordination over the next five years, including commercial investments that are articulated
with the educational community's agenda.


2. Develop public and institutional policies that foster openness and access.

Implementation: The leadership of the humanities and social sciences should develop, adopt, and advocate for public and institutional polices that foster openness and access.

3. Promote cooperation between the public and private sectors.

Implementation: A private foundation, a federal funding agency, an Internet business, and one or more university partners should cosponsor recurring annual summits to explore new models for commercial/nonprofit partnerships and to discuss opportunities for the focused creation of digital resources with high educational value and high public impact.


4. Cultivate leadership in support of cyberinfrastructure from within the humanities and social sciences.

Implementation: Increase federal and foundation funding to one or more scholarly organizations in the area of humanities and social science computing so that they can work with member organizations of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and others to establish priorities for cyberinfrastructure development, raise awareness of research and partnership opportunities among scholars, and coordinate the evolution of research products from basic to applied.


5. Encourage digital scholarship.

Implementation: Federal funding agencies and private foundations should establish programs that develop and support expertise in digital humanities and social sciences, from short-term workshops to postdoctoral and research fellowships to the cultivation of appropriately trained computer professionals. The ACLS should encourage discussion among its member societies in developing recommendations with respect to evaluating digital scholarship in tenure and promotion decisions.


6. Establish national centers to support scholarship that contributes to and exploits cyberinfrastructure.

Implementation: Universities and university consortia should develop new and support existing humanities and social science computing centers. These centers should provide for advanced training and research and curate collections of unique materials.

7. Develop and maintain open standards and robust tools.

Implementation: University consortia such as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation should license software such as SourceForge, an enterprise-grade solution for managing and optimizing distributed development, and make it available to open-source developers in academic institutions. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) should support the development, maintenance, and coordination of community-based standards such as the Text Encoding Initiative, Encoded Archival Description, Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard, and Visual Resources Data Standards. The National Science Foundation (NSF), the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the IMLS, and other funding agencies should support the development of tools for the analysis of digital content.


8. Create extensive and reusable digital collections.

Implementation: Extensive and reusable digital collections are at the core of the humanities and social science cyberinfrastructure. Scholars must be engaged in the development of these collections. National centers with a focus on particular methods or disciplines can organize a certain amount of scholar-driven digitization. Library organizations and libraries should sponsor discipline-based focus
groups to discuss priorities with respect to digitization. When priorities are established, these should be relayed to the organizers of annual meetings on commercial and nonprofit partnerships, and they should be considered in the distribution of grant funds by federal agencies and private foundations. Funding to support the maintenance and coordination of standards will improve the reusability of
digital collections. The NEA, NEH, and IMLS should work together to promote collaboration and skills development—through conferences, workshops, and/or grant programs—for the creation, management, preservation, and presentation of reusable digital collections, objects, and products. Finally, in light of these requirements and in order to realize the promise of cyberinfrastructure for research and education, the Commission calls for specific investments—not just of money but also of leadership— from scholars and scholarly societies; librarians, archivists, and curators; university provosts and university presses; the commercial sector; government; and private foundations.