Monday, November 13, 2017

Bracing for Impact: Smithsonian Digitization Fair 2017

Bracing for Impact: Smithsonian Digitization Fair 2017

The Smithsonian Institution's Digitization Program Office organized the Institution's Digitization Fair on 18-19 October 2017 in the S. Dillon Ripley Center in Washington, DC. The theme of this year's fair was "Bracing For Impact". The fair explored how digitized collections can affect lives in significant and measurable ways by:

  • Showcasing examples where digitized collections have initiated creativity, innovation and change in some area of human endeavor;
  • Exploring ways museums, archives and libraries can maximize the impact of their digitized collections; and
  • Investigating ways museums, archives and libraries can measure the impact of their digitized collections

I participated on day two during the panel, Facilitating Impact: Open Access. My talk, “'The Gift of Time': Impact through Open: The Biodiversity Heritage Library" spoke to the importance of providing open access to scientific and cultural property when not impeded by legitimate legal or other concerns.


Dr. David Skorton, Secretary, Smithsonian Institution, provided a welcome to participants and attendees and was followed by an introduction by Diane Zorich, Director, Digitization Program Office. The first day opened with a keynote by Brian Mathews, Vice President, Platform Engineering, Autodesk, Inc. and was followed by a responder panel composed of:

  • Moderator: Victoria Portway, Head of Digital Experiences, National Air & Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
  • Desi Gonzalez, Manager of Digital Engagement, The Andy Warhol Museum
  • John Hessler, Curator of the Jay I. Kislak Collection of the Archaeology & History of the Early Americas, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

The remainder of the first day was comprised of the following panels:

Panel One: Showcasing Impact in Art, Education and Research

  • Moderator: Effie Kapsalis, Chief of Content and Communications Strategy, Smithsonian Institution Archives
  • Corey Kilbane, Chemistry Teacher and Science Innovation Coach, William Penn Charter School
  • Alan Newman, Chief, Digital Media, National Gallery of Art
  • Michael Weinberg, General Counsel, Shapeways


Panel Two: Showcasing Impact with Emerging Platforms

  • Moderator: Elizabeth Neely, Senior Director Integrated Content, American Alliance of Museums
  • Paul Frandsen, Research Data Scientist, Biodiversity, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Smithsonian Institution
  • Meghan McCarthy, Project Lead, NIH 3D Print Exchange
  • Rolf Mueller, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech


Panel Three: Manufacturing Impact

  • Moderator: Shannon Perich, Curator, Photographs, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
  • Josh Hadro, Deputy Director, New York Public Library Labs
  • Leah Weinryb Grohsgal, Senior Program Officer and National Digital Newspaper Program Coordinator, National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Gerald "Stinger" Guala, Branch Chief Eco-Science Synthesis, Director Integrated Taxonomic Information System, United States Geological Survey

Panel Four: Measuring Impact

  • Moderator: Stephanie Norby, Director, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
  • Ricardo Punzalan, Assistant Professor, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland
  • Madlyn Runburg, Director of Education Initiatives, Natural History Museum of Utah
  • Harry Verwayen, Deputy Director, Europeana

The day closed with a Closing Keynote Address: Open Access Oceans: Framing Stories for Impact by Erika Woolsey, CEO & Co-Founder, The Hydrous

The second day started with a keynote by Dr. Ian Owens, Director of Science, Natural History Museum, London. Dr. Owens, in his talk, "The New Enlightenment," spoke on the importance of natural history collections and how digitization will assist and change the ways collections are used. He also pointed out the importance of the Biodiversity Heritage Library as a component of these collections. A responder panel built on Owens talk:

  • Moderator: Maureen Kearney,  Associate Director for Science, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
  • Catherine Eagleton, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
  • Scott Miller, Deputy Under Secretary for Collections & Interdisciplinary Support, Smithsonian Institution

This was followed by panels on the following topics:

Panel One: Showcasing Impact

  • Moderator: Mark Kornmann, Director, Office of Public Engagement, National Air & Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
  • Laura Coyle, Head of Cataloging and Digitization, National Museum of African American History & Culture, Smithsonian Institution
  • Karen Lemmey, Curator of Sculpture, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution
  • Stephanie Norby, Director, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
  • Matilda McQuaid, Museum Curator, Textiles, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Panel Two: Facilitating Impact: Open Access

  • Moderator: Anne Collins Goodyear, Co-Director, Bowdoin College Museum of Art
  • Rachel Allen, Deputy Director, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution
  • Lauryn Guttenplan, Associate General Counsel, Smithsonian Institution
  • Martin Kalfatovic, Associate Director, Smithsonian Libraries; Program Director Biodiversity Heritage Library, Smithsonian Institution

Panel Three: Resourcing for Digitization Impact

  • Moderator: Al Horvath, Under Secretary for Finance and Administration, Smithsonian Institution
  • Meghan Ferriter, National Digital Initiatives, Library of Congress
  • Robert Horton, Asst. Director, Collections & Archives, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
  • Jaap Otte, Senior Gift Officer, Smithsonian Institution
  • William Tompkins, Director, National Collections Program, Smithsonian Institution

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