A Cyberinfrastructure for Research and Learning in a Digital Culture

The following statement was published on BU Libraries’ Digital Initiatives and Open Access (DIOA) website in 2010. Its principles still guide much of the work we do at Digital Scholarship Services today. The statement is presented as originally written, with the exception of an updated name for our institutional repository.

In 2019, DIOA became Digital Strategies and Innovations.

Researchers today require environments in which capabilities of the highest level of computing tools are available in an interoperable network. More than just bigger and faster hardware and software, researchers need access to resources, expertise, and support. A cyberinfrastructure allows scholars to focus their intellectual and scholarly energies on the issues that engage them, and to be effective users of new media and new technologies, rather than having to invent them.

The infrastructure of scholarship was built over centuries. It includes diverse collections of primary sources in libraries, archives, and museums; the bibliographies, searching aids, citation systems, and concordances that make that information retrievable; the standards that are embodied in cataloging and classification systems; the journals and university presses that distribute the information; and the editors, librarians, archivists, and curators who link the operation of this structure to the scholars who use it. All of these elements have extensions or analogues in cyberinfrastructure, at least in the cyberinfrastructure that is required for humanities and social sciences. (Our Cultural Commonwealth)

The BU libraries are engaged in building collections, technologies and services to enable and support digital scholarship. As members of the Open Content Alliance the Libraries continue to digitize major portions of its print collection. Boston University’s OpenBU serves as a primary site for collecting and disseminating the intellectual output of the University.