Centrality of Information

The Centrality of Information

Ensure that the Principles of Excellence are supported by outstanding information technology and information resources.

  • Pervasive deployment of IT. Ensure information technology is pervasively deployed at IU by leveraging and continuing the support of the university’s long-standing and internationally recognized excellence in information technology services and infrastructure.
  • IU libraries. Ensure that IU’s libraries provide access to information in all forms that comprises the record of human knowledge, thought, and creativity for the learning, scholarly, and research communities at IU.

The many and ever-evolving forms of information technology present a continuing opportunity to enhance the work of the university. Pervasive connectivity of devices, sensors, and interactive surfaces—all driven by ever-faster networks—present many opportunities to rethink how students learn and faculty collaborate for research, scholarship, and artistic expression. Access to data, information, knowledge, and real-time streams of activity are already unprecedented in human history. These trends will accelerate, providing new frontiers for discovery and insight. Likewise, these trends enable efficiency in university services and can provide insight for better forecasting in a changing world.

Students working together on a computer

The full potential of these advances can only be realized through holistic strategies for IT, scholarly resources of the libraries, and adaptation to the evolving habits of the IU community. IU should continue its very intentional and highly integrated strategy to invest wisely in the IT and information services that further its mission. It should do so in ways that simultaneously reflect good value for present needs and position the university to rigorously compete at the highest levels for research funding.

IU’s first IT strategic plan, developed in 1998 and subsequently renewed under the direction of then-vice president for IT Michael McRobbie, built a sustainable infrastructure of information technology and services across the university. This earned IU recognition as a high performance computing and networking powerhouse. The current plan, Empowering People: Indiana University’s Strategic Plan for Information Technology, adopted in 2009, continues to build on IU’s IT infrastructure, but goes beyond architecture and services. It calls for IT investments that support and align with IU’s strategic objectives, its human skills, organizational structure, operational capabilities, and existing areas of leadership. It also takes a human-centric approach to developing and implementing the IT systems and applications that enable the IU community to fully and creatively use IU’s IT resources. It also focuses on developing a few key areas in which IU can achieve true distinction; e.g., accelerating IT-intensive research, and medical and health care education.

For centuries, a research library’s function was to serve as a storehouse of information and to assist in the discovery of that information through selection, acquisition, cataloging, curation, and consultation with researchers. Today, while the development and preservation of collections remains paramount, changes in the information landscape have shifted the flow of knowledge, replacing the model of the repository with a dynamic information exchange. The traditional role has not been diminished, but these responsibilities now complement traditional roles in the process, production, and publication of scholarship. To participate in scholarly exchange, researchers not only require in-depth collections of published resources, but also state-of-the-art self-service search tools and robust technologies and services that support the communication of scholarship throughout all phases of its development. Students, meanwhile, must be taught to navigate and evaluate this vast universe of data. They also need workspaces that accommodate both traditional and emerging forms of knowledge acquisition. IU is committed to libraries that fully leverage the opportunities of this digital age.

Student ascending circular stairway at IU Kokomo's library

In 2013, IU announced the establishment of the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative (MDPI), with total funding of $15 million over the next five years. The goal of this initiative is extremely ambitious: to digitize, preserve, and make universally available (consistent with copyright or other legal restrictions) by IU’s Bicentennial all of the perishable media objects judged important by experts on all campuses. This initiative is being carried out as part of a public/private partnership and leverages IU’s decades-long investment in information technology infrastructure .

The transformation of universities from the physical to the virtual world of digitization is both essential and irreversible. IU has been a leader in this area, and with MDPI will remain a leader. There is increasing interest in this area, not only in academia but commercially, as the gravity of the preservation situation with such material becomes more widely recognized. Hence, we expect that the initiative will make IU truly the preeminent leader in this field, and thus open up many new opportunities for partnership and collaboration. This initiative will provide outstanding opportunities for education and research in the School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, in the new Media School, and in the critically acclaimed IU Cinema.

Bicentennial Action Items

  1. IU will complete the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative.
  2. IU will develop a detailed university-wide Digitization Master Plan and begin its implementation.
  3. IU will create a robust set of easily accessible services to store, preserve, and provide access to digital collections in all formats; support their use in research, teaching, and learning; and support reuse of research data and work products in all formats.

Continuing Priorities

  • Ensure that IU continues to provide an outstanding, flexible, and secure IT infrastructure for students, faculty, and staff
  • Invest in cyberinfrastructure for education and research that emphasizes flexible and scalable high speed computation, massive data storage, and extensive high-speed network connectivity that enables education and research
  • Implement Empowering People: IU’s Strategic Plan for IT, with particular focus on systems for the use of institutional data, supporting student success, and facilitating academic processes
  • Maintain IU’s leadership role in network management and cybersecurity in Indiana, nationally, and internationally
  • Evolve IU’s approaches to data and systems in ways that enable best practices across the university
  • Align technology-based library and information services with physical library spaces and services
  • Improve and adapt library services to meet the evolving needs of students and faculty and fit with users’ workflows for teaching, learning, and research
  • Deliver and maintain contemporary enterprise systems to support operational effectiveness and efficiency with a renewed emphasis on analytics for decision support
  • Support leadership role in sustainable and energy-efficient computing