Public.Resource.Org Seal of Approval
"Carl Malamud" <>
"Speyer, Ann" <>
"Guttenplan, Lauryn">
RE: opportunity to participate
Tue, 2 Oct 2007 10:18:17 -0400

Dear Mr. Malamud,

Thank you for following up on the progress of the Digital Media Use Working Group. The Working Group continues to meet on creating a pan-Institutional digital media use policy that addresses how digital media is shared and is still in the information gathering stage. The Institution continues to make Digitization a priority as indicated in Acting Secretary Samper's recent address to the National Press Club.

As I mentioned to you in our last correspondence, the Deputy Secretary has been aggressively implementing recommendations from the Pan-Institutional Digitization Steering Committee. Another of the recommendations recently implemented is the establishment of a Central Digitization Office to develop a Digitization Strategic Plan and underlying policies.

With the Smithsonian Institution actually being comprised of multiple museums and research centers there is a large degree of independence from one another in our units. Given this environment, the working group has documented current sharing practices and restrictions based on the membership of the working group, and it is in the process of finalizing a survey to send to all Smithsonian staff in October to capture their opinions, recommendations, and areas of concern regarding the sharing of digital media. The Smithsonian's mission for the "increase and diffusion of knowledge" has different interpretations across the varied disciplines at the Institution that will most likely shape any new policy recommendations.

It is critical to the success of any final recommendation, that we identify and address internal concerns in an open and inclusive manner with all Smithsonian staff. You have very well stated in writing your views on access to Smithsonian digital assets, and the survey will provide us with a better understanding of how far apart, or closely aligned, the Smithsonian staff's views are from your own versus our existing policies. Once the working group receives the survey results it will be better positioned to identify activities and the corresponding timetable.

As you are probably aware, the museum community as a whole has been wrestling with how to provide access to digital media, especially via the Web. Last month Lauryn Guttenplan participated in the annual meeting of Museum Lawyers during which they discussed how museums are grappling specifically with this issue. While there was a lot of interest and opinions around the table, it is evident that policy in this area is very much evolving with museums experimenting with different approaches.

After we are further along in our internal conversation, we will be ready to extend an invitation to you and other interested outside parties, to offer your views and perspectives in a two way conversation. Until we set a date and venue for soliciting outside comment, you or others are welcomed to submit comments to us electronically at any time.

Thanks for your continued interest.

Ann Speyer
Chief Information Officer
Smithsonian Institution


From: Carl Malamud []
Sent: Thu 9/13/2007 7:33 PM
To: Speyer, Ann
Cc: Guttenplan, Lauryn
Subject: Re: opportunity to participate

Dear Ms. Guttenplan and Ms. Speyer -

I was writing to inquire as to how things are going with your Digital Media Use Working Group and whether any determination had been made yet as to a timetable or process for outside parties to submit their input? I've had several inquiries from parties who are interested in putting some time into preparing their comments and wanted to know if there was any indication of the timetable.

In addition to any formal comment process, of course, I'd be more than happy to talk informally with any members of your working group.

Best regards,

Carl Malamud

> Dear Mr. Malamud,
> You may or may not be aware that this is the second
> digitization working group that Deputy Secretary Burke has
> chartered.  About this same time last year, she asked me to
> lead the efforts of a Pan-Institutional Digitization
> Steering Committee which included outside speakers at the
> appropriate time in the process.
> One of the recommendations of this initial committee was to
> establish a group to continue to strategically focus on ways
> to make the Smithsonian's digital assets more widely
> available.  The newly created Digital Media Use Working
> Group will refine existing policy and develop new policy in
> this area.
> As you can imagine, this is a topic of great interest
> throughout the Smithsonian and we are fortunate to have a
> tremendous amount of expertise within the Institution and
> the museum community.  The Working Group will be holding our
> first meeting at the end of this month to formulate our
> goals and prepare a timetable.  Initially, we will be
> dealing with a variety of internal matters, but as we begin
> to address the issues that you have raised in your letter to
> the internet, we intend to invite interested outside
> parties, such as you, to offer your views and perspectives
> to the Working Group.  
> If this working group follows a similar timetable to the
> previous digitization committee, then you should anticipate
> hearing from Lauryn or me sometime this fall. In the
> meantime, of course, if you would like to discuss these
> issues or provide additional comments in writing, please
> feel free to contact us.
> Thanks for your continued interest.
> Ann Speyer
> Chief Information Officer
> Smithsonian Institution
> 202-633-1688
> ________________________________
> From: Carl Malamud []
> Sent: Fri 7/13/2007 6:58 PM
> To: Speyer, Ann; Guttenplan, Lauryn
> Cc: Burke, Steven
> Subject: opportunity to participate
> Dear Ms. Speyer and Ms. Guttenplan:
> A reporter forwarded me the attached announcement from
> Deputy Secretary Burke.  As you know, I had previously
> written to Acting Secretary Samper asking whether
> "outsiders" such as myself might have an opportunity
> to provide comment.
> The reporter who forwarded me this message asked if
> I was participating in the process or if there was some
> other mechanism by which my views were being considered.
> I'm not sure how to answer this journalist and was
> hoping one of you might furnish me with an answer.
> Best regards,
> Carl Malamud