A Peek Into Cloud Services: NISO Webinar on Cloud and Web Services for Libraries

On Wednesday afternoon I attended a webinar hosted by NISO about Cloud and Web Services for Libraries. For all of our digital content that we intend to preserve, we need secure and compliant storage. My project for MIT Libraries involves looking into digital preservation within the context of MIT Libraries and the current state of storage in the digital collections. I will be working as part of a team to explore, evaluate and researching the various archival/preservation storage options out in the ‘verse that would work for MIT Libraries and the Digital Preservation Unit. One of the aspects I am exploring are cloud services in relation to preservation storage, and thus the reason viewing this webinar was attractive to me.


There were three panelists, which included:

  • John “JG” Chirapurath is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of ProQuest Workflow Solutions.
  • Kurt Ewoldsen is the Manager, Infrastructure and Applications Support, within the California Digital Library at the University of California.
  • Heather Lea Moulaison is an Assistant Professor at the iSchool (School of Information Science & Learning Technologies), at the University of Missouri.

Each of the panelist had a different ideas and spins on the ways clouds had been, and can be, utilized by their, or other, institutions.

John “JG” Chirapurath 

“Utilizing the Cloud to Empower Research Efforts,” was about…exactly what the title said. It was a really good presentation and introduction to cloud services through research databases. He gave me a lot of information I didn’t know about clouds. I liked that he talked about linked data and gave an example of it, (Facebook as a Social Cloud). Truthfully, I have been a bit “ehh, huh…” about linked data for a while, so it was nice to get some context.

Kurt Ewoldsen

His presentation, “Migrating CDL Infrastructure to Amazon Web Services,” was more technical and was only about the AWS (Amazon Web Services) Cloud. His information on why cloud services should be considered was very interesting, and a good checklist for what you should look for when considering a cloud services: cost, agility, and scalability! I would have liked to have seen statistics from other vendors that Kurt and his department had considered so I could understand a little better why he choose AWS as a vendor.

Heather Lea Moulaison 

“Surveying the Horizon: Preservation and the Cloud” had more to do with preservation. She talked about the challenges and opportunities for using the various cloud services for preservation. One thing I found especially interesting was when she talked about exit strategies, the “what ifs.” Thinking about the “what ifs” give me the wiggins, but it’s necessary. She gave several questions to ask ourselves when are considering whether a cloud service is right for us: What happens if service provider become obsolete, how do you get your data back? How can you understand the service and make the best of your options? Important questions, but dude…now I’ve got the wiggins.

All in all, the presentations were informative on many fronts and I am glad I was given the opportunity to listen to the panelists. Thanks for reading!


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