The fall task force meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information took place, as CNI Steering Committee Chair Richard Paul West put it at the opening session, "under very difficult circumstances": Paul Evan Peters, founder and executive director of the coalition, had died suddenly less than three weeks earlier (AL, Jan., p. 69), leaving a daunting void.
To most observers, Peters embodied the coalition: His vision created it, his leadership brought together its diverse constituencies, and his personality infused it. However, if the crowded agenda and high level of discourse demonstrated by the 337 attendees are any indication, the group will carry forward Peters's mission without breaking stride.
CNI is devoted to realizing the promise of high-performance networks and computers for advancing scholarship and intellectual productivity. Its work is conducted by a task force made up of over 200 higher-education institutions, publishers, network service providers, computer companies, library networks and organizations, and public and state libraries.
The theme of the meeting, held December 6-7 in San Francisco, was "Enterprise-Wide Information Strategies" (EWIS), recognizing the need for enterprise-wide as well as departmental approaches to take full advantage of the spectacular growth of networked information resources and the fundamental rethinking of institutional organization and management.
Bruce Guptill, research director for applications of technology at the Gartner Group, addressed the EWIS theme in the meeting's opening session. Guptill, who advises organizations on the use of technology, observed that many companies are launching Web sites due mostly to "peer pressure" and fail to put an appropriate amount of money behind the site. The entire organization needs to understand the importance of the Internet; but to bring this about, he said, "you have to rebuild the organization from the ground up, unfortunately."
In another session, Educom President Robert Heterick addressed the future of the Internet from the higher-education perspective, and Paul Mockapertis of cable-TV-giant TCI's @Home described his firm's Internet service via cable TV.
In one of the meeting's 29 project briefing sessions, CNI Assistant Executive Director Joan Lippincott explained a new CNI initiative focusing on EWIS. The project is looking for exemplary instances of enterprise-wide thinking in four areas: budget, hardware and software infrastructure, technology, and policies and practices. The goal is to develop a set of case studies so that other institutions can follow suit.
Another new CNI initiative deals with assessing academic networked services. Charles McClure of Syracuse …