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Engineering a Transportation Information Infrastructure: The Landscape of Information Activities

Slide 1
Engineering A Transportation Information Infrastructure

  • 11 October 2007
  • Today’s Session: “Engineering A Transportation Information Infrastructure”
  • Amanda J. Wilson, National Transportation Library

Slide 2

  1. Announcements
  2. Presentation
  3. Discussion

Slide 3

Just a few of the announcements and updates on current projects made were from:
SLA Transportation Division
TranzInfo (Australia)
Midwest Transportation Knowledge Network
Eastern Transportation Knowledge Network
Western Transportation Knowledge Network
Northwestern University Transportation Library
USDOT Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center Technical Reference Center
University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute Library
Transportation Library Connectivity Pooled Fund Study
Government of Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation Division (Canada)
. . . and more!

Slide 4
Engineering a Transportation Information Infrastructure: The Landscape of Information Activities

  • Amanda J. Wilson
  • Director, National Transportation Library
  • Transportation Librarians Roundtable
  • 11 October 2007

--Good morning, thank you for having me today.

Slide 5

  • Transportation Information Infrastructure
  • Information Activities of Interest
  • Coordinating Efforts at the NTL

Slide 6

--We strengthen the transportation information infrastructure – which I envision as this graphic.
--Never complete
--never perfect
--fitting seamlessly into the broader transportation community
-each component with a specific purpose
-some more developed than others

Slide 7
Transportation Information Infrastructure

  • Built for current and future generations
  • Aim to benefit the universe of potential users
  • Relies on collaboration and balance between central and local needs

-what are the components that would make TII successful, meaning effective, relevant, and sustained?
-my thoughts on the questions, meaning, and/or value associated with each of the following

Slide 8
Transportation Information Infrastructure

  • Vision
  • Needs assessment
  • Institutional commitment
  • Proficient Information professionals
  • Malleable
  • Cooperation
  • Tools and Standards
  • Coordinating body
  • Sustainability
  • Communication

-- Theses are the puzzle pieces which, as I envision, compose the transportation information infrastructure.

--Rather than focus on specific projects, I outlined these 10-12 components necessary for a successful, effective effort into the future

--I will not go into great detail about each component; however I will mention that each of the efforts underway address some combination of these components

Slide 9
NTL Perspective

  • Primary focus is libraries and information centers
  • Broader information community
    • Within transportation
    • In the national and international LIS communities

--NTL’s purview within transportation—as I see it currently and into the future—is the entire information spectrum

--Of course libraries are the primary focus of our efforts, as they are by quantity and training the center for information management within transportation.

--Also, with our location within the Bureau of transportation statistics and within the Federal government, NTL aims to have at least an eye, if not some type of involvement, passive or active, on other transportation information activities and the greater library and information science landscape.

Slide 10
Information at the Speed of Life

--Information reality of our the next generation of transportation practitioners and researchers

--To start, I’d like to highlight Peter Morville’s user experience honeycomb. When I first saw this, it resonated with me and I couldn’t resist highlighting it. He has different versions, but this one is about the different aspects of information John Q. Public values

--To that end, innumerable efforts have harnessed or are attempting to harness the potential of the internet to deliver just this type of information to users, when, where, how, and if they want it.

Slide 11
Harnessing Transportation Information

  • TLCat
  • TRT
  • Scoping Study
  • NTL Digital Repository
  • RITA RD&T Coordination Database
  • UTC Rural Transportation database (Mineta Institute)
  • Value of Information report
  • SR284/NCHRP20-75
  • Data/”Information” peer exchanges
  • TransXML
  • Institutional web sites
  • AASHTO Task Groups

--When I first came to NTL, I focused on familiarizing myself with information efforts in the community and concluded, there are just too many.

--Each of the items listed on this slide, as well as the many, many others not listed, has its place, but how do we frame, shape, and meaningfully benefit from each initiative?

--The next set of slides will highlight some important activities within the US that transportation librarians should be aware of. Further information on all of these initiatives can be found at http://ntl.bts.gov/networking/

Slide 12
NCHRP 20-75
Implementing Transportation Knowledge
Networks Objectives

  • Make a persuasive business case for action – describe the problem to be solved and what will be gained
  • Identify and describe specific products and services for information sharing and access that will appeal to a broad range of stakeholders within and outside of the transportation library and research community
  • Clearly describe a phased approach to full implementation of the recommendations in SR 284
  • Identify funding mechanisms, organizational and staffing requirements
  • Raise the level of awareness of and support for TKN’s

Slide 13
NCHRP20-75 Vision of a Transportation Information Infrastructure

Slide 14
Midwest Transportation Knowledge Network


  • Founded in 2001 with NTL coordination and funding
  • User community defined as RAC region 3
  • NTL funding enabled members to successfully catalog materials and help get member collections in OCLC
  • Web site: www.mtkn.org
  • Developed TLCat with NTL and OCLC - one of the first uses of OCLC’s Group Services product.
  • Is incorporated and in its 8th year of existence.

Upcoming Activities

  • Fall 2007/early 2008:
    Revamping Web site and brochure
  • 2007-2008: T.A.L.E.N.T. Committee will continue to work toward supporting NTL and TKNs for the next reauthorization bill.
  • Fall 2007-2008:
    working with NTL in a liaison role in helping develop other TKNs.

Slide 15
WTKN: Western Transportation Knowledge Network

  • 23 member organizations from 16 of the 18 states in the region: State DOTs, Transit, UTCs, private firm, MPOs
  • Initial teleconference early in 2007
  • Bylaws adopted August 2007
  • Executive Committee election results October 2007
  • Strategic plan for 2008 being developed

Slide 16
Eastern Transportation Knowledge Network


  • NTL Coordinated
  • User community defined as RAC 1 and 2 regions
  • Fluid membership – open to any interested institution

Upcoming Activities

  • 9 November 2007: organizing meeting
  • Early October 2007: invitation to attend and/or to join will be sent
  • September 2007: crafting a prospective member list; planning for November meeting

--The Eastern Transportation Knowledge Network is just beginning to form
--At SLA last June, Ruth, Ken, and Mary Ellen got together and decided they wanted to form a network
--They then asked NTL to coordinate their development; Mary Ellen agreed to host the first meeting in November
--Last week we had an organizing session for the planning meeting

For the 9 November meeting:
--plan is letter of invitation; resolution; follow-up contact from NTL (Nelda and/or Roberto visited each MTKN potential before first meeting)
--remote participation (whether video-, web-, or teleconferencing)

For October:
--letters of invitation will go out
--preparing draft resolution/partnership agreement to be reviewed before and adopted at meeting
--each institution creating a list of assets and needs

Planning for the meeting:
--cost of travel will be borne by states
--resolution or partnership agreement
--outline some near-term and long-term goals and success measures (based on A and N)
--organizational documents
--discussion of funding

Partnering with a Purpose:

Slide 17
AASHTO and CUTC Task Groups

    • Transportation Knowledge Networks
    • Research Coordination and Collaboration
    • Program Quality
  • CUTC
    • Library Task Force

--New initiatives in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Research Advisory Council’s Special Task Groups have a focus or some interest in transportation knowledge networks and library/information services

--The Council of University Transportation Centers is forming a new Library Task Force to focus on how the NTL and other libraries can support UTC’s

--Again, further information about these activities can be found at http://ntl.bts.gov/networking

Slide 18
New Frontier for RITA

  • RITA Administrator, Paul J. Brubaker
    • Research Planning and Investment Control
    • Expanding the Volpe Center
    • Facilitating collaborative environment among UTCs
  • BTS
    • “High-performing results-oriented” organization
    • Focus on developing BTS products
    • Emphasis on web presence and tools

--The Research and Innovative Technology Administration’s (RITA) new Administrator, Paul Brubaker has established new priorities for RITA, three of which are listed above. In each of these three priorities, NTL has a role that will more closely integrate us with the other RITA components

--The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) is the RITA component where the NTL is located. BTS’s focus over the past and coming year is to transform into and operate as a high-performing, results-oriented organization, with a focus on developing BTS products and an emphasis on web technologies

--This Roundtable fits into those goals

Slide 19
Transportation Information Infrastructure

  • Vision
  • Needs assessment
  • Institutional commitment
  • Proficient Information professionals
  • Malleable
  • Cooperation
  • Tools and Standards
  • Coordinating body
  • Sustainability
  • Communication

--The initiatives just discussed are just a few of the information activities occurring within the field that all contribute in some way to the strengthening of the transportation information infrastructure.

--Each initiative addresses a different set of these listed components. NTL, in the flurry of information activities, is most concerned with the “Communication” component. Communication between and among the TKNs, as well as horizontally and vertically within the US, and in 3D across the globe.

Slide 20
Coordination Activities from NTL

  • Center for Information Activities
    • NTL’s Networking Information page
  • Collaborative Workspace for TKNs
    • Collaboratively develop records, discuss topics/issues, and archive in protected, public space
    • GSA’s COLAB workspace

--The next steps in NTLs coordination efforts for these information activities, are the development of a Networking Information page – http://ntl.bts.gov/networking

--The page is just a start and will develop as ETKN, MTKN, and WTKN are brought together by NTL to begin the development of a national network of transportation libraries and information centers

--Additional information will be added to the page as various information activities continue to produce new product and services for the community

--A request from the developing ETKN to coordinate their organization efforts and provide workspace for those who are not able to attend the initial meeting, prompted NTL to investigate existing technological options that would facilitate the process.

--The workspace would need to enable shared development of organizational documents and discussion space in a public forum

--The General Services Administration, who produce usa.gov, provide collaborative workspace software for intergovernmental and other groups.

Features of COLAB include:
Develop documents collaboratively
Private discussion space
Private storage space
Separate platform for all TKNs
Enables working within and across groups organically

Slide 21
Benefits to Approaches

  • Exemplar of cross boundary collaboration
  • Professional development -- LIS community becoming proficient in new technologies and information exchange
  • Another piece of the TII pie

--With these two newest efforts, benefits for all organizations involved are clear:

--The “Networking Information” page provides a central location to learn about major information activities in the transportation community and find more details

--GSA has been using COLAB software for 4 years with success and with other agencies interested, they can push their case to become a broker for this type of software

--As mentioned this earlier, one of RITA’s emerging priorities is to develop a collaborative environment for UTCs, with the NTL as a component. The experience NTL and RITA will gain from collaboration with GSA will benefit the UTC effort.

--Going back to key components of a successful transportation information infrastructure, library and information personnel involved in TKNs will become proficient in practical applications of emerging technologies which will ultimately benefit their organization – if marketed correctly

Slide 22
Continue Building TII Into the Future

Slide 23


Slide 24
Thank you!

  • Next Session: 8 November 2007
  • ”WisDOT iCommons: Redesigning on a Dime”
  • John Cherney, Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Slide 25
We want your feedback!

Please email Bob Cullen, BobC@aashto.org, for the TLR Feedback and Evaluation form.