Digital Commons as a Public Good
Round Table - 60 Min
Throughout the history of the Internet, as well as within processes and debates on Internet Governance, libraries have been recognized as key players in promoting access and inclusion within the information society. Libraries were also strongly mentioned within WSIS documents, including the Tunis Agenda, as means for inclusion and public access to the Internet. Specialized libraries, especially digital collections and repositories, can play an important role in the democratization of information, memory preservation, transparency, collaboration and capacity building in a particular area. Digital collections on IG themes are essential in supporting decision-making, efficiency, and improvement of multistakeholder Internet models and processes. They are key sources in the efforts to build a global commons for digital cooperation and innovation of inclusive digital products and services regarding the use and development of the Internet. The Internet governance community needs to continuously work cooperatively on developing policies, standards, and tools in this area. In this sense, we believe the Internet Governance Forum is a leading global arena within which we may deal with such topics, especially taking into account that the IGF has, since 2011, a Dynamic Coalition focused on the role played by libraries (DC on Public Access in Libraries, DC-PAL). One of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee – CGI.br's missions is to produce and disseminate information. All CGI.br publications are made available in open access formats. Printed copies of these publications are also distributed free of charge to libraries, universities, civil society organizations, companies and training courses across the country, and also to some foreign organizations upon request. In order to reach a wider audience and democratize access to these materials, CGI.br team has been working on structuring a collection and a library service that bring together a set of documentation and information dissemination practices. In 2017, we first presented to the IGF community what we were planning and deploying within the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee – CGI.br in terms of documentation, memory and collections in Internet Governance. CGI.br, through NIC.br, has made efforts to develop an Internet governance collection that encompasses both digital and physical resources. The collection draws on an institutional policy that seeks to document, preserve and disseminate CGI.br knowledge products. The project holds a strategic dimension for CGI.br's attributions on sharing information on Internet Governance to all stakeholders and the general public. Specifically, the project aims to serve researchers, students and practitioners. We also hope to achieve cooperative work with libraries and other institutions. We started to appropriately work on a specific Internet governance collection as an umbrella project, in which we streamlined and deployed three pillars: documentation, publications, and a physical collection focused on IG. The main goal was to have a specific IG collection to support, first, the internal intellectual activities, and then, to scale that to be open to the local interested community. Documentation and publications are already common activities and we do put them available for a multitude of purposes and uses. Sorting all the contents and codifying appropriately were the most pressing challenges, those of which we decided to tackle in a way that physical and digital materials are well integrated and linked, so that we can extract the most from the available material. Five years after the beginning of this process, we come back to share results with the IGF community, and present to a broader audience how the project is performing, the news, the remaining gaps, the plans, so that we can also receive some feedback and ideas in an overall discussion with the audience. Based on practical examples from CGI.br's collection project, the open forum will explore possibilities, challenges, and trends in digital collections design in the Internet governance domain, such as digital infrastructure, metadata standards, subject classification, and knowledge organization issues, such as software choices, content and platform integration, best standards to use, as well as categorization challenges we faced within the activities. The project has raised significant reflections related to the challenges of organizing, preserving, and accessing knowledge in the Internet governance domain. This open forum represents a valuable opportunity for us to share our experiences and also receive feedback from the IGF audience. We expect that the session can engage the IGF community committed to developing digital collections, and bring contributions to an in-depth discussion on best practices and cooperative solutions for sharing knowledge in Internet governance.
The session will be separated in three main segments: opening, interventions, and debate with the audience. The first segment will count on a formal opening by the organizer, with a basic framing for the session and some operational guidance. The second segment will consist of individual interventions by speakers (max. 10 min each). The last segment will consist of a debate with the audience. For this final part, questions from the Q&A will be gathered by the online moderator and given to the onsite moderator, who will select and put them to the speakers. Finally, the moderator will direct audience and the speakers to their final considerations or conclusions. It is important to highlight that during the session the onsite moderator will be responsible for organizing the interventions and interacting with the speakers to ensure that the goals of the session will be sought appropriately. The online moderator will be the one taking care of the flow within all the online tools involved with the session, as well as read, select and guarantee that the onsite moderator will be aware of questions and comments received by the remote audience (Zoom Chat and Q&A, Hashtags in social networks like Twitter, among others). Moreover, a proper interaction between online and physical audience will be ensured by the onsite moderator. Other tools, such as polls and similar may be implemented during the session. The team involved with this proposal intends to be present, onsite, in Kyoto, which will facilitate interactions and logistics. The rapporteur will make sure to capture all the highlights and critical information of the session so as to list key takeaways for the short report and consolidate a further final report to be delivered to the IGF Secretariat.
🔒NIC.br / CGI.br
Hartmut Glaser, NIC.br / CGI.br (Moderator), technical community, GRULAC Jean Carlos Ferreira dos Santos, NIC.br / CGI.br (Speaker), technical community, GRULAC Amanda Franco, NIC.br / CGI.br (Rapporteur), technical community, GRULAC Luiza Affonso Ferreira Mesquita, NIC.br / CGI.br (Remote Moderator), technical community, GRULAC
Jean Carlos Ferreira dos Santos, NIC.br / CGI.br (Speaker), technical community, GRULAC
Hartmut Glaser, NIC.br / CGI.br (Moderator), technical community, GRULAC
Luiza Affonso Ferreira Mesquita, NIC.br / CGI.br (Remote Moderator), technical community, GRULAC
Amanda Franco, NIC.br / CGI.br (Rapporteur), technical community, GRULAC
Targets: SDG 4 (quality education) calls to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Digital collections on Internet governance also contribute to achieving the quality of education as they provide educational resources to teach essential knowledge and skills to students and enable them to actively participate in the digital society. SDG 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructures) calls to “build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”. Digital collections themselves are also digital infrastructures that support innovation and foster collaboration processes, enabling access to knowledge and information in a more facilitated manner, hence directly interacting with people’s lives in the Digital Era. Building a digital collection is also a process that demands constant innovation in order to keep track of digital transformations, protocols, and, in our case, the dynamics of open source models.
Libraries play an important role in providing access to knowledge. CGI.br has been working on implementing a library and many outreach initiatives that can inspire other organizations to make information on Internet governance more accessible.
Controlled vocabularies are essential resources for organizing and retrieving information and data on Internet Governance. Regarding this, artificial Intelligence and machine learning tools can be used in order to automatizing taxonomies.
The IGF space for experts and stakeholders to share insights, best practices, and challenges related to building and maintaining collections in Internet governance.
Stakeholders need to cooperate more on building collections on Internet Governance. One essential area of collaboration is the development of taxonomies and vocabularies specific to Internet Governance.
The Open Forum "CGI.br’s Collection on Internet Governance: 5 years later" was presented at IGF-2023 in order to continue the discussion that began in 2017 with the Open Forum titled "Memory and documentation in Internet Governance: The challenge of building collections". It had an audience of 12 people and saw five interactions with the audience.
The moderator Vinicius W.O. Santos provided context by explaining that the earlier open forum was co-organized with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and focused on documentation and preserving institutional information. Additionally, the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br) team shared its initial efforts to create a specialized library in Internet governance.
The Speaker Jean Carlos Ferreira reported on the main activities and progress made since the last Open Forum about the CGI.br collection. He highlighted actions taken within the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br) and The Brazilian Network Information Center (NIC.br) related to producing and sharing information on Internet governance in Brazil.
The presentation mentioned the wide range of materials produced by CGI.br and NIC.br, including books, guides, reports, CGI.br meeting minutes, resolutions, technical notes, and other promotional materials.
Ferreira described the main pillars of CGI.br's collection: 1) Documentation of CGI.br activities; 2) Publications; and 3) Specialized Physical Library. The project also includes the development of a digital repository that will include all materials from the Brazilian IGF.
Regarding the initiative's challenges, the presentation raised the need to build a multilingual Internet Governance vocabulary for standardized document indexing. Another highlighted challenge referred to implementing and maintaining robust, though complex, open-source tools that facilitate integration with other collections and collaboration with other organizations.
The moderator emphasized the importance of the session, as information organization and dissemination in the Internet Governance area are seldom discussed but vital.
Comments from the audience pointed out the significance of CGI.br's collections as a fundamental role in strengthening the community and knowledge development on Internet Governance in Brazil. One participant drew attention to artificial intelligence and machine learning in document indexing and designing taxonomies. Another participant also mentioned the possibility of using "language models" for term extraction to build a taxonomy. A third participant inquired about lessons learned during the project and tips for institutions interested in implementing similar initiatives.
The speaker and the audience discussed the need to build an Internet Governance taxonomy for better information organization. Developing this taxonomy is a challenge faced by the Internet Governance community due to the diversity of topics and specializations within this field. Therefore, it is essential to bring together the librarian community, the Internet technical community, and other stakeholders to discuss and create an adequate vocabulary and taxonomy for the Internet Governance area.
The session featured comments from Mr. Winston Roberts, representing the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), who mentioned that IFLA is involved in the Internet Governance process, participating as one of the multistakeholder communities. He pointed out the critical role that Internet Governance plays in delivering library services and disseminating information. He emphasized the importance of collaboration and cooperation between libraries and the Internet technical community. He discussed the update of IFLA's Internet Manifesto, encouraging participants to reach out to IFLA and its regional representations in Latin America and the Caribbean for more information.
In conclusion, the open forum fostered an important discussion on the need for collaboration and dialogue within the Internet Governance community to create a taxonomy that addresses Internet Governance topics. It underscored the importance of CGI.br's collections in strengthening knowledge development within the Internet Governance community.