Coalition for Networked Information

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CNI: Coalition for Networked Information
Formation1990 (1990)
FounderPaul Evan Peters
TypeNon-profit organization
PurposeDedicated to supporting the transformative promise of digital information technology for the advancement of scholarly communication and the enrichment of intellectual productivity.
Headquarters21 Dupont Cir NW # 600, Washington, D.C. 20036
Coordinates38°54′32″N 77°02′38″W / 38.908861°N 77.043809°W / 38.908861; -77.043809Coordinates: 38°54′32″N 77°02′38″W / 38.908861°N 77.043809°W / 38.908861; -77.043809
MethodsProgram Plan[1]
Membership (2015-2016)
Official language
Executive Director
Clifford Lynch
Associate Executive Director
Joan Lippincott
Steering Committee[3]
Parent organization
Association of Research Libraries, Educause
Staff (2015)

The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) is an organization whose mission is to promote networked information technology as a way to further the advancement of intellectual collaboration and productivity.


The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), a joint initiative of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and EDUCAUSE, promotes the use of digital information technology to advance scholarship and education. In establishing the Coalition under the leadership of founding Executive Director Paul Evan Peters, these sponsor organizations sought to broaden the community’s thinking beyond issues of network connectivity and bandwidth to encompass digital content and advanced applications to create, share, disseminate, and analyze such content in the service of research and education.[4] CNI works on a broad array of issues related to the development and use of digital information in the research and education communities.[5]

CNI fosters connections and collaboration between library and information technology communities, representing the interests of a wide range of member organizations from higher education, publishing, networking and telecommunications, information technology, government agencies, foundations, museums, libraries, and library organizations.[6] Based in Washington, DC, CNI holds semi-annual membership meetings that serve as a bellwether for digital information issues and projects.[7] CNI also hosts invitational conferences, co-sponsors related meetings and conferences, issues reports, advises government agencies and funders, and supports a variety of networked information initiatives.


In 1990, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Educom, and CAUSE joined together to form CNI to create a collaborative project focused on high speed networking that would integrate the interests of academic and research libraries (ARL) and computing in higher education (Educom and CAUSE). Educom and CAUSE consolidated their organizations in 1998 to form EDUCAUSE, which is now one half of the partnership that oversees CNI. Structurally, CNI is a program of its founding associations with administrative oversight provided by ARL; it is not a legally separate entity. CNI’s oversight is provided by the boards and CEOs of the founding organizations, and a steering committee guides its program.[5]

Paul Evan Peters was the founding executive director; Joan Lippincott, also joined CNI as the associate executive director at that time. In 1997, Clifford Lynch assumed the role of executive director, and continues to serve in that capacity as of 2013. CNI’s program has included projects in the areas of architectures and standards for networked information, scholarly communication, economics of networked information, Internet technology and infrastructure, teaching and learning, institutional and professional implications of the networked environment, and government information on the Internet.[8]

Central themes[edit]

Developing and managing networked content

The Coalition has played a central role in ensuring that the network richly engages the needs of scholarship, teaching and learning. We bring together many diverse groups that create and manage content, and work with these communities to advance the deployment and stewardship of networked information resources. Changes in scholarly practices (particularly those shorthanded by “e-science” or “e-research”) require a close and continuing examination of information creation, aggregation, exchange, reuse, and preservation throughout the research and education community and society broadly; these developments, and the evolving roles of higher education and cultural memory institutions in facilitating and supporting them are a central part of the CNI agenda. Working within these contexts and others, CNI furthers the development of economic, policy, social and legal frameworks to sustain the creation and management of digital information and facilitate its access.[9]

Transforming organization, professions, and individuals

The pervasiveness of ubiquitously accessible digital information is transforming institutions, professions, and the practices of learning and scholarship. CNI focuses on the unprecedented need for collaboration among libraries, information technology and instructional technology groups, faculty, museums, archives, university presses, and other units in order to achieve success in this environment. In addition, we promote new alliances and partnerships with publishers, information technology and network service providers, scholarly societies, government, and other sectors. Organizations must understand their constituencies and adapt their services and facilities to current needs; they must develop and share new strategies, policies, and best practices. Professions need to develop new competencies and enter into new dialogues that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. CNI seeks to facilitate these collaborations and dialogues and to help professions and institutions work together in program strategy formulation.[9]

Building technology standards and infrastructure

The networked information environment relies on the development and deployment of standards and infrastructure components in order to enable the creation, discovery, use, and management of digital information on the Internet. The ability to use collections of resources in a unified, consistent fashion is essential and requires a continuing focus on interoperability of services. At the same time, promising new technologies need to be explored, assessed and tested, and sometimes adapted to the needs of the CNI community. No one institution acting alone can build the needed infrastructure or explore the full range of new technologies as they become available; it requires a coordinated, community-wide effort that also reaches out to other communities, such as the world of e-research. CNI seeks to highlight links between technology and policies at all levels, to offer a context for collaborative experiments and test beds, and to serve as a focal point for sharing knowledge about new technologies.[9]


  1. ^ "CNI Program Plan". Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  2. ^ "CNI Membership". Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  3. ^ "CNI Steering Committee". Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  4. ^ West, Richard P. (July 2009). "The Coalition for Networked Information and the Rewards of Risk Taking". portal: Libraries and the Academy. 9:3 (FESTSCHRIFT Honoring Duane E. Webster Executive Director, Association of Research Libraries 1988–2008): 317–325.
  5. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, entry on CNI (PDF). Boca Raton: CRC Press. 2010. pp. 561–569. ISBN 9780849397127.
  6. ^ "CNI Members". Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  7. ^ "CNI Membership Meetings". Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  8. ^ Coalition for Networked Information. "History of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI)". Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  9. ^ a b c CNI Program Plan, CNI.

External links[edit]