From Hangingtogether.org [with emphasis added]:
In Using up our words ... Jim Michalko, the president of RLG, summarizes the highlights of the recent Association of Research Libraries membership meeting last week and a forum titled Managing Digital Assets: Strategic Issues for Research Libraries that ARL co-sponsored with CNI, CLIR and DLF:
The highlight of the ARL meeting was a valedictory speech by William Bowen, President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He spoke about Portico (a Mellon initiative to create a long-term archive for e-journals and other digital resources) and other Mellon initiatives. His speech covered the history and trajectory of the Mellon initiatives that have spun off as independent entities - JSTOR, ARTstor, Ithaka, and Portico. For me the most interesting bits of the talk were his high-level concluding observations which he titled “From 36,000 feet”. I’d urge you to take a look at them. These concluding remarks are important observations for our community even without knowing the Mellon context. Read them.
The highlight of the Managing Digital Assets forum was the opening keynote by Don Waters (Program Officer, Scholarly Communications, Mellon Foundation) ... The most recent version of the talk is now on the ARL server.
Some things that struck me in hearing this version of the speech were the decisiveness with which a future for Open Access journal publishing was dismissed, the firmness in his conclusion that scholarly information resources must be aggregated to fulfill their digital potential, and the absolute conviction with which he warned institutions that they will need to get comfortable with “outsourcing” what they used to hold closely. This last point echoed some of Bill Bowen’s comments during the earlier meeting about the need to get past library and institutional thinking to consideration of system-wide issues and solutions. And as Don made his points he also made it clear that the secrecy and nature of the deals struck by the Google5 universities may represent a squandering of the public trust that they built up over many decades ...
Jim concludes that "the LAM [Libraries, Archives and Museums] community is in danger of using up all its good words. We’ve devalued (or had devalued by others) pretty much all the ones that are useful - library, archive, repository, asset, etc. Substantive interactions on these topics now need to be prefaced by a vocabulary calibration which will then be good only for the duration of that discussion."
And on 'the need to get past library and institutional thinking', "the call for system-wide action which echoed across the meeting days does not necessarily require new organizations or institutions. There are a number already on the landscape that are, in fact, controlled by the community. With leadership, will, and perhaps a bit of funding, these organizations can effectively discharge some of the requirements for the future that the community is now identifying." [Read the complete post]