The Center for Digital Information
in association with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
presents a roundtable

Beyond the PDF

Think Tanks in a New Digital Age

When and Where

Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Time: 10am-12noon

Location: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Horizon Ballroom

1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Map and Directions

Coffee and refreshments will be served.

Note: Due to space restrictions and format, participation in this roundtable is by invitation only. Please contact for more information.

Event Sponsors

This event is made possible through the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Additional logistical support has been provided by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Special thanks to the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for providing space for this event.

About CDI

The Center for Digital Information (CDI) is based in Washington, DC and affiliated with the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. It is funded initially by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Read more about the Center

Event Description

The nearly 6,500 policy research institutions worldwide represent a vital and growing part of our public dialogue on health, education, the environment, the economy, national security, international affairs and global development. However, the digital media environment in which they operate is evolving rapidly. The ongoing development of the web, the swift adoption of smartphones, and the uptake of tablets and e-readers are not only changing the availability of information, but its very form. These technological advances have made entirely new types of information production and consumption possible: interactive graphics and visualizations, mapping tools, online databases, multimedia, and touch-interface smartphone and tablet applications. These developments have sent information providers of all stripes rushing to reinvent their products. As New York Times columnist David Carr puts it: "professionally-generated text, no matter how actionable, no matter how relevant, just isn't going to get it done anymore."

Key Questions
While commercial media are clearly scrambling, how are policy research organizations — longtime purveyors of "professionally-generated text" in the form of reports, whitepapers, books and policy briefs — adapting to the opportunities and challenges of this modern digital age?

What are the best examples of the field going "beyond the PDF document" to create innovative digital products? How common are these examples?

What structural, financial or psychological obstacles stand in the way of digital innovation within the sector?

Does digital innovation matter? Does standing pat with the current set of products diminish the reach, credibility and influence of the field's important work?



Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Jane Harman, Director, President, and CEO


Center for Digital Information
Jeff Stanger, Director

Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program
University of Pennsylvania

James G. McGann, Ph.D., Director

Case Studies

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
David Rejeski, Director, Science and Technology Innovation Program

Pew Research Center
Michael Piccorossi, Director of Digital Strategy

World Bank
Tim Herzog, Open Data Specialist

New America Foundation
Troy Schneider, Director, Media and Technology

Kaiser Family Foundation
Robin Sidel, Associate Director, New Media and Marketing
Evonne Young, Associate Director, Web Development and Production


Jeff Stanger, Moderator

Participating Organizations

Updated February 14, 2012

American Enterprise Institute
Annenberg School for Communication, UPenn
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, USC
Aspen Institute
Atlantic Council
Bipartisan Policy Center
Brookings Institution
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Case Foundation
Cato Institute
Center for a New American Security
Center for American Progress
Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
Center for Digital Information
Center for Global Development
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Civic Ventures
Communications Network
Council on Foreign Relations
Economic Policy Institute
German Marshall Fund of the United States
Heritage Foundation
Institute for Policy Studies
Kaiser Family Foundation
Mathematica Policy Research
New America Foundation
O'Reilly Media
Peterson Institute for International Economics
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project
Population Reference Bureau
RAND Corporation
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center
Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, UPenn
Trust for America's Health
United States Institute of Peace
Washington Post
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
World Bank
World Resources Institute

Comments welcome...