Grants: Digging into Data Challenge from JISC, NEH, NSF, and SSHRC

The Joint Information Systems Committee, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council have announced The Digging into Data Challenge.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The Digging into Data Challenge encourages humanities and social science research using large-scale data analysis, challenging scholars to develop international partnerships and explore vast digital resources, including electronic repositories of books, newspapers, and photographs to identify new opportunities for scholarship.

Applicants will form international teams from at least two of the participating countries. Winning teams will receive grants from two or more of the funding agencies and, one year later, will be invited to present their work at a special conference. These teams, which may be composed of scholars and scientists, will be asked to demonstrate how data mining and data analysis tools currently used in the sciences can improve humanities and social science scholarship. The hope of this competition is that these projects will serve as exemplars to the field and encourage new, international partnerships among scholars, computer scientists, information scientists, librarians, and others. . . .

In order to apply, interested applicants must first submit a letter of intent by March 15, 2009. Final applications will be due July 15, 2009.

Grant Award: Improving Student Learning of Advanced Digital Technologies in an Online Laboratory

The University of Arizona's School of Information Resources and Library Science has been awarded a $539,686 grant (matching: $327,615) by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to fund its three-year "Improving Student Learning of Advanced Digital Technologies in an Online Laboratory: A Research Approach" project.

Here's an excerpt from "Library Students to Get 'Leading-Edge' Training Thanks to Federal Grant":

The UA school's partners are the UA Libraries, UA University Information and Technology Services, the Harvard University Herbaria and the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Each of the partner institutions will provide SIRLS with information that then will be recorded and catalogued, then developed into databases—with SIRLS students responsible for these tasks. So, instead of simply having Web sites that simulate the work they would be doing as professionals, the students will have the actual software and other tools to perform more complex work.

SIRLS will use VMWare Lab Manager software—which is quite popular in industry—as the program’s platform to build a virtual online laboratory. "This grant gives us the infrastructure we need to really let us create practical and realistic exercises for students," said Botticelli, also the co-principal investigator on the grant.

Five TexTreasures Digitization Grants Awarded

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has awarded digitization grants to five TexShare member libraries.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

TSLAC received 28 TexTreasures grant proposals. The exciting projects that have been funded are:

  1. "Houston Oral History Project" ($17,474)—The Houston Public Library is partnering with Mayor Bill White to preserve and make the video-recordings of significant Houstonians available on the web.
  2. "Early Texas Newspapers: 1829-1861" ($24,637)—The University of North Texas Libraries and the Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin will partner to microfilm, digitize, and provide free public access to the earliest Texas newspapers held by the Center for American History.
  3. "The Witliff Collections" ($20,000)—The project creates an online exhibit accessing the primary source materials of researcher Dick J. Reavis held by the Southwestern Writers Collection at the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University about the siege of the Branch Davidians at Mount Carmel outside of Waco in 1993.
  4. "Austin History Center Glass Plate Negatives" ($12,889)—The Austin History Center, a division of the Austin Public Library, will digitize the complete Hubert Jones collection of 471 glass plate negatives containing subjects local to Austin and Texas.
  5. "Tejano Voices Project" ($20,000)—The University of Texas at Arlington Library will digitize and describe 60 of the 174 oral history interviews with notable Tejanos and Tejanas from across Texas conducted in 1992-2003 by Dr. Jose Angel Gutierrez, associate professor of political science at UT Arlington.

National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies to Be Established

A National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies will be established as part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (see Sec. 802).

Here's an excerpt from the Digital Promise press release on its home page:

The new program is entitled the "National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies." It is a Congressionally originated 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation located within the Department of Education. It will have a nine-member independent Board of Directors appointed by the Secretary of Education from nominations by members of Congress. Grants and contracts will be awarded on merit, and policies will be developed following the tested procedures of NSF and NIH. Given its status as a non-profit, independent corporation, the Center will be able to receive grants, contracts, and philanthropic contributions, as well as federal appropriations. . . .

Our next challenge is to secure FY09 appropriations for the Center. Because of the delay in passing the Higher Education Act, it was not possible for appropriations of the, until now, unauthorized National Center to be included in the Labor, HHS or Education funding bills that were passed in Committee in June. It is widely expected that final appropriations for FY09 will not be enacted until early next year. We are working hard to have funding for the National Center included in final appropriations legislation. We are requesting $50 million for FY09.

According to the About Digital Promise page one of the functions of the center will be to "commission pre-competitive research and fund the development of prototypes to . . . Digitize America’s collected memory stored in our nation’s universities, libraries, museums and public television archives to make these materials available anytime and anywhere."

NEH/DFG Bilateral US/German Humanities Digitization Grants

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) have issued a call for bilateral US/German humanities digitization grant proposals.

Here's an excerpt from the call:

These grants provide funding for up to three years of development in any of the following areas:

  • new digitization projects and pilot projects;
  • the addition of important materials to existing digitization projects; and
  • the development of related infrastructure to support international digitization work and the use of those digitized resources.

Collaboration between U.S. and German partners is a key requirement for this grant category.

Recipients of the JISC/NEH Transatlantic Digitization Collaboration Grants Announced

The new Office of Digital Humanities of the National Endowment for the Humanities announced the first five recipients of the of the JISC/NEH Transatlantic Digitization Collaboration Grants yesterday.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The announcement was made by NEH Chairman Bruce Cole during an event at the Folger Shakespeare Library. . . . A total of five projects received over $600,000 in funding. . . .

Inaugurated last year as part of the Endowment’s Digital Humanities Initiative, the JISC/NEH Transatlantic Digitization Collaboration Grant program is supported by both the NEH and the Higher Education Funding Council for England acting through the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). These grants provide combined funding of up to $240,000 for one year of development in the following areas: new digitization projects and pilot projects, the addition of important materials to existing digitization projects, or the development of infrastructure (either technical "middleware," tools, or knowledge-sharing) to support U.S.-England digitization work. Each project is sponsored by both an American and an English institution, whose activities will be funded by NEH and JISC respectively.

The formation of the Endowment’s Office of Digital Humanities (ODH) also was announced during the event. In 2006, the NEH launched the Digital Humanities Initiative, a program encouraging and supporting projects that utilize or study the impact of digital technology on research, education, preservation, and public programming in the humanities. With the creation of ODH, the initiative is being made permanent as an office within the NEH. ODH will continue the work of the initiative and will help to coordinate the Endowment’s efforts in the area of digital scholarship.

A complete list of the projects announced can be found below:

The Folger Shakespeare Library and the University of Oxford, with the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities at the University of Maryland and the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham, plan to create the Shakespeare Quartos Archive, a freely-accessible, high-resolution digital collection of the seventy-five quarto editions of William Shakespeare's plays. The project will also develop an interactive interface and toolset for the detailed study of the quartos, with full-functionality applied to all thirty-two copies of one play, Hamlet, held at participating institutions, including the British Library, the University of Edinburgh Library, the Huntington Library, and the National Library of Scotland. ($119,598)

The Internet Archive in the United States and the Oxford Internet Institute and Hanzo in the United Kingdom plan to develop procedures and tools to improve the effectiveness of humanities research on the Web. This research and development effort promises to yield superior methods for indexing and analyzing the textual parts of larger digital collections, more focused browsing ("crawling") of the Web, and unified access to data resources, i.e., the ability to search for information across multiple digital databases. ($106,395)

The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University and the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at King's College, London, plan to launch Concordia, a set of tools and procedures to enable seamless textual searches and the dynamic mapping of a variety of humanities collections. The pilot project would concentrate on large holdings of papyrological and epigraphic texts from North Africa during the Greek and Roman periods. ($129,828)

A team of scholars from the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in Virginia, the University of Southampton's Nevis Heritage Project, and the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool is working together on the St. Kitts-Nevis Digital Archaeology Initiative. Together, they plan to develop an integrated digital archive of diverse archaeological and historical data related to the experiences of slaves on sugar plantations in the Caribbean by digitizing and delivering on the Web information from two 18th-century plantations. ($132,832)

The Perseus Digital Library at Tufts University and the Internet Centre at Imperial College London plan to develop Philogrid, a Web resource for scholars of Classical Antiquity. The project will generate a digital collection of fragmentary writings of Greek historians that is designed to interact with multiple source editions; a repository of philological data about the Greco-Roman world; and set of procedures that draws on the recipient’s experience in processing textual materials from Perseus but that can also be extended to other digital collections. ($119,992)

Advancing Knowledge: The IMLS/NEH Digital Partnership Grant Applications Due in March

Applications for Advancing Knowledge: The IMLS/NEH Digital Partnership grant program are due on March 18, 2008.

Here's an excerpt from the guidelines:

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) invite proposals for innovative, collaborative humanities projects using the latest digital technologies for the benefit of the American public, humanities scholarship, and the nation's cultural institutions. These grants require substantive collaborations among libraries, museums, archives, universities, and other cultural organizations. Grants support projects that explore new ways to share, examine, and interpret humanities collections in a digital environment; that develop new uses and audiences for existing digital resources; or that result in extensible and transferable methodologies or tools.

Eligible projects might:

  • advance the role of cultural repositories in online teaching, learning, and research for public audiences, teachers, students, and scholars;
  • develop collaborative approaches involving the scholarly community and cultural repositories for the creation, preservation, use, and presentation of reusable digital collections and products;
  • use innovative approaches in digital technology to provide new perspectives on humanities resources or offer new interpretive contexts for scholars, students, and public audiences; or
  • examine and coordinate community-based approaches and standards for making resources available online and allowing them to be widely shared.

NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants Guidelines

The National Endowment for the Humanities has issued guidelines for its 2008 digital humanities start-up grants.

Here's an excerpt:

Two levels of awards will be made in this program. Level I awards are small grants designed to fund brainstorming sessions, workshops, early alpha-level prototypes, and initial planning. Level II awards are larger grants that can be used for more fully-formed projects that are ready to start the first stage of implementation or the creation of working prototypes. Applicants must state in their narrative which funding level they seek. The Endowment will be setting aside funds for each of the two levels and more awards will be made in the Level I category. Applicants should carefully choose the funding level appropriate to the needs of the proposed project. See the section on Awards for more details.

Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants support full-time or part-time activities for periods up to eighteen months. Support is available for various combinations of scholars, consultants, and research assistants; project-related travel; and technical support and services. Up to 20% of the total grant may also be used for the acquisition of computing hardware and software. All grantees are expected to communicate the results of their work to appropriate scholarly and public audiences. In order to facilitate dissemination and the maximum usage of the projects that are ultimately developed through the Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants, applicants are strongly encouraged to base their projects on open source and fully accessible software.