May 25, 2022

"IU Data To Insight Center to lead Sloan-funded investigation into non-consumptive research"

From Indiana University:

Indiana University’s Data To Insight Center will lead a $600,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to fund the first investigation of non-consumptive research for a major mass digitized collection of content. Partners with D2I on this include the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) and the University of Michigan’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

“This funding will enable us to pursue a research track around non-consumptive research uses of the HathiTrust digital corpus,” said principal investigator Beth Plale, professor in the IU Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing and director of the Data To Insight Center. “At the end of the project we expect to have cyberinfrastructure in place that successfully demonstrates that non-consumptive research can be carried out safely under the conditions of unintended malicious user algorithms.”

Non-consumptive research involves computational analysis of one or more books without the researcher having the ability to reassemble the collection. Rather than reading the material, researchers use specialized algorithms to analyze text as a massive data set and the Sloan grant will help ensure the work can be conducted in a secure environment.


“In defining new methods of non-consumptive research of the HathiTrust digital corpus, the HathiTrust Research Center and the IU Data to Insight Center are enabling research faculty and the HathiTrust partner libraries to engage in groundbreaking new research across the corpus while maintaining the security and integrity of the collection and the researcher’s fair-use access to its content,” said Brenda Johnson, Ruth Lilly Dean of Libraries at Indiana University.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.