May 26, 2022

Mellon Foundation Awards Penn St. University Librarian $143,000 to Study Personal Scholarly Archiving

From PSU Live:

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a grant of $143,000 to Penn State to investigate how faculty create and manage personal information collections. Led by Associate Librarian Ellysa Stern Cahoy and Associate Professor of Science Education Scott McDonald, the 15-month ethnographic study will examine in detail how faculty save, share, cite and archive scholarly information.

Cahoy and McDonald will collaborate with a team of Penn State librarians and a research anthropologist who will help conduct the study. The research team will invite selected faculty from liberal arts, humanities, social science and science disciplines to share how they build, maintain and archive their personal information collections.

“Today your personal research collection might be scattered across various platforms, workstations, or online services,” said Cahoy. “You might save PDFs in one place, bookmark websites with an online service, and share citations with colleagues using another. This exploration will aid the Libraries in developing new tools and services that help scholars maximize, share and archive online information that is central to their research.”

In February, Cahoy presented a paper on this topic at the 2012 Personal Digital Archiving Conference in San Francisco, titled “Faculty Member as Micro-Librarian: Critical Literacies for Personal Scholarly Archiving.” In addition, she also recently authored a blog post on personal digital archiving for the Library of Congress (the post can be read at

“I believe that the future of librarianship lies not just in the physical library — it lies in the personal libraries that people are building on their own computers and their own networks,” Cahoy said.

See Also: Ellysa Stern Cohoy’s Web Site Including Future/Recent Presentations

See Also: The Challenge of Teaching Personal Archiving
Guest Post by Stern Cohoy on LC’s The Signal Blog

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.