The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and fifteen other funders from around the world today jointly announced awards of approximately 9.2 million U.S. dollars to international teams investigating how large-scale computational techniques may be applied to answering research questions in the humanities and social sciences. These teams will be pursuing research in numerous areas, including musicology, economics, linguistics, political science and history. Collectively, this work is critical for establishing and defining the digital infrastructure needs of research libraries.
Each of the fourteen winning teams is composed of researchers from multiple scholarly and scientific disciplines, working collaboratively to demonstrate how cutting-edge big data techniques can be used to investigate a wide range of research questions across the humanities and social sciences. Since its inception in 2009, the Digging into Data Challenge program has helped spark exciting new research avenues for the humanities and social sciences using computational techniques. Libraries have been, and continue to be, essential partners in establishing the tools and services that enable these projects.
The Digging into Data Challenge is sponsored by research funding organizations from eleven nations, organized under the auspices of “T-AP,” the Trans-Atlantic Platform for the Social Sciences and Humanities). T-AP is an unprecedented collaboration between key humanities and social science funders and facilitators from South America, North America and Europe. T-AP aims to enhance the ability of funders, research organizations and researchers to engage in transnational dialogue and collaboration.
Participating nations and funding organizations include: Argentina (MINCyT); Brazil (FAPESP); Canada (SSHRC, NSERC, FRQ); Finland (AKA); France (ANR); Germany (DFG); Mexico (CONACYT); Netherlands (NWO); Portugal (FCT); UK (AHRC, ESRC), and the U.S. (NEH, NSF, IMLS).
“We are thrilled that libraries and librarians continue to be leaders in the development of digital infrastructure to support new forms of scholarship and that IMLS can strengthen that leading role for libraries through this broad-based international initiative,” said Trevor Owens, supervisory senior program officer in the IMLS Office of Library Services.
Of the approximately 9.2 million U.S. dollars provided by the sixteen participating international funders, the Institute of Museum and Library Services is providing $547,619 to U.S. librarians and researchers from three of the fourteen awarded project teams.
IMLS funding is directly supporting the participation of the U.S. teams engaged in following three projects:
Digging into the Knowledge Graph (awarded $175,000) brings together researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee school of information studies in the U.S. with Canada and the Netherlands. The team will develop and implement standardized vocabularies, workflows and best practices to enhance findability and storage for humanities and social science Linked Open Data datasets. Linked Open Data is a technique for making data available online that enables broad reuse by supporting connections between disparate datasets. The team will pilot the work through case studies in musicology and economics, and enable wider knowledge creation by making the metadata for these Linked Open Data datasets available for data mining.
Mapping Manuscript Migrations (awarded $172,621) brings together researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S., Finland, France and the United Kingdom. The project will use Linked Open Data standards to digitally connect premodern manuscripts from Europe and North America. By linking diverse sources of data, the project aims to carry out large-scale analyses and visualizations of the history of these manuscripts. The project team hopes this coherent, interoperable infrastructure will allow researchers to ask new kinds of questions at a scale never before possible.
The Oceanic Exchanges (OcEx) Project (awarded $199,998) brings together collaborators from Northeastern University in the U.S., Finland, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The project will link digital repositories to enable analysis of nineteenth century newspapers across national and linguistic boundaries. Not only will researchers be able to analyze and visualize newspapers within their local and national settings, but they will be able to examine how ideas moved across time and place, beyond and between national borders. The resource will reveal the global networks through which texts and concepts traveled, creating new evidence about how readers around the world perceived one another.
For information about all of the grants made in this round see the 2016 grant competition awards page(link is external) of the Digging into Data website.