The Library of Congress, which includes millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps, and manuscripts in its collections, is seeking a cloud-based approach for interacting with digital collections as data.
In a Sept. 30 post on Beta.Sam.gov, the Library of Congress said it was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant titled “Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud.” The $1 million grant was awarded in October of 2019. The purpose of the grant was to test the cloud-based approach for interacting with digital collections as data, specifically to support researchers who are creatively applying emerging styles of research to Library material.
“As technology advances, we envision a future in which all users – researchers, artists, students and more – are only limited by the questions they can think to ask; where scale, complexity, uniqueness, and speed are aligned to support their goals and result in fundamentally transformed ways of understanding the world around us,” said Kate Zwaard, the Library’s director of digital strategy, when the grant waThe Library of Congress, which includes millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps, and manuscripts in its collections, is seeking a cloud-based approach for interacting with digital collections as data.s awarded.
With its posting, the Library is looking to award contracts for up to four research experts to “experiment with solutions to problems that can only be explored at scale.” The Library is collaborating with subject matter experts and its IT specialists throughout the contract process. The goal of the research process is to “help produce models for supporting cloud-based research computing, and will make the costs and possibilities of this work more transparent to the broader cultural heritage community.”
The library is seeking a “diverse group” of research approaches for the exploratory project and is looking for technical, topical, and early-stage research provocations across multiple formats and collections. Research experts awarded contracts through this process will have access to a set of Library collections, computational resources in cloud infrastructure, and research expertise from digital scholarship librarians.
“Projects proposed within this program area should come from researchers who can demonstrate appropriate disciplinary, linguistic, and historical knowledge, as well as technical, data, and cloud computing skills to carry out projects with limited support from Library staff beyond some research support, and information about library data practices,” the Library of Congress said in its announcement.
The application process is two-fold. Researchers will first submit concept papers no later than Nov. 30, 2020. Next, a limited number of researchers will be asked to submit detailed project proposals. The Library is holding virtual Industry Days to answer questions on Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. and Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. The research will run for nine months from May 2021 to January 2022. The proposed research budget may not exceed $77,500. After the research has concluded, results will be available to the public.