December 06, 2016
Pay it Forward: The OI’s Digital Collections Fellowship
5 min read
by Karin Wulf
It’s clear that #VastEarlyAmerica includes not only an expansive conceptual, geographical, and chronological scope, but also new and exciting methodologies. The possibilities for doing digital historical scholarship, from research to publication platforms, have expanded exponentially over the last decade; I find this a tremendously encouraging sign about the vitality and future of our field. I also see an important opportunity and imperative for increased engagement on the part of individuals and institutions to think forward, and pay it forward.
Many digital projects face great challenges, perhaps none more so than in finding funding to support them. To take one example, scholars and archives struggle with the seemingly straightforward matter of digitizing materials for online projects. Many libraries and archives (even major institutions) simply lack the resources for digitizing the materials scholars need to access and to explore. Funding is always in short supply, whether for scholars (particularly early in their careers) seeking to travel to archives, or for the libraries and archives themselves, with staff stretched thin in these tough economic times. We’d like to help address that problem, and to think about how scholars can be engaged in the production of both new digital archives as well as their scholarship.
That’s why the OI, through the Lapidus Initiative, is sponsoring our first Digital Collections Fellowship. Developed by our Lapidus Initiative Advisory Council, the fellowship provides funding in partnership to scholars and institutions for the digitization of archival materials. As you’ll see in the formal call for applications, that encompasses a broad range of projects, from digital images of manuscript and collections to enhanced digitization of catalog records and more. We want to encourage scholars and institutions to undertake this work, which so often proves critical to the ability of a digital project to move forward, together.
We are accepting applications through January 9, 2017.
Here’s the description of the fellowship. You can find full application information http://oieahc.wm.edu/lapidus/digitalcollections/index.html
- The Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture seeks proposals from scholars at all levels, in partnership with special collections libraries and historical societies, for Lapidus Initiative Fellowships for Digital Collections. In concert with other OI projects promoting creative use of digital tools and materials, these fellowships are intended to bring scholars and collections specialists together to make collections available for digital scholarship.
- The fellowship will award up to $5,000 to the holding library and to the scholar whose research relies on, or will be greatly enhanced by, the digitization of a collection or partial collection of materials related to early America, broadly conceived, before 1820. Scholars must partner with special collections libraries that will digitize the needed materials with the funds from the fellowship.
- For the purposes of the application, digitization should be considered broadly. It may include (but is not limited to): the photographing of manuscripts, newspapers, graphic materials, or rare books; the scanning of index cards; the cataloging of rare materials; the enhancement of digital catalog records; or the inventorying of manuscript collections. We welcome project proposals employing all sorts of materials from libraries and archives of all sizes.
Go! Find, imagine, and let us help you pay it forward not only with your scholarship but with digital sources to benefit the field.