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A.W. Mellon Foundation Awards Grant to Center for Research Libraries

Late last week, the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) in Chicago announced it had received a large grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and six staff members will attend the ALA Midwinter conference. Also, if one would like to nominate someone for the 2014 Primary Source Awards, time is short.

On Thursday, January 16, 2013, the CRL announced, “The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently awarded the Center for Research Libraries major funding to expand analysis and planning on an international level for archiving and strategic digitization in two areas of library collecting: print journals and newspapers. Funding of $848,000 over a two-year period will enable CRL to further collect and analyze granular data on archiving and digitization efforts in these two areas, promoting coordinated, strategic action by libraries and consortia.”

The CRL “will leverage the infrastructure and data-gathering capabilities it has developed in recent years” with support from the Mellon Foundation and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (I.M.L.S.) “to measure and evaluate the scope, costs, features, and benefits of extant print archiving and newspaper digitization efforts.” To this end, the CRL will work with major American, British, Canadian, and Continental European consortia, electronic publishers, and other partner organizations “to establish a rational and achievable ‘division of labor’ for further archiving and digitization.”

In a press release, the CRL stated, “The new funding will support two parallel streams of activity,” namely (a) historic journals and (b) newspapers. “CRL will enhance and further populate the online” Print Archives Preservation Registry (PAPR) “of print archives and shared print programs developed by the California Digital Library in partnership with CRL.”

CRL will use the new data to analyze the scope and benefits of the major shared print archives, and to identify the aggregate gaps, strengths, and weaknesses of those efforts. At a forum in June 2015, representatives of the archiving efforts will consider the implications and identify needs and priorities for further archive development and expansion.

“CRL will further enhance and enlarge the” International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON) database “of newspaper titles held in hard copy, microform, and digital formats by libraries, to include granular metadata on newspapers digitized by key aggregators including Europeana Library, Library of Congress, ProQuest, and Readex.”

CRL will also gather structured information on the content management and digital repository platforms that support those efforts. On the basis of that data, CRL will identify the aggregate gaps, weaknesses, and strengths of the current newspaper databases and digital libraries, and rate the respective programs in terms of permanence, integrity of digital content, and accommodation of scholarly practice. At a 2015 forum the participating libraries, consortia, and electronic publishers will use the data to frame the broad terms of a common agenda for future newspaper digitization.

According to the CRL, “The project, entitled ‘GRN (Global Resources Network) 2020: Toward a Data-centered Agenda for Preservation and Access,’ will generate broad benefits for North American and foreign research libraries.”

On January 16th, the CRL also announced six key staff members would attend the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Philadelphia (January 24–28) “to report on and gather input for CRL programs.” These are James T. Simon, Director of International Resources; Christine Stamison, Director of NERL (NorthEast Research Libraries consortium); Marie Waltz, Special Projects Manager; Mary I. Wilke, Member Liaison & Outreach Services Director; Kevin Wilks, Head of Access Services; and Amy Wood, Director of Technical Services.

Nominations must be submitted by Friday, January 31, 2014 for the 2014 Primary Source Awards. In 2009, the CRL created the Primary Source Awards “to recognize innovative uses of primary source materials by faculty, librarians and library staff, students, and other researchers in the CRL community. Nominations are accepted in three arenas: access, research, and teaching,” according to the CRL’s Web page on the award.

Last year, the CRL Collections and Services Policy Committee, chaired by Dan Hazen, Associate Librarian of Harvard College for Collection Development, selected for the 2013 Primary Source Award for Access, Jennifer Wolfe, Digital Scholarship Librarian at the University of Iowa; for the 2013 Primary Source Award for Research, Thea Lindquist, History Librarian at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU); and for the 2013 Primary Source Award for Teaching, Edward Udovic, Vice President of Teaching & Learning and Senior Executive for University Mission at DePaul University.

Faculty and staff at CRL libraries are encouraged to consider other staff, faculty, or colleagues as candidates for these awards, but self-nominations are welcome. Both award recipients and nominators can choose between a gift certificate for Powell’s Books or an iPad.