CLIR Receives Mellon Grant for Postdoctoral Fellowships in Data Curation for Early Modern Studies

Washington, DC, October 21, 2013-The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) $916,000 to support a program of Postdoctoral Fellowships in Data Curation for Early Modern Studies. The program will fund a cohort of five fellows for two years at five institutions of higher learning, starting in September 2014.

The fellowships are designed to help build the professional capacity needed for sound data management practice in Early Modern Studies. Fellows will be scholarly practitioners who not only understand the nature and processes of the disciplines broadly defined as the humanities, but also how research data are organized, transmitted, manipulated, reused, and sustained.

For this program, Early Modern Studies encompasses the historical period from about 1450 to 1800, focusing on humanistic research in literary studies, history, art and architectural history, philosophy, religion, music and other performing arts, languages and linguistics, and related fields of study.

“The Early Modern era is marked by an extraordinary complexity of human exploration, empire building, religious fluorescence, the rise of scientific methodology and empirical study, new economic models for commerce, widespread colonization, and a genuinely global exchange of culture,” said CLIR President Chuck Henry. “This explosive complexity contributes to an astonishing variety of original sources and their digital surrogates.”

Today, Early Modern scholars collect, interlink, and manipulate digital surrogates of Early Modern texts, images, and mixed media in diverse ways. This diversity poses challenges for those who preserve and create access to these resources. Digital surrogates of analog artifacts, the metadata used to describe and bring coherence to this large set of digital objects, the algorithms, the information generated through analysis, and the resultant information that accrues from such inquiry are all aspects of research-related data and need to be organized, contextualized, made discoverable, and made secure over time.

“Without a sustainable cohort of experts who can instantiate and evolve standards, best practices, and new approaches to the curation, preservation, and ongoing utility of the data that are integral to new methodologies, current research will be impoverished and future research seriously compromised,” said Henry.

“We are deeply grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its ongoing commitment to data curation for scholarship, and for its support of the Data Curation Fellowship program,” said CLIR Board Chairman Herman Pabbruwe.

This program complements the CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Data Curation for the Sciences and Social Sciences, launched in 2012 with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Postdoctoral Fellowships in Data Curation for Medieval Studies, initiated last year with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Currently, CLIR is accepting proposals from institutions interested in hosting Early Modern Studies Fellows. For more information, visit CLIR will post fellowship openings in late November at The application deadline will be December 27, 2013, and awards will be announced in June 2014.

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.

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