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CLIR Issues Number 111

CLIR Issues
Number 111 • May/June 2016
ISSN 1944-7639 (online version)


CLIR Receives Grant for Data Curation Fellowships in Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Announcing Postdoctoral Fellows 2016!
Report Surveys Changing Landscape of Archival Research & Graduate Student Research Experiences
Openlab Workshop Videos and Report Now Available
Register Now for 2016 DLF Forum and Affiliated Events!
Forthcoming from CLIR

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CLIR Receives Grant for Data Curation Fellowships in Latin American and
Caribbean Studies

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded CLIR $995,000 to support a program of CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Data Curation for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. The program will fund a cohort of five fellows for two years at U.S. or Canadian institutions with strong programs in Latin American and/or Caribbean Studies, starting in July 2017.

Latin American and Caribbean Studies encompass modes of inquiry from numerous fields, including history, sociology, art, archaeology, literature, political science, geography, gender studies, and economics. The fellowships are designed to support international partnerships in the service of cross-disciplinary humanities research and in building greater capacity for digitizing original materials, for sharing related digital data, and for developing humanities computing infrastructure to sustain these resources.

“These new fellowships will enlarge the international scope of our existing data curation program while stimulating additional vital conversations about data curation within an established deeply interdisciplinary community of scholars facing critical challenges,” said Principal Investigator and CLIR Senior Program Officer Alice Bishop.

The fellowships for Latin American and Caribbean Studies will be integrated into CLIR’s 2017 Postdoctoral Program, including Postdoctoral Fellows in Academic Libraries; CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellows in Data Curation for the Sciences and Social Sciences, who are supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; and CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellows in Data Curation for Medieval Studies, supported by the Mellon Foundation.

“Latin American and Caribbean Studies is a vibrant and exciting academic field, contributing significantly to the enrichment of scholarship and teaching, and our understanding of the complexity of a multifaceted cultural heritage,” said CLIR President Charles Henry. “We are grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for this opportunity to work with practitioners in this vibrant discipline in order to better understand the challenges of data curation and to assist in developing methods of long term preservation, access, and reuse of information integral to the humanities.”

CLIR launched its Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in 2004. To date, it has educated and placed 149 fellows at 67 host institutions across the United States and Canada.

CLIR will post fellowship openings in October 2016 at The application deadline will be December 30, 2016, and awards will be announced in June 2017.

Announcing Postdoctoral Fellows 2016!

CLIR has named its new cohort of 19 postdoctoral fellows for 2016. The cohort includes nine recipients of CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Data Curation for the Sciences and Social Sciences, including four fellowships focused on software curation; five recipients of CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Data Curation for Medieval Studies; one CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Data Curation for Visual Studies; and four recipients of CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowships in Academic Libraries.

Fellowships are awarded to scholars who received a PhD degree within the last five years in the humanities, social sciences, or sciences. Eleven fellows from the previous cohort are spending a second year at their host institutions.

All fellowships in data curation for the sciences and social sciences are supported through a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Data Curation for Medieval Studies were launched this year with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has supported fellowships in medieval studies, early modern studies, and visual studies.

The Postdoctoral Fellows will begin their program at an orientation seminar at Bryn Mawr College from July 24 to 31, 2016. The seminar will introduce fellows to issues facing twenty-first-century libraries and provides an opportunity for fellows to meet others in their cohort to share experiences and information. Portions of the seminar are devoted to discussing data curation and management, including software curation.

CLIR administers the fellowship program in collaboration with academic and other kinds of partnering institutions as a means of preparing a new generation of knowledgeable and highly skilled scholarly professionals. Information on the fellowships is available at

Yasmin AlNoamany
PhD Computer Science, Old Dominion University
Host: University of California, Berkeley

John Borghi
PhD Integrative Neuroscience, Stony Brook University
Host: California Digital Library, University of California

Paul Broyles
PhD English, University of Virginia
Host: North Carolina State University

Alberto Campagnolo
PhD Digital Humanities, University of the Arts London
Host: Library of Congress

Alexandra Chassanoff
PhD Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Host: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Erin Connelly
PhD Medieval English, University of Nottingham
Host: University of Pennsylvania

Thomas Cook
PhD Political Science, University of Colorado
Host: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Jennifer Grayburn
PhD History of Art and Architecture, University of Virginia
Host: Temple University

Veronica Ikeshoji-Orlati
PhD Classical Art and Archaeology, University of Virginia
Host: Vanderbilt University

Michaela Kelly
PhD Cultural Anthropology, University of Tokyo
Host: Lafayette College

Bommae Kim
PhD Quantitative Psychology, University of Virginia
Host: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Jacob Levernier
PhD Psychology, University of Oregon
Host: University of Pennsylvania

Zack Lischer-Katz
PhD Communication and Information, Rutgers University
Host: University of Oklahoma

Mara Sedlins
PhD Social Psychology, University of Washington
Host: Duke University

Mason Scott Thompson
PhD Anthropology, Arizona State University
Host: U.S. Agency for International Development

Katherine Thornton
PhD Information Science, University of Washington
Host: Yale University

Heather Wacha
PhD Medieval History, University of Iowa
Host: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jeffrey Wayno
PhD History, Columbia University
Host: Columbia University

Iskandar Zulkarnain
PhD Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester
Host: University of Rochester

Report Surveys Changing Landscape of Archival Research and Graduate Student Research Experiences

A report from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) surveys the current landscape of archival research and the experiences of emerging scholars seeking to navigate it. Terra Cognita: Graduate Students in the Archives, draws upon data from CLIR’s Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources, currently in its fifteenth year.

170-cover.jpgThe report takes an in-depth look at how the conditions and practices of original source research have changed in recent decades and what communities invested in cultural heritage research can do to better support new scholarship in this evolving context. “Improving support for junior scholars is a responsibility shared by graduate departments, cultural heritage institutions, professional associations, and funders,” writes CLIR Program Officer for Scholarly Resources Nicole Ferraiolo in a foreword to the report.

Part one of the report presents an assessment of the fellowship program based on data that fellows submitted in their final reports to CLIR between 2003 and 2015. Lori Jahnke, of Emory University, and Amanda Watson, of New York University, analyzed the reports and make recommendations for how graduate departments, cultural heritage institutions, and funders can better support original source scholarship. These include improving graduate training, building communities around archives, and facilitating more robust exchanges among scholars about archival methods.

In part two, program mentors Elliott Shore and Ryan Kashanipour share observations based on their work with the fellows. Shore, of the Association for Research Libraries, and Kashanipour, of the College of William and Mary and Northern Arizona University, stress the value of interdisciplinary exchange and recommend mentorship that supports not only the students’ development as scholars, but also their emergence as professionals in higher education.

Part three presents broader perspectives on original source research, prompted by discussions at a meeting hosted by CLIR in January 2016. Contributors William Thomas III, of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Michael Suarez, of the Rare Book School and University of Virginia, address the changing practices of original research in the digital era. Thomas examines attitudes about working with original sources and the adoption of digital technologies in creating and accessing archives. Suarez explores why the ability to “read” textual artifacts remains important even as humanities scholars increasingly rely on digital surrogates for their research.

The volume closes with an afterword by CLIR President Charles Henry that contemplates the intellectual and contextual challenges of conducting original source research today. “So much depends on a well-managed library or archive, helpful staff, and a logical organization of knowledge,” he writes. “Under ideal conditions, hours are posted, promises are kept, and engagement with our subject is perturbed ever so slightly by the soft scratch of a favored pen or click of a muted keyboard. This is often not the case in the experience of our Mellon Fellows. Theirs is a more adventurous narrative . . . ”

Throughout the volume are brief reflections by past fellows about their research experiences and how the fellowship has influenced their careers.

The report is available as a PDF download free of charge at

Openlab Workshop Videos and Report Now Available

A new report and collection of short videos documenting last December’s Openlab Workshop and Unconference/Ignite talks are now available. The two-day Openlab event convened more than 100 practitioners, scholars, and leaders from galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAMs) to discuss new methods that enable the widespread adoption of digital technologies at GLAM institutions.

Openlab.jpgThe Unconference and Ignite talks, which preceded the workshop, provided a forum to share insights and perspectives on the Openlab concept and
help frame the discussions of the formal planning workshop. A three-minute video by Daniel Kolen combines highlights from each Ignite talk. Videos of individual talks are also being made available.

The Openlab Workshop report, written by Diane Zorich, summarizes and synthesizes workshop discussions. It highlights the backdrop, key ideas and themes, and possible next steps for the Openlab concept. “Many Openlab Workshop attendees feel that GLAMs are conservative, 1950s-style institutions that often wrap themselves in a veneer of 21st century technologies but don’t understand or utilize these technologies to their full extent,” the report notes.

Recommendations for next steps include an environmental scan of digital GLAM landscape, and an exercise to translate Openlab’s vision of change into a series of actions that can yield tangible results.

Tweets and photos from both days of events are available at Storify:

The Openlab Workshop was a collaborative effort between CLIR and the National Endowment for the Humanities, in partnership with the American Alliance of Museums, American Library Association, Digital Library Federation, Digital Public Library of America, and Metropolitan New York Library Council. The workshop was led and facilitated by Michael Peter Edson, CLIR Distinguished Presidential Fellow and associate director and head of digital at United Nations Live, Museum for Humanity.

Register Now for 2016 DLF Forum and Affiliated Events!

Registration is now open for the 2016 DLF Forum (#DLFforum), to be held DLF Forum.pngNovember 7-9, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Stacie Williams, Learning Lab Manager at the University of Kentucky’s Special Collections Research Center, will be the keynote speaker. Register at

Two events will be held in conjunction with this year’s Forum:

DLF Liberal Arts Colleges Pre-Conference (#dlfLAC), with keynote by Jarrett M. Drake, Digital Archivist at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton Universty

—National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) Digital Preservation 2016 (#digipres 16), with keynote by Bergis Jules, University and Political Papers Archivist at the University of California, Riverside.

Forum registration has sold out early in recent years, so we encourage you to make your plans as soon as possible.

Forthcoming from CLIR

Watch for these publications in July and August:

The Open Data Imperative: How the Cultural Heritage Community Can Address the Federal Mandate (July). This report presents the implications for the cultural heritage community of the recent focus on creating public access to data and publications resulting from federal funding.

National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE): An Assessment (August). Drawing on NITLE published and unpublished sources, interviews with key stakeholders, and a survey of current and former NITLE members and interested parties, this white paper situates NITLE in context, identifies constituent needs, and outlines possible future iterations.

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