Digging Deeper, Reaching Further: Libraries Empowering Users to Mine the HathiTrust Digital Library Resources

Project: Research project

Project Details


“Digging Deeper, Reaching Further: Libraries Empowering Users to Mine the HathiTrust Digital Library Resources” is a three-year project (October 1, 2015-September 30, 2018) that will be led by Harriett Green at the University of Illinois. The project will leverage formal collaborations with Angela Courtney (Indiana University), Geoffrey Morse (Northwestern University), Neil McElroy (Lafayette College), and Stewart Varner (University of North Carolina). Beth Sandore Namachchivaya and J. Stephen Downie, members of the HathiTrust Research Center Executive Management Committee, will also serve as co-PIs. The project proposal is being submitted under the Learning Spaces in Libraries project category as the primary deliverables are a shared curriculum for use in academic libraries and a Train the Trainer series designed to assist librarians in getting started with the tools, services, and related research methodologies of the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC). This project also contributes substantially to the National Digital Platform funding priority by increasing access to an important digital service through instructional interventions that will ultimately improve users’ experience conducting cutting-edge explorations in a unique research environment. We propose to situate the academic library as a learning space for encountering the “big data” tools and methodologies that are being made more broadly accessible through HTRC, and adapting them for use in research and instruction. By developing a suite of curricular materials disseminated through a Train the Trainer program, the project will: 1. Provide librarians with new content for instructional services while also empowering them to become active research partners on digital projects at their institutions; and 2. Provide the foundation to transform academic libraries’ scholarly commons and digital humanities centers into more data-intensive collaborative learning spaces, both physically and virtually, through use of this curriculum and engagement in community dialogues on text and data analytics. The project team will develop a curriculum to be piloted at five academic institutions. Once fully developed, the curriculum will be shared widely through a Train the Trainer program comprising a minimum of 10 events in Year Three. Program attendees will then disseminate the curriculum to their home institution, embedding new services and initiatives at some 200 institutions and providing training opportunities for roughly four million students. By the conclusion of the grant period, the team will also release an instructional webinar and will package the curriculum as an open education resource for use by some 120,000 libraries in the United States. The webinar and curriculum will be made publicly accessible through the HathiTrust website, thus extending our potential reach beyond the 90 current HT members to libraries everywhere and the general public seeking access to HathiTrust resources. The HTRC tools and services are publicly available online, and are not limited to use by HathiTrust member institutions. As such, the HTRC strives to serve as a training platform for anyone interested in learning about “big data” tools and methodologies. The open education resource could be adapted to further uses in secondary school classrooms or public library workshops, thus addressing a critical shortage of data analysis skills and experience in the United States.
Effective start/end date10/1/159/30/19


  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (077281-15575 // RE-00-15-0112-15)
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services (077281-15575 // RE-00-15-0112-15)


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