NEH Research & Development Grants

April 7, 2009

The NEH’s Division of Preservation and Access has just released the guidelines for the program “Preservation and Access Research and Development.” Folks working on digital humanities projects should definitely give this program a close look. The R&D program supports projects that address major challenges in preserving or providing access to humanities collections and resources. This includes funding R&D efforts to develop tools, standards, and methodologies for accessing digitized collections. In addition, you’ll see that this year the R&D program is particularly encouraging applications in the areas of digital preservation, preventive conservation, and preservation of and access to recorded sound and moving image collections.

Here at the NEH, we see the R&D program as a natural next step for some graduates of the Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant program. Many of the Start-Up grant projects are conducting basic research, building early prototypes, and investigating new methodologies for scholarship in areas related to digital collections. So the R&D program may very well be a logical next step to move from the planning to implementation phase.

On a related note, our Preservation and Access division recently announced the awardees from last year’s R&D category. I’m happy to say that two of the awardees were former Start-Up grantees.

The two recent R&D awardees who graduated from the Start-Up phase are:

InPhO @ Work: Providing Integrated Access to Philosophy

Indiana University, Bloomington
Project Director: Colin Allen
Award Amount: $400,000
To support: A research and development project to design an online ontology for the field of philosophy and to develop tools for managing metacontent in a dynamic reference work.

The project director, Colin Allen, received an earlier Start-Up grant in the amount of $29,164 for the first phase of the project, that was entitled InPhO: the Indiana Philosophy Ontology Project. During the Start-Up phase, Colin Allen and his project team demonstrated how a combination of machine learning and a social network of experts could be used to find relationships among articles in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

The Text Image Linking Environment (TILE)

University of Maryland, College Park
Project Director: Doug Reside
Award Amount: $400,000
To support: A research and development project to create a Web-based image markup tool, the Text-Image Linking Environment, which scholars, curators, and editors can use to generate semi-automated links between images and text in digital archives.

The project director, Doug Reside, received an earlier Start-Up grant in the amount of $29,730, that was entitled Digital Tools. During the Start-Up phase, Doug Reside and his team worked on developing a prototype version of the Ajax XML Encoder (AXE), a web-based tool for tagging text, video, audio, and image files with XML metadata in a web-based environment. AXE now forms the heart of his implementation project, TILE.

Congratulations to both awardees and we look forward to seeing more Start-Up grantees move forward via the Preservation and Access Research and Development program.