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ACS Request for Proposals: Spring 2019

The HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) requests proposals for its Advanced Collaborative Support Program (ACS), a scholarly service offering collaboration between researchers and HTRC staff to solve challenging problems related to computational analysis of the HathiTrust corpus.

While we will review proposals on any topic that makes use of HathiTrust content and/or HTRC tools and services, we are particularly interested in proposals that address the following:

  • Genre (or other categorical) detection;

  • Metadata generation and derivation that may support discovery or further exploration;

  • Pedagogical uses of HTRC, e.g., development of teaching or instructional modules;

  • Analysis of HathiTrust content in combination with other data sources.

ACS awards are delivered in the form of HTRC staff time and compute resources. Each awarded proposal will receive access to HTRC staff to collaborate on the proposed project during the award period. The staff consists of specialists in information science, computer science, cultural analytics, and HathiTrust. HTRC ACS support may include such activities as project scoping; navigating HTRC and HathiTrust tools, data, and collections; volume identification and workset/dataset creation; facilitating data access; and selecting, customizing, or running analysis tools.

HTRC will encourage awardees to work with their campus library to find an opportunity to share their project with their campus community.

Project work is intended to be collaborative, and awardees are expected to work with HTRC throughout the course of their award cycle to fulfill a set of agreed-upon outcomes. Projects will be supported from June 1, 2019 through no later than May 31, 2020.

This is the fourth round of ACS. Read about past projects: https://wiki.htrc.illinois.edu/x/CADiAQ


HTRC services are built to analyze, and are developed from, the text corpus of the HathiTrust Digital Library, a corpus of 16.9 million volumes digitized from over 50 research libraries in North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia. Approximately 60% of the corpus is in copyright and therefore not available for close reading. However, the text of the entire corpus is available for data mining through the HathiTrust Research Center.

Descriptive statistics about the corpus: https://www.hathitrust.org/statistics_visualizations. Further information about the contents of the corpus: https://www.hathitrust.org/snapshot-of-hathitrust-collection-10-years.

HTRC’s services include web-based algorithms, derived data extracted from the HathiTrust corpus called Extracted Features, the virtual Data Capsule environment for secure computational text analysis, and access to high-performance, data-intensive computing reserved for special projects (including ACS). Learn more: https://wiki.htrc.illinois.edu/x/-IF0Aw.


Complete proposals include a cover sheet (attached below), summary and rationale (<400 words), project narrative (1000-1500 words), and bio-sketch(es) for each project team member.

Together, the summary and rationale and narrative sections must address:

  • A relevant research context and problem

  • The HTRC service(s) with which you propose to work (see ‘Context’ above)

  • A description of the type of assistance sought from HTRC

  • A detailed characterization of the data to be engaged

  • The expected project outcomes and steps needed to achieve them

  • A description of impact

Each proposal element should be a separate file within a zip file. Acceptable formats for proposal elements are PDF and MS Word (.doc or .docx). Proposals should be submitted electronically as a single zip file to acs@hathitrust.org.

Submission Deadline: April 15, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. ET

Award Notification: May 10, 2019

Project Support Period: June 1, 2019 - May 31, 2020

Review Criteria and Process

All selected project teams must be led by a team member with a full-time appointment at a HathiTrust member institution, but may include collaborators from non-affiliated institutions. Check https://www.hathitrust.org/community to see a list of HathiTrust member institutions. HTRC anticipates awarding 4-6 ACS projects this round, depending on the obligations requested from HTRC staff. All proposals will be reviewed by a committee composed of representatives from HTRC and HathiTrust.

A successful proposal will demonstrate:

  • A feasible and adaptable use case grounded in a demonstrated need

  • Team members well qualified to conduct the work proposed

  • A viable work plan and schedule of completion

  • A set of activities scoped within the range of HTRC’s ability to provide technical support (e.g., datasets, compute cycles, prototyping, etc.)

  • Clear outputs anticipated from the award, such as publications, software, website, lesson plans or modules, etc.

Respondents are urged to contact acs@hathitrust.org in advance of proposal submission to discuss eligibility, project details, prerequisites, and HTRC support.

Microsoft Office document icon 2019 ACS cover sheet31 KB
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