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ACS Request for Proposals: Spring 2020

EXTENDED Submission Deadline: May 31, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET

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

For this round of projects, we seek to collaborate with researchers who have independently begun an HTRC project that they have set aside for reasons such as difficulty with dataset creation, questions about HTRC tool use, or lack of support generally. Previous ACS awardees are not eligible. Such proposals should demonstrate:

  • A well-developed research question 

  • Identified analysis methods

  • Unfinished analysis work with HTRC data and/or tools

  • A feasible completion timeline within 6 months

We will review proposals on any topic that makes use of HathiTrust content and/or HTRC tools and services. 

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 July 1, 2020 through no later than January 31, 2021. 

This is the fifth round of ACS. Read about past and current 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 17.3 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 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 of your project

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.


EXTENDED Submission Deadline: May 31, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET
Award Notification: By June 15, 2020
Project Support Period: July 1, 2020 - January 31, 2021


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 3-4 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 include:

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

  • Team members well qualified to conduct the work proposed

  • A viable 6-month 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.

File 2020 ACS cover sheet13.08 KB
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