IU Libraries participates in national grant focused on improved curation of born digital documents

July 11th 2017
Logo for the Hathi Trust

A research grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will extend the Data Capsule service, a tool enabling remote access of the HathiTrust Digital Library, to other collections managed by research libraries.

Logo for the Hathi Trust

As the volume of digital content has expanded exponentially over the past several years, researchers and educators have recognized the potential of big data techniques to analyze, access, and organize digital scholarly collections. The Data Capsule service, which was developed for use in the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC), creates virtual computers for users to access a restricted collection. Within HTRC, the Data Capsule service is used for non-consumptive analytics, which allows the computer to analyze the text but doesn’t allow the user to read or disseminate copyrighted content. Non-consumptive analytics include text extraction, textual analysis and information extraction, linguistic analysis, automated translation, image analysis, file manipulation, OCR correction, and indexing and search capabilities.

“Enabling greater library and archival community use of the HTRC Data Capsule service will open some very unique possibilities for use of born-digital content within many different types of libraries and archives,” says Indiana University Professor of Informatics and Computing, Beth Plale. “The grant draws from years of experience of providing a similar service within HathiTrust and proposes to evaluate the needs of research libraries in other cases of restricted data requiring safeguarding the interests of right holders and protecting privacy.”

The project will partner with eight academic libraries across the country to understand current library needs and practices in provisioning library services for computational access to special collections having constraints due to sensitivity or restrictions. It also will extend the Data Capsule service to broader needs of provisioning for analytical access to restricted collections across a range of collections and uses, study extensions of Data Capsule to cloud computing environments for broader uses, and identify gaps in skills needed for librarians to enable secure data analytics and provide resources that can address those gaps.

Indiana University, in partnership with eight other academic libraries, will enable new kinds of computational research while ensuring librarians remain expert stewards of information collections.The grant will be carried out under the encompassing framework of Participatory Design and involve funded partners at the University of Illinois, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Virginia, plus engaged partners at Lafayette College, MIT, Rutgers University, Swarthmore College, and UCLA. 

The two-year grant is for $360,000.


Contact Info

Herman B Wells Library
1320 E 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
(812) 855-3403
(812) 855-2576 (Fax)
Carolyn Walters
Carolyn Walters - Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries, Associate Librarian
(812) 855-3403