Libraries lead research in the information age

IU Libraries grant-funded projects remove barriers to research

“Our mission is to efficiently and effectively connect researchers with the materials they need to advance innovation and discovery,” says Jamie Wittenberg, head of Scholarly Communication at IU Libraries. 

She is referring to a $2 million partnership seeded in October 2018 with a $850,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, but could easily be discussing dozens of current IU Libraries projects aimed at removing research barriers.

Wittenberg is leading the IU-based team building the Collaborative Archive & Data Research Environment  known as CADRE. The large-scale collaboration between IU Libraries, IU Network Science Institute, and the Big Ten Academic Alliance, is also supported by eight other universities in the Big Ten; the National Science Foundation’s Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs program; and two private companies: Web of Science Group and Microsoft Research.


Once developed, the cloud-based CADRE platform will share costs across a large number of academic libraries to provide standardized data and text mining services for open, licensed, and non-consumptive big data sets.  The ability to deeply analyze connections between texts will support the growing field of bibliometric research, often called the “science of science.” 

The front of a vintage moving image film canister features the IU seal and the words "Indiana University Audio-visual center"
A stack of square film storage cases, obviously vintage


For Assistant Dean of Library Technologies, Jon Dunn, hours of digitized audiovisual content and the growing academic interest in media collections influenced his grant-funded national partnership. Projects such as IU’s Media and Digitization Preservation Initiative (MDPI) have archivists, librarians, and scholars seeking accelerated access to hundreds of thousands of newly digitized resources.

Enabled by a $1.2 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in fall 2018, Dunn is working with national partners to develop an Audiovisual Metadata Platform known as AMP. Research leaders at the University of Texas at Austin and the New York Public Library are joining IU Libraries and AVP, an information management consultant, to innovate audiovisual metadata.

At present, online collections offered nationwide are primarily images and text, and less than half a percent of available content is video or sound. AMP is expected to generate searchable, time-stamped descriptions of digitized content using expert human labor and automated processing, including artificial intelligence and machine-learning technology such as speech recognition and scene detection. Development goals for AMP are to significantly increase the ability for all libraries and archives to share searchable, digitized audiovisual content.


“Future understanding of the 20th century and beyond requires an aggressive investment today in tools and methods for preserving and providing research access to these media.”

—Mellon Foundation former senior program officer Donald J. Waters