Mellon Foundation Funds CRL Archive Analysis

Thursday, January 16, 2014
Virginia Kerr -

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recently awarded the Center for Research Libraries major funding to expand analysis and planning on an international level for archiving and strategic digitization in two areas of library collecting: print journals and newspapers. Funding of $848,000 over a two-year period will enable CRL to further collect and analyze granular data on archiving and digitization efforts in these two areas, promoting coordinated, strategic action by libraries and consortia.

CRL will leverage the infrastructure and data-gathering capabilities it has developed in recent years (with support from the Mellon Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services) to measure and evaluate the scope, costs, features, and benefits of extant print archiving and newspaper digitization efforts. CRL will work with major US, UK, Canadian, and European consortia, electronic publishers, and other partner organizations to outline a rational and achievable “division of labor” for further archiving and digitization.

The new funding will support two parallel streams of activity:

  • Historical journals: CRL will enhance and further populate the online PAPR Registry of print archives and shared print programs developed by the California Digital Library in partnership with CRL.  CRL will use the new data to analyze the scope and benefits of the major shared print archives, and to identify the aggregate gaps, strengths, and weaknesses of those efforts.  At a forum in June 2015, representatives of the archiving efforts will discuss implications of the analysis and identify needs and priorities for further archive development and expansion.
  • Newspapers: CRL will further enhance and enlarge the ICON database of newspaper titles held in hard copy, microform, and digital formats by libraries, to include granular metadata on newspapers digitized by key aggregators including Europeana Library, Library of Congress, ProQuest, and Readex.  CRL will also gather structured information on the content management and digital repository platforms that support those efforts. Using the assembled data, CRL will identify the aggregate gaps, weaknesses, and strengths of the current newspaper databases and digital libraries, and rate the respective programs in terms of permanence, integrity of digital content, and alignment with scholarly practice.   At a 2015 forum the participating libraries, consortia, and electronic publishers will use the data to frame the broad terms of a common agenda for future newspaper digitization.

The project, entitled “GRN (Global Resources Network) 2020: Toward a Data-centered Agenda for Preservation and Access,” will generate broad benefits for North American and foreign research libraries. For more information about the project, contact Virginia Kerr.