January 3, 2012


IMLS Press Contacts
Kevin O'Connell, koconnell@imls.gov
Mamie Bittner, mbittner@imls.gov

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services and seven global partners today awarded approximately $4.8 million to international research teams investigating how computational techniques may be applied to "big data" —the massive multisource datasets made possible by modern technology.

Fourteen teams representing Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States were named the winners of the second Digging Into Data Challenge, a competition to promote innovative humanities and social science research using large-scale data analysis. Each team represents collaborations among scholars, scientists, and librarians from leading universities worldwide.

The first round of the Digging into Data Challenge, held in 2009, was sponsored by four international funders and led to breakthrough projects that received coverage in the New York Times, Nature, the Globe and Mail, and Times Higher Education. This year, an expanded group of funders, including IMLS, is supporting fourteen projects that apply "cyberscholarship" to a wide variety of topics, such as developing a suite of tools to explore fully medieval charters that survive in abundance from the 12th to the 16th centuries; using information retrieval techniques to investigate changes in Western music; and using high resolution medical imaging scanning to study Egyptian mummies.

The sponsoring research funders include the Arts & Humanities Research Council (United Kingdom), the Economic & Social Research Council (United Kingdom), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (United States), the Joint Information Systems Committee (United Kingdom), the National Endowment for the Humanities (United States), the National Science Foundation (United States), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (Netherlands), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Canada).

Total project funding is approximately $4.8 million (U.S.) dollars. IMLS’s contribution of $474,855 supports American researchers from three of the fourteen teams: the University of Washington, the University of California at Berkeley, and Drexel University. Co-funders are supporting the international partners involved in these projects.

Detailed descriptions of the fourteen winning projects can be found below.

Additional information about the competition can be found at www.diggingintodata.org.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.