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Four ARL Libraries Awarded IMLS Sparks Ignition Grants

image © Caro Spark

On July 16, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced 21 Sparks! Ignition Grant awards totaling $496,978 matched with $408,150 of non-federal funds. IMLS received 99 applications requesting just over $2.3 million. This year’s Sparks grant awardees include four ARL member institutions: Cornell University, George Washington University partnering with Yale University and others, and Purdue University.

Sparks! Ignition Grants are relatively small awards that encourage libraries and museums to test and evaluate innovations in the ways they operate and the services they provide. According to IMLS, Sparks grantees demonstrate innovation and broad potential impact, often turning turn small investments of funds into nationally significant projects.

The 2013 funded projects developed by ARL member institutions are:

Cornell University Library
Award Amount: $24,522; Matching Amount: $5,949
This project addresses incorrect and missing data in scholarly records. The project involves an analysis of WorldCat records for print area-studies monographs to check accuracy and omission of key coded data, fousing on incorrectly coded geographic references for both place of publication and subject emphasis. Techniques for filling in missing codes will be tested and the extraction of useful georeferences from data fields will be researched. Records will be enhanced to increase discovery, collection analysis, and cooperative collection building.

George Washington University Libraries
Partnering with University of North Texas, Yale University, the Center for Jewish History, and other cultural heritage organizations
Award Amount: $24,550; Matching Amount: $27,586
The project partners will enhance a prototype application developed in 2012 for collecting social-media data from Twitter to meet diverse academic research, teaching, and library collection-development needs. The prototype application will automate the collection of data from Twitter’s API and make it possible for scholars, students, and librarians to identify, select, collect, and preserve Twitter data for research purposes at little to no marginal cost. The team’s work will result in a robust, reliable application, implemented and tested in multiple institutions, that is documented and available for use, study, copying, and modification under a free and open-source software license.

Purdue University Libraries
Award Amount: $23,831; Matching Amount: $5,480
This project will develop CrowdAsk—A Crowdsource Library Help System, a web-based help system for academic libraries. CrowdAsk will allow librarians, students, and faculty to ask and answer questions about library resources and tools. CrowdAsk will also support ranking of questions and answers by users as well as the use of scores and badges for user motivation. The project addresses issues of existing fragmented library and academic help channels, content reuse and preservation, and lack of user (particularly expert) participation. CrowdAsk will be open source and shared with the public. It will impact the way users interact with libraries, as well as promote better understanding and use of library resources.

For more details and to view a complete list of funded projects, see the IMLS press release, “Grant Awards Announcement: 2013 Sparks! Ignition Grants.”