Press Release: LYRASIS Announces 6 Catalyst Fund Winning Projects for 2018

Atlanta, GA – June 18, 2018 – LYRASIS, one of the nation’s largest non-profit member organizations serving archives, libraries, and museums, is pleased to announce the 2018 the 2018 recipients of the LYRASIS Catalyst Fund. The Catalyst Fund is designed to foster innovation among members and knowledge communities worldwide. This year, six projects were chosen by participants in the LYRASIS Leaders Circle and $155,000 will be awarded. Additionally, LYRASIS will investigate one idea recommended to the Catalyst Fund through a feasibility study.

The following is the list of the 2018 Catalyst Fund recipients. The six project proposals (to be implemented by the applying institution) are:

  • DePaul University – “Data-Intensive Tools for Modeling and Visualization Mass Reading” – $24,352 to support development of new models of data for civic reading initiatives across book content, social media, city demographics, and other factors, with an interactive dashboard and visualizations to provide insights for academic and public librarians and the general public.
  • Duquesne University – “Quantitative Research Institute for Libraries” – $14,310 to develop a curriculum and provide an institute to prepare librarians and library staff for the quantitative research required to show their value, assess library services and student learning, and better serve their communities.
  • University of Massachusetts Boston – “Online Instruction for Participatory Archiving” – $25,816 to develop an informational video and a set of instructional materials that will empower libraries of all kinds to partner effectively with community groups to organize day-long digitizing events to collect photographs, stories, memories, and other community-based cultural heritage materials documenting our nation’s collective history.
  • University of Utah – “Machine Learning Meets Library Archives” – $34,700 to develop and test a model for applying machine learning techniques to extract useful information from historical images to assist in and increase the efficiency of metadata creation for archives, libraries and museums of all types.
  • University of Virginia – “Digital Collecting in Times of Crisis” – $28,800 to enable cultural institutions and communities of all sizes to be prepared for and able to implement digital collecting strategies during and after rapidly evolving social events and community crises by creating templates and documentation to quickly set up an open source tool to collect and provide access to digital materials including photos, videos and social media.
  • West Virginia University – “Access to US Congressional Correspondence Data” – $27,000 to complete a feasibility study that will assess and plan for the future collaborative technical infrastructure for an open-source congressional correspondence data access tool, to improve how libraries process and provide access to large data sets with sensitive information and how scholars and the public use data related to Americans’ civic engagement.

The idea to be investigated is from Austin Peay State University, “Library Multi-e-reader Application.” LYRASIS plans to research issues and alternatives in this area, specifically related to challenges around the multiple e-reader platforms required to provide e-books through academic and public libraries.

Robert Miller, CEO of LYRASIS, says of this year’s Catalyst Fund recipients, “We created the Catalyst Fund as a way to directly invest in our community – we wanted to kickstart and foster great new ideas that can benefit the entire field of collections-holding institutions. What’s truly empowering about this year’s recipients is that by design, the work they’re doing can impact all types of archives, museums and libraries, including public, academic and more. That’s what’s transformational this year – the wide impact we expect these projects to have over the entire community of collections-holding institutions. Over the past two years we have contributed over $300,000 directly to member institutions to fund innovation, and we are excited to watch these projects grow over the coming months.”

LYRASIS began accepting applications to the Catalyst Fund in January 2018. Applicants chose to apply for funding a project they would manage locally (but which would have broad community-wide impact), or suggest an idea that, if selected, would be developed by LYRASIS. All applications were reviewed by experts in the field and then voted on by participants in the LYRASIS Leaders Circle. Recipients will report on progress and findings at the  2018 LYRASIS Member Summit on October 24 – 25 in Nashville, TN, at the Nashville Public Library. The Nashville Public Library is a LYRASIS member and  2017 LJ Library of the Year.

The LYRASIS Catalyst Fund is part of the three-pronged leadership initiative started by LYRASIS in 2015, featuring three interconnected programs: the Leaders Circle, Leaders Forums and Catalyst Fund. These programs support and implement new ideas and put LYRASIS members at the forefront of collaboration. The Leaders Circle is a program that brings together a diverse group of knowledgeable professionals to discuss, design and foster real-world solutions to challenges within the community. Since its inception, the Leaders Circle has rapidly grown to more than 100 organizations. The Leaders Forums are regional in-person meetings where thought leaders and practitioners discuss the needs, challenges and opportunities faced by knowledge professionals daily across the library, archive and museum community. Since 2016, LYRASIS has held 25 forums in cities across the United States meeting with 350 leaders representing 275 organizations. The Catalyst Fund grew out of the Leaders Circle and Leaders Forums to re-invest and support experiments in innovation.

About LYRASIS

LYRASIS (www.lyrasis.org), a 501(c)(3) is a non-profit, technology and product membership organization supporting enduring access to our shared academic, scientific and cultural heritage through leadership in open technologies, content services, digital solutions and collaboration with archives, libraries, museums and knowledge communities worldwide.

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