Atlanta, GA – July 7, 2021 –LYRASIS, a non-profit member organization serving the global landscape of academic and public libraries, scholarly research, archives, museums, and galleries, is pleased to announce the 2021 recipients of the LYRASIS Catalyst Fund. The Catalyst Fund is an award program that provides support for new ideas and innovative projects from the LYRASIS membership. It is administered by the LYRASIS Leaders Circle to expand opportunities to explore, test, refine, and collaborate on innovations with potential for community-wide impact.  

As we have each year, the LYRASIS Leaders Circle selected 5 projects and one idea to be funded for the benefit of the community at large.  

Capital for the Catalyst Fund comes from the $1.2 million research, development, and innovation budget approved by the LYRASIS Board of Trustees. The program is managed within the new LYRASIS Research and Innovation division led by Erin Tripp. Through the Catalyst Fund, now in its fifth year, LYRASIS has directly invested more than $600,000 in its members to support and promote scalable innovation.  

The five projects awarded in the 2021 Catalyst Fund are: 

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute: Digital Scholarship With Purpose, $36,300  
  • University of Virginia: Open LiDAR for Accessibility Community & Schema Development, $19,223  
  • Duke University: Conservation Documentation Archive, $23,375  
  • Texas A&M and Weill Cornell: Development of Research Intelligence Tools that Contribute to the VIVO Platform: An Open-Source Software Project, $30,000  
  • Oregon State University: Western Waters Digital Library Map Interface, $17,220  

In addition, the LYRASIS Leadership team has selected the idea “Repository Migration Service”. This idea will support market research to expand much needed technical support in the open source field, protect collections, and help open source programs determine when and how to pivot to fee or service-based models. This will be planned, coordinated, and implemented by LYRASIS in partnership with The Ohio State University.  

“These projects reflect the LYRASIS community’s continued dedication to open source and community led focus on traditional yet versatile services that can be repurposed for all types of cultural organizations no matter their size, audience, and type of organization. These member driven projects coalesce with the overall LYRASIS strategic vision.” Erin Tripp says of the projects funded this year. 

This year, in addition to our general call for proposals, the Catalyst Fund piloted a new thematic track and welcomed applications focused specifically in the area of Open-Source Software (OSS), Applications in this track applied the values and creative concepts of the Fund to the advancement, evolution, expansion, and/or application of OSS to provide innovation solutions for the LYRASIS community. The Leaders Circle chose the “Open LiDAR for Accessibility Community & Schema Development” project to receive funds that had been set aside specifically to support an OSS project.  

This year LYRASIS also is establishing  a new award within the Catalyst Fund categories: the Sandy Nyberg Award, named for Sandy Nyberg’s pivotal role in the Catalyst Fund and her dedication to grants throughout her career. Sandy retired June 30, 2021 after 34 years of dedicated service in preservation and grant writing, through which she secured over $60 million in grant funding for libraries, archives and museums.  

This year, LYRASIS will award the inaugural Sandy Nyberg Award to Duke University Libraries for their proposal to digitize and provide open access to legacy conservation treatment records. The project will serve as a model for other conservation labs to follow in their transition to digital documentation and linked data and allow researchers to learn about the history and materiality of library and archives materials, analyze treatment methods, and track the history of conservation techniques. The award is $23,375. 

Robert Miller, CEO of LYRASIS, says, “The LYRASIS Catalyst Fund, now in its fifth year, has been a major part of our work to seed fund innovative projects out in the community while helping us align our services with the needs and missions of our members. This year’s Catalyst Fund is especially salient because LYRASIS, through our new BiblioLabs division and our extensive work with public library technologies, is highlighting the role of libraries as the center of their communities, providing engagement and equitable access to knowledge. These Catalyst Fund recipients further amplify the power of library innovation and the pivotal role of libraries in the world today.” 

Since its inception, the Catalyst Fund has funded over 30 projects. The Catalyst Fund application cycle opens every January. LYRASIS welcomes inquiries about the process year round. If interested, contact Leigh Grinstead.