💡 Call for Proposals 💡

Cohort 1

  • Deadline: October 31, 2018
  • Project Initiation: January 2019
  • Project Completion: April 2020

Cohort 2 (cfp will be revised)

  • Deadline: October 31, 2019


A growing number of cultural heritage organizations have invested in the creation of collections that are amenable to computational use. Increasingly, the concept of collections as data is used to align efforts of this kind. In 2016, Always Already Computational: Collections as Data, supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, began developing the idea that digital collections could be more than digital surrogates of physical items and born digital objects; that digital collections could and should be offered as machine actionable data that are ready for computational research methods. Always Already Computational: Collections as Data demonstrated that librarians, archivists, and museum professionals readily understood the value of this work and were eager to expand the potential use of their collections. While interest is broad, the project found that cultural heritage professionals desired opportunities to further develop approaches to integrating and sustaining collections as data implementation and use as a core organizational activity. Collections as Data: Part to Whole aims to meet this challenge by supporting the development of broadly viable models that support implementation and use of collections as data (see grant narrative).


With support from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation, we will fund 12 teams. 6 teams will be funded in cohort 1. Each team can apply for $30,000 - $80,000. To ensure that project results will be valuable to scholars and sustainable within libraries, we are seeking proposals from collaborative teams jointly led by a librarian, archivist, or museum professional with senior administrative responsibilities, a disciplinary scholar, and a project lead.

Throughout the proposal process, we encourage you to send questions to the project team. Question can be sent using this form. We will respond promptly and schedule conversations with the project team and/or advisory board members.

Given the challenge of this type of work, funded teams will become part of a cohort and will be supported through a two-day Team Lead Institute where the team leaders, mentioned above, will be invited to learn from others and strengthen their work plans. To ensure that the work of funded teams can be a model for new scholars and institutions in undertaking similar projects, team leads will also present their work at a public facing summative forum at a later date. All three project leads for each project will be expected to participate in the Team Lead Institute and Summative Forum. The cost of attendance for each of the participants will be covered by the grant and need not be budgeted in project proposals.

Funding may be used for the following activities:

  • Buying out staff and/or faculty time
  • Fees associated with team training
  • Room rental and catering for meetings
  • Conference travel to present on the project

We discourage proposals that ask for funds for contingent or temporary labor. Student labor may be funded through the project as long as the students are fairly paid, and all participants are credited in project materials. Funds may not be used to pay for digitization or hardware. Per The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, indirect costs cannot be funded.


The applicant institution must be located in the United States or in an associated entity, e.g., the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or American Samoa.

Evaluation Criteria

  1. The proposed project - especially in the draft collections as data service plan and the draft implementation plan - will demonstrate:

    • innovative organizational thinking as it applies to the roles and services needed to support the use of collections as data

    • local sustainability

    • evidence of ready potential for adaptability by other institutions

  2. Proposed collections as data will articulate significant research value. Projects that reflect the perspectives of underrepresented and/or oppressed groups are highly encouraged.

  3. The proposed project will demonstrate commitment to developing and implementing processes for addressing complex ethical issues inherent to engagement with cultural heritage data.

  4. The proposed project will demonstrate knowledge of complementary collections, standards, and initiatives in the library field and scholarly disciplines that speak to project goals.

  5. The proposed project will utilize open source technologies that aim for interoperability with a broader open scholarly communication infrastructure.

Collections as Data: Part to Whole will place emphasis on proposals that demonstrate holistic organizational approaches to supporting collections as data use. Competitive proposals will simultaneously demonstrate intention to create collections as data that have high research value and the capacity to serve underrepresented communities. In light of the important work being done around digital archiving, born digital collections, and marginalized communities (Documenting the Now, for example), we are especially interested in seeing proposals from those communities.

Strong proposals will further evidence how project team members will be administratively supported throughout the project and how the project will continue to be supported, and potentially expanded, after the funded project is complete.


Proposals should follow this format and be submitted here.

  1. Name of project

  2. List of team members, titles, and roles on the project

  3. Investigator Bios

  4. Summary of project

  5. Project Rationale

    • The reason for the project, how it aims to serve particular communities; to what extent, if any, needs are currently addressed by your institution or other institutions, what needs to be done; what your institution needs to accomplish these tasks.
  6. Statement of Significance

  7. A preliminary draft of a collections as data service plan describing the roles and services within the institution that will support the use of the collections as data

  8. A preliminary draft of an implementation plan describing the workflows and technologies required for creating the collections as data

  9. An overview of the material to be made available as data

  10. Timeline of completion

  11. Budget and budget narrative

  12. Sustainability plan for the care and continued use of the collection after the funded portion of the project ends

  13. Statements of support

    • from the library director or administrative equivalent addressing what concrete measures they will take to make sure the project team has the resources it needs to complete the project - this may include proposed temporary revisions to job descriptions and the establishment of official working groups with representation at leadership council meetings

    • from the librarian, archivist, or museum professional with senior administrative responsibility addressing how this project will benefit their institution and how library team members will be supported in accomplishing their tasks

    • from the disciplinary scholar addressing how the data produced by this project will support the advance of research

    • from the project lead describing how the project will be organized


Thomas Padilla, thomas.padilla@unlv.edu

Code of Conduct

All project activity, both in person and online, aims to foster a welcoming and inclusive experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, nationality, or political beliefs. Harassment of participants will not be tolerated in any form. Harassment includes any behavior that participants find intimidating, hostile or offensive. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Please contact any member of the project team if you have concerns.