Wheaton Library Receives Two Grants for Digital Humanities

The TEI Archiving, Publishing, and Access Service (TAPAS), a digital humanities collaboration between  several institutions including the libraries at Wheaton College, Brown University, and the SHANTI project at the University of Virginia has been awarded two grants. The Brown and Wheaton libraries received a $250,000 National Leadership Grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which began in December 2011 and will run for two years. And the Wheaton library and SHANTI received a $50,000 Start-up Grant from the Office of Digital Humanities at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which began in January and will run one year.

The goal of TAPAS is to create a shared repository and a suite of publishing and preservation services for humanities scholars who are creating digital research materials using the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines.

TEI encoding offers both scholars and readers significantly richer options for annotating, searching, linking, and using digital texts. However, creating, preserving, and providing access to a TEI-encoded text can be very costly, and requires technologies and expertise that are not widely available, especially at smaller institutions like Wheaton. TAPAS is a community-driven, contributory project, committed to open access and open-source tools and approaches for publishing and archiving. It will enable scholars to share data and interface tools with one another and with the public. The resulting archive will permit broad access and support third-party interface development.

As Scott Hamlin, Director of Research and Instruction for Library and Information Services, notes, “”My hope is that TAPAS will make more digital humanities projects focused on digital preservation and textual analysis possible — especially those of us at small institutions like Wheaton. Up until now, many of these kinds of projects have been beyond a small liberal arts college’s resources. TAPAS will help tremendously by providing scholars, archivists, and students with what they need most to make their digital scholarship possible: a place to store their projects long term with a set of tools to publish and analyze their encoded texts online.” Andrew Ashton, Director of Digital Technologies, Brown University Library agrees: “TAPAS addresses the immediate needs of humanities scholars by storing and publishing their work, but it also provides a new venue for scholars working with TEI to share, discuss, and collaborate around that work.”

TAPAS will add a new dimension to Brown’s text encoding initiatives, pairing Brown’s technical expertise in digital repositories with emerging developments in web publishing and data representation.  By exploring the intersection of digital collections with web frameworks such as Drupal, the TAPAS group expects to develop a substantial body of highly transferable tools and knowledge. The NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant will fund initial user interface design. The IMLS grant will enable large-scale infrastructure development to make TAPAS a reality.

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 imls.gov

The Office of Digital Humanities (ODH) is an office within the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The primary mission of the ODH is to help coordinate the NEH’s efforts in the area of digital scholarship. The ODH works not only with NEH staff and members of the scholarly community, but also facilitates conversations with other funding bodies both in the United States and abroad so that we can work towards meeting these challenges. To learn more, please visit http://www.neh.gov/ODH/