Glen Worthey, associate director for research support services at the HathiTrust Research Center, is among the first recipients of new grant funding to advance digital scholarship in cultural institutions, through a joint initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the United Kingdom's Arts and Humanities Research Council.
The first round of NEH/AHRC New Directions for Digital Scholarship in Cultural Institutions grants provides funding to eight teams of international researchers for collaborative projects. The program aims to develop new methods of sharing culture and heritage with global audiences, open new research frontiers, and advance collections-based research methods.
Worthey is the project director of "AEOLIAN (Artificial intelligence for cultural organizations)," a collaboration with Loughborough University in the U.K. The project will bring together a team of experts to develop and examine new approaches—particularly artificial intelligence and machine learning—for improving access to and use of digital collections that are currently restricted due to privacy concerns or copyright protection. The objectives are to make the digital collections more accessible; to analyze them using innovative AI research methods; and to identify potential collaborations between U.S. and U.K. cultural organizations, Worthey said.
The research team will organize six online workshops over two years; grow the international network of scholars working with digital archives; and produce a major interdisciplinary report on the uses of AI at cultural institutions, along with a series of agenda-setting scholarly publications, he said.
The collaborative effort is being led by the HathiTrust Research Center, which is cohosted by the iSchool. It involves partnerships with several U.S. and U.K. universities and libraries, and digital humanities research scholars.