The 2020–2021 Harvard Library Advancing Open Knowledge Grant Recipients

April 8, 2021

Seven projects have received funding of up to $10,000 in the inaugural 2020–2021 award cycle of Harvard Library’s Advancing Open Knowledge Grants Program, which seeks to advance open knowledge and foster innovation to further diversity, inclusion, belonging and anti-racism.

The funded projects are:

Jess Rios and Christine Fernsebner Eslao, Symposium: Facilitating Author Self Identification For Discovery and Inclusive Knowledge Production
One barrier to diversifying library collections is the lack of an easy way to discover how authors identify themselves. Identifying race, gender, and other aspects of authorial identity would be best served by enabling the authors to do so for themselves. We plan to hold a symposium with invited speakers to share expertise, engage in conversations around issues in author self-identification, and lay the groundwork of future working groups or development, both at Harvard and other institutions.

Kerry Masteller, The Music in The Music of Black Americans
As one way of meeting the challenge of making music by Black American composers easier to discover and perform, Loeb Music Library will supply an inventory of the musical examples in Dr. Eileen Southern’s foundational text, The Music of Black Americans (1971), with links to library records and digital surrogates. An appendix to a larger web project that celebrates the book’s 50th publication anniversary, the information in the inventory will be widely reusable by scholars, teachers, and performers.

Louise Collins, Uncovering the Diverse History of Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Drawing on the extensive physical collections at the Abraham Pollen Archives, this multi-stage project will seek to identify the first Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and women residents, fellows, clinicians, and researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear to share their stories, and highlight significant contributions that BIPOC and women at MEE have made to their specialties. During the six-month grant term, APA staff will focus on making metadata available in HOLLIS, and finding aids in ArchivesSpace.

Daina Bouquin, Research Support for the Figures in the Sky Initiative
The Wolbach Library will identify, curate, and begin to create open resources that elevate Black and Indigenous voices and their astronomical heritage. The project team will focus on presenting and contextualizing asterisms from Native American and Native Hawai‘ian traditions and the African diaspora, with the ultimate goal of connecting people with resources to help them understand and appreciate different astronomical cultures, and engage in conversations about how colonialism and racism have been, and continue to be, facets of astronomical pursuits.

Dorothy Berry, Enhancing Slavery, Abolition, Emancipation, and Freedom: Primary Sources from Houghton Library for Deeper Research
This project will enhance the research and educational possibilities for Houghton Library’s Slavery, Abolition, Emancipation, and Freedom: Primary Sources from Houghton Library (SAEF) digitization project, a curated set of over 2,000 rare and unique materials illustrating African American history from the 18th century through the turn of the 20th century. The project is planned to culminate with two additional deliverables: a DublinCore based dataset on the digitized records available through DataVerse, and an easy to access curated CURIOSity site.

Ron Lacey, Accessibility of Library Materials for the Visually Impaired
A first step towards offering new services that will lead to a fuller inclusion of people with disabilities, this project will equip one of the two sound-proof recording studios in Cabot Science Library to produce audio recordings of library materials and to make them accessible to members of the Harvard community who are blind or otherwise visually impaired. In addition to outfitting one of Cabot’s studios, equipment will also be purchased to allow some recording and post-production work from remote locations.

Susan Berstler, Tech Lending Projection Mapping Kit
Projection mapping is a way to communicate and create collective experiences beyond the confines of the indoor space: knowledge can be shared on the surfaces of historical buildings and monuments in order to provoke new thinking about their histories. This project will explore how projection mapping can be used to express the idea of inclusion and anti-racism to a broader audience by creating a projection mapping kit that will be made available to students, faculty, and staff through Cabot Science Library’s ongoing technology lending program.

The Advancing Open Knowledge program co-managers, Jehan Sinclair, Claire DeMarco, and Colleen Cressman, as well as a team of library staff reviewers, evaluated the projects on criteria related to user impact, DIBAR impact, innovation, contributions to open knowledge, integration with Harvard Library infrastructure, and accessibility. The review process will be evaluated and adapted for the second round of grants.

This announcement was adapted from an April 6, 2021 post on the Harvard Library Communications blog.