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Open Your Hidden Collections 2015

April 10, 2015


Dear colleagues,

One of the objectives of the Harvard Library is to enable effective access to the world of knowledge and data through intuitive discovery, networks of expertise, and global collaborations. An important part of this is making discoverable the valuable resources in collections that are currently inaccessible to our patrons.  

Due to the success of the first call for proposals to uncover hidden collections last year and the successful implementation of the nineteen projects that received funding, we have decided to put out another call for proposals to be awarded funding effective July 1, 2015.

We have allocated $500,000 as extra support for projects to uncover more hidden collections. This message outlines arrangements to deploy funds, which are available to all units within the Harvard Library. Eligible projects can focus on both historic and contemporary holdings in any format whose metadata does not currently support robust discovery.   

This money must be spent by June 30, 2016. We are eager to receive proposals from throughout the library community, and also to hear a broad range of comments and suggestions once proposals have arrived. We therefore want to share broadly this background description, including the nomination form for proposals. Proposals can be submitted by any head of a library unit; others are invited to explore partnerships with library head sponsors. The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2015. 

A seven-person screening group (Karen Beck, Alison Donnelly, Franziska Frey, Tom Hyry, Kathryn Jacob, Lidia Uziel, and Scott Wicks) will preview all applications for eligibility. The eligible proposals will again be made available online for the community’s comments and evaluations. These assessments will be advisory rather than determinative.

The screening group, after reviewing the proposals and the evaluations, will prepare a rank ordered list of recommended proposals for consideration by the Vice President for the Harvard Library and the Library Leadership Team. They will then decide which proposals to fund.

Evaluation Priorities and Criteria:

  • Preference will be accorded to proposals that demonstrate that improved access will benefit our students and scholars.
  • Preference will be accorded to collections that meet the needs of more than one discipline or constituency.
  • Preference will be accorded to proposals that are cost-effective and operationally realistic.
  • Preference will be accorded to proposals whose scale can vary as more or less resources become available.
  • Preference will be accorded to proposals for which the library unit can provide necessary preparatory and follow-on support.
  • Applicants are invited to provide matching funds or in-kind support as appropriate.

With these criteria in mind, we hope to support a variety of proposals.


  • April 30: Deadline for proposals.
  • Week of May 4: Eligible proposals posted online, with evaluation forms.
  • May 11: Deadline for community comments and evaluations.
  • Week of May 11: Screening group prepares rank ordered list of projects to present to the Vice President for the Harvard Library and the Library Leadership Team.
  • May 22: Funding decisions finalized by Harvard Library administration; sponsors notified.
  • Week of May 25: General communication to report results.

If your proposal depends on services that will be provided by another group (e.g. Imaging Services, ITS, Library Technology Services, HUIT, Media Preservation Services, Weissman Preservation Center, etc.) the project lead should work with that group in developing the proposal. Please allow those groups at least five working days to prepare the feasibility estimate.

If you have questions about the process, please contact Franziska Frey.

We look forward to your proposals!

Sarah Thomas

Vice President for the Harvard Library and
Roy E. Larsen Librarian of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences