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Fong Prize in Digital Scholarship

A prize spotlighting digital databases of East Asian materials.




About the Prize

Harvard University has made a significant commitment to developing and maintaining digital databases of East Asian materials. In order to realize the full potential of these databases, however, it is important to feature models of creative usage—i.e., to showcase concrete examples of how these databases can be used to make new discoveries, stimulate fresh lines of inquiry, and enhance more generally the communication of research.

It is with the goal of spotlighting such models that the Harvard-Yenching Library calls for submissions to the 2017 Fong Prize in Digital Scholarship.


Submission Requirements

Submissions must include:

  1. The model of usage (the main work)
    1. As noted above, we are interested in models of creative usage, which could help potential users appreciate the rich possibilities latent in the Harvard East Asian databases. The specific form of the model usage is entirely open, and may take such diverse forms as a website, interactive visualization, movie, article, etc. Any software developed for the Fong Prize should follow open source standards and be deposited to and documented in GitHub.
    2. The one essential condition is that the model make substantial use of at least one of the East Asia databases hosted at Harvard (listed below). Contestants are more than welcome, however, to combine use of the Harvard database(s) with use of databases hosted elsewhere.
  2. A guide explaining how the model was created
    1. In addition to the model of usage itself, each submission must also include a guide to the tools and techniques deployed in the model’s creation. This guide may take the form of a written document, PPT slides, or video tutorials—whatever might be necessary to help others pursue similar projects.
    2. Some winners may, in addition, be invited to Harvard to hold training workshops on campus on any special techniques and tools used in their prize submissions.
  3. Consent form (giving Harvard permission to feature the work on its website) Contestants must agree to have their submissions (models and guide) featured—should they be awarded a prize—on the websites of the relevant Harvard databases.

Submissions must be sent to the Librarian’s Office of the Harvard-Yenching Library by midnight August 20, 2017 (EDT). Queries should also be directed to this address. Winners will be announced by mid-September.



The competition is open to everyone in the world except the faculty and library staff of Harvard University. (Harvard students, non-library staff, visiting scholars, and postdoctoral fellows may apply.)



First prize winners will be awarded $3,000. Other prizes may also be awarded.