May-Crane Fellowships

A chance for Harvard undergraduate and graduate students to work on a project under the mentorship of Harvard Library.

Harvard Library's May-Crane Fellowships offer undergraduate and graduate students at Harvard the opportunity to work on a project at the library. Fellows work closely with a library mentor to complete their project.

Fellows are awarded up to $3,500 (undergraduate students) or up to $5,000 (graduate students) to complete a library project under the guidance and mentorship of a librarian or archivist.

How to Apply

Any undergraduate or graduate student who is currently enrolled at Harvard is encouraged to apply.

A small committee of Library leadership members selects the fellows for the program.

Choose a Project

Review the proposed fellowship projects (see projects listed below). Choose which you'd like to apply to work on. You may submit more than one application. 

Application Deadline

Tuesday, March 12, 2024. 

Fellowship Dates

Fellow Selection Announcement: late March/early April 2024

Fellowship runs: June — August 2024


Applicants should review the proposed fellowship projects below and choose which one you'd like to work on. 


Undergraduate students: up to $3,500

Graduate students: up to $5,000

Projects will indicate if they are for undergraduates or graduate students. 


Applications have now closed for 2024.

Things to Know

  • Fellows are assigned a mentor from the library and work on defined projects under the mentor's supervision.  
  • Fellows are expected to assume full responsibility for their projects.
  • Each fellow must submit a final report of this work describing and evaluating their experiences.
  • Undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled at Harvard are eligible to apply (not incoming or outgoing)
  • Fellows must be located in the state of Massachusetts for the duration of the fellowship work
  • Projects will indicate whether they are for undergraduates or graduate students
  • Fellowship is ~150 hours; fellows will be responsible for submitting hours weekly (details to be provided if awarded)

Library Projects 2024

Projects support work across Harvard Library and range from digitizing materials to working on exhibits or taking a deep dive into a collection. Select a project that resonates with you. 

GIS Historical Map Analysis


The Harvard Geospatial Library (HGL) is a place to search for and download many types of geospatial data. Data sets are available from around the world at various scales, from global to local. Each data set is delivered with complete metadata, making it easier to add to a GIS (geographic information system) and compare to other data sets about the same place.

Through this project, the Fellow will be introduced to the ways GIS can aid in analyzing historical map archives in research libraries and, generate new research by amplifying information embedded in historic maps. The Fellow will be tasked with creating a web map highlighting the GIS materials they create during the project, and a written accompaniment to the digital component that describes their work.

No technical experience is required; fellows will work with library staff to learn the GIS methods, define spatial research questions, and generate spatial datasets. Candidates should include in their statement of interest ways they envision learning GIS methods and working with historic maps aligns with their unique academic and career trajectories.

Qualitative Research Services at Harvard Library

Graduate or advanced Undergraduate

Qualitative data is gathered from sources like interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, participant observation, open-ended surveys, and recordings. Harvard Library provides qualitative research support to all students, researchers, faculty and staff at Harvard interested in using qualitative software and in qualitative research generally.

The Fellow will be directly involved in the offerings of the Qualitative Research Services team and help evaluate areas of enhancing these services. This fellowship will result in a polished finished product of a report on the current state of the field of AI integration in Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA). The fellow will gain skills evaluating AI generators in a range of qualitative data analysis platforms (NVivo, Atlas.ti, MAXQDA, Dedoose, possibly others.) Fellow will also learn digital skills in curating a webpage on the Qualitative Research Library Guide, instructional skills for building the curriculum and teaching a research methods workshop. 

Candidates should include in their application coursework completed in qualitative research methods and experience with AI.

About the Fellowship

The May-Crane Fellowships are designed to encourage undergraduate engagement with Harvard Library and to help advance the careers of graduate students. Fellows partner with library staff to work on projects in a range of areas, from collections to preservation to research, teaching and learning. 

students and professor look at a book

During the fellowship, a library mentor supervises and provides expertise as fellows complete their projects. These are immersive opportunities where fellows become an integral part of the library. While getting to know librarians and the library environment firsthand, they will be expected to assume responsibility for their projects and work independently.

At the end of the projects, the fellows will be asked to submit a final report describing their work and evaluating their experiences and contributions. Fellows will also be given the opportunity to present their work as a cohort.

Past Fellows and Projects

Summer 2023 Fellows

  • Hinal Jajal: Historic Dataset Pilot Research
  • Rachel Beard: Documenting and Exploring Rare Atlases
  • Antara Bhattacharya & David Alan Hannan: Transliteration Tools for Arabic and Persian Languages
  • Vivian Nha Nguyen & Dhruv Chugh: Expanding Geospatial Access

Learn about the 2023 May-Crane Fellows' projects.

Summer 2022 Fellows

  • Leo Sarbanes: Recreating Physical Exhibits for the Digital World
  • Bes Bajraktarevic: DIBAR Digitization Program Support
  • Sarah Aziz: Finding Aids for Middle East Collections
  • Ricky Sanchez: Urban Segregation

Learn more about the 2022 May-Crane Fellows' projects.

Previous project outcomes have also included:

  • Selecting a platform and curating online exhibits to enhance users' virtual experience
  • Augmenting information in the online collection, City Maps and Urban Environments, to demonstrate historical segregation in cities
  • Project management of digitization processes on EDIBA collections
  • Creation of a comprehensive virtual finding aid for Middle East Collections
  • Building out watermark and image databases and drafting watermark imaging protocol
  • Enhancing Wikipedia entries for historical Harvard women and minority figures
  • Evaluating the Peer-Research Fellows and First-Year Librarians programs
  • Creating ‘how-to’ research guides for students in conjunction with the launch of GenEd 2.0
  • Crafting content for digital materials to increase awareness of Harvard’s collections



A Master Class in Library Research for GSAS Students, offered every January