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Computing Cultural Heritage in the Cloud

Female and male explorer walk away from trail of photographs with the caption so many stories
Illustration by Jonathan Ashley

This grant concluded in June 2024.

With grant support from the Mellon Foundation, the Library tested a cloud-based approach for interacting with digital collections as data. In phase one, a cohort of researchers were invited to pursue computational research questions in collaboration with subject matter experts and IT specialists at the Library. This phase led to a number of insights that helped shape phase two, in which data packages, resources, and workflows were developed and tested iteratively with public researchers and staff. Read more on The Signal.

Grant Products

A Search for the Heart: CCHC Web Comic

En Busca del Corazón: CCHC Webcómic

Data artist and 2018 Innovator in Residence Jer Thorp coauthored a web comic with illustrator Jonathan Ashley to communicate the work of this grant using a special story from (and of) the Library's collections.

Static Versions in English and Español

PDF Versions in English and Español

Findings from this grant confirmed that the context of cultural heritage data is fundamental to its value for researchers, and inseparable from its usefulness. The CCHC grant team devised as a space to share “data packages” – or self-contained presentations of library data with more information about their meaning, provenance, and technical and historical context. The data packages were created and tested with researchers in multiple iterations in phase two of the grant, with the latest version debuting in June 2024 at the grant’s close-out event.

This grant also called attention to the fact that computing with cultural heritage materials is a specialized skillset, given the heterogeneity and complexity of these materials. Supporting people, both inside and outside of our organizations, in developing, using, and sharing the necessary skills will broaden opportunities for creative public and scholarly engagement with these materials. Expanding use of github for sharing scripts, notebooks, and visualizations of Library data was an additional outcome of the grant.

Program Support

We'd like to credit and thank everyone that has been involved in this initiative!


  • Lincoln Mullen, Associate Professor at George Mason University in the Department of Art and Art History and Director of Computational History at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media
  • Lauren Tilton Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Richmond in the Department of Rhetoric & Communication Studies and Co-director of Photogrammar and the Distant Viewing Lab
  • Andromeda Yelton, Software Engineer and professionally trained librarian

Advisory Board

  • Katrine Hofmann Gasser
    Section Manager at the Royal Danish Library
  • John Hessler
    Geography and Maps Division, Library of Congress
  • Harriett Green
    Associate University Librarian for the Digital Scholarship and Technology Services Division, Washington University in St.Louis
  • Dr. Liz Lorang
    Associate Professor of Libraries, University of Nebraska Lincoln
  • Dr. Ian Milligan
    Associate Professor in the Department of History, University of Waterloo
  • Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble
    Associate Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the Department of Information Studies
    Co-Director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry
  • Dr. Sarah Stone
    Executive Director, eScience Institute, University of Washington
  • Dr. John Walsh
    Director of HathiTrust Research Center, Associate Professor of Information and Library Science, School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, Indiana University, Bloomington

Program Staff

  • Laurie Allen, LC Labs Chief
  • Olivia Dorsey, Innovation Specialist
  • Meghan Ferriter, Senior Innovation Specialist
  • Brian Foo, Senior Innovation Technologist
  • Alice Goldfarb, Innovation Specialist
  • Eileen Manchester, Innovation Specialist

and many more collaborators across the agency!

Participants and Presenters at workshops, data jams, and conferences!

Claudia Berger, Dallas Card, Daniel Van Strien, Dr. Tim Sherratt, Dr. Zoe LeBlanc, Filipa Calado, Harriet Green, Henrik Smith-Sivertsen, Ian Spangler, Jesse Johnston, Lincoln Mullen, Lyrric Jackson, Megan O'Donnel, Nabil Kashyap, Nichole Misako Nomura, Quinn Dombrowsky, Scout Calvert, Stig Roar Svenningsen, Thomas Padilla, Vikram Mohanty, Wenjie Wang, and Yao-Yi Chiang.

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