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Developing the Future of Libraries: Phase I Sub-Grant Projects


The Developing the Future of Libraries project, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, provides funding for multidisciplinary research projects in the thematic areas of Smart Cities, Arctic Studies, and Cultural Discourse as part of a research project, led by Principal Investigator Thomas Hickerson.

The research projects are designed to establish a research platform—a suite of common services, such as digitization and metadata support, technical infrastructure, such as visualization and collaborative spaces, and expertise, in areas including data management and rights management—delivered by the library to support multidisciplinary research. However, there are likely services, technologies and expertise that the library needs to develop which will be informed through this competition targeting scholars working in the thematic areas of Smart Cities, Arctic Studies, and Cultural Discourse.

In the first phases of project funding the following five projects have been selected.



Principal Investigator: Brent Else, Geography

The goal of the ArcticSensorWeb is to provide public, realtime access to scientific sensors in the Arctic.  The resulting website will provide Northern communities with better local information about environmental conditions and provides researchers a means to give back to the communities in which they conduct their research.

Digitally Preserving Alberta’s Diverse Cultural Heritage

Principal Investigator: Peter C. Dawson, Anthropology and Archaeology

This project features the creation of a digital platform to preserve and disseminate datasets captured from Alberta’s diverse cultural heritage resources.  These datasets include incredibly accurate 3D scans and building information models that provide means to preserve and monitor Alberta’s at-risk provincial cultural heritage sites.  They also provide photorealistic 3D models that will be used to create virtual reality apps for education and public outreach.

Mapping Urban Healthscapes

Principal Investigator:  Suzanne Goopy, Nursing

This effort uses data collected from the Barriers to Walkability project to create the Urban Healthscapes Map; an empathic cultural map offering detailed, qualitative insights into individual and group experiences of living and working in a particular area.  This map will be applied to knowledge translation and exchange activities with community members, policy makers, and educators.

Open Data for a Smarter City

Principal Investigator: Ryan Burns, Geography

While the City of Calgary’s Open Data Portal hosts of variety of city-produced datasets, there are many more datasets exploring our city created by researchers, community associations, non-profit organizations, and others that could be incredibly useful if shared.  This project will create an open data repository at the Taylor Family Digital Library in order to determine best practices in collecting, archiving, and distributing these diverse datasets and follow their use in better understanding our city.

Paper Traces in Digital Environments

Principal Investigator: Stefania Forlini, English

Due to the sheer volume of published works, scholars tracing the history of literary genres have traditionally focused on small numbers of representative works.  Mass digitization of collections – and the computational analyses it allows – offers unprecedented opportunities for moving from small samples to large-scale research. However, digitization introduces a critical blind spot; it preserves the text, but often eliminates physical features such as size, paper types and bindings that provide important historical traces of print technologies, markets, and readerly interactions.  This project examines the importance of these traces within the University of Calgary’s Bob Gibson Collection of Speculative Fiction Collection; exploring better ways of capturing physical features and material-based metadata in the digitization process and in the presentation of digitized collections.

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