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Goals of the Program  

The program aims to support collaborative and creative use of resources through the creation of digital content of enduring value to the Cornell community and scholarship at large.  Application process does not require any expertise - all you need is a good idea as the Library's visual resources team will guide you through the application process. The program, funded by the College of Arts of Sciences and coordinated by the Cornell University Library, was developed by the  Arts & Sciences Visual Resources Advisory Group.  Information about the Cornell University Library's visual resources services is available at:

Examples of proposals that are within the scope of the grants program include:

  • Creating new digital collections that are based on resources regularly used in teaching or research, including lecture notes, slides, photographs, printed documents, and manuscripts.
  • Digitizing collections that are already held by the Cornell University, which are instrumental in supporting learning, teaching, and research at Cornell (Final selection of materials will be subject to ability to clear copyright, if required.)  View selected examples of sample collections.
  • Converting materials held by other cultural institutions, and that will support teaching and research at Cornell - especially combining dispersed resources to create new and enriched ones (Final selection of materials will be subject to ability to clear copyright, if required.). 

For examples of projects within the context of the grants program, see the 2010 and 2011 awards listed below.

The emphasis is on building a library of resources to support a range of scholarly activities in the College of Arts and Science and at Cornell in general rather than creating teaching applications or custom-designed web sites for a specific course. The digital collections created through this grants program will become a part of Cornell University Library's digital library.

Individual project awards will be in the range of $5,000+ in the form of digital collection development services and systems provided by the Library, collaboration planning, and wages or summer stipends for research assistants. Collaborative projects that combine internal and external funding and other special programs are welcome.

For more information or an initial assessment of a project idea, please email or call 255-1830

Proposal Selection Criteria

The grant program is open to Cornell faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Library particularly encourages projects that:

  • Increase the availability, and consequently the use of a collection of demonstrated scholarly significance
  • Identify collections from the Cornell University that are important and should be accessed online by a large community
  • Demonstrate strong interest within the academic community for access to the collection
  • Contribute significantly to the existing digital collections such as the ones included in the Cornell University Library's digital library.
  • Support the College's subject strengths

Application Process

Express initial interest by February 17, 2012  by sending an email to  In a paragraph please include the following information - description of collection, document types (photographs, monographs, manuscripts, slides, etc.) and estimated collection size.  

Staff from the Library's Digital Consulting and Production Services (DCAPS) will contact and assist applicants with the full proposal application process - including copyright issues, budgets, technology options. Full proposals due by March 30, 2012.  

Download full proposal application (.doc)

The Proposal Review Committee, comprised of members of the Arts & Sciences Visual Resources Advisory Group, will evaluate proposals and make their recommendations.

Important Dates for 2012 Program 

Stage                                                         Date

Express initial interest by                           February 17, 2012

Proposals due                                            March 30,  2012

Awards announcements                            May 2012

Planning & Implementation Begins          August 2012

2012 Awards

Peter Enns, Government – Campaign Funding and Political Speech
Digitization and OCR (conversion of images into machine-readable text) of a sample of newspapers will allow the textual analysis of how changes in campaign sources influence candidates’ political speech. Supporting research and teaching, this project will encourage collaboration with computer scientists at Cornell who are developing content analysis tools. The pilot will also support a grant proposal to the NSF in order to broaden this research to additional political districts.

Cheryl Finley, Art History – Lowentheil Collection of African-American Photographs
Collaborators: Katherine Reagan, Cornell University Library
This collection of African-American photographs stands to make a major impact on the study of African American visual culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as they reveal volumes about black life and struggles in uncommonly rare photographs. Through digitization this resource will be widely available to scholars of African American Studies, Art History, American Studies and the History of Photography. These materials complement already existing Cornell collections, including the May Anti-Slavery, Hip Hop, Noyes and Rudin materials.

Fred Gleach, Anthropology – Anthropological Collections
Collaborators: Eilis Monahan, Graduate Student, Near Eastern Studies
The Anthropology Collections (Department of Anthropology) include objects covering much of the range of human history and activities. The objects are used both for teaching and research purposes but are not regularly accessible due to facility and staffing limitations. The project will focus on a set of sub-collections for digitization to improve accessibility for students and faculty, increase awareness and use of the overall collections, and lay the framework for future education and research developments.

Travis Gosa, Africana Studies and Research Center – Obama Visual Iconography
Collaborators: Katherine Reagan, Cornell University Library
In 2008 Cornell Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC) began building a collection of political campaign publicity and memorabilia documenting the campaign and election of President Barack Obama. Online access to these materials will provide a unique visual iconography of the election of America’s first black President. It will constitute an important teaching and research resource for understanding modern campaign strategies and political mobilization. The resulting digital collection will be of interest to multiple disciplines, including art, art history, history, American studies, Africana studies, media studies, visual studies, political science, and government.

Peter Uwe Hohendahl, German Studies, Comparative Literature – Warburg’s “Atlas” Panels
Collaborators: Kizer Walker (Cornell University Library), Peter J. Potter (Cornell University Press), Christopher D. Johnson (Comparative Literature, Harvard University)
The goal of the project is to build an interactive resource for the exploration of the fragmentary “atlas of images” left by German Jewish art historian Aby M. Warburg (1866-1929).  The Atlas involves the assemblage of hundreds of images juxtaposed on wood panels. An interactive, web-based treatment of the Atlas will realize Warburg’s ideal, namely, that each viewer makes his or her own connections between the myriad images presented in the Atlas. This website will serve as a multimedia companion to “Signale: Modern German Letters, Cultures, and Thought” ( and will support exploration of new technologies and new partnerships in creating economically viable channels for disseminating scholarship.

Tamara Loos, History – Maps of Southeast Asia
Collaborators: Gregory Green (Cornell University Library), Boris Michev, (Cornell University Library)
The goal of the project is provide online access to the early maps of Southeast Asia, which are very unique and quite well known.  Currently they are available only for onsite use. The maps are of great value to courses covering the history of Southeast Asia, both at Cornell and elsewhere, providing online access will be a service to the academic community researching the region.

Kathryn March, Anthropology – Digital Tamang
The goal is developing a Digital Tamang Study Center by creating an online archive for both original and secondary source materials, organized in such a way that it is accessible to members of the local Tamang village community.  Initial contents will include field research material, based upon 37 years of research among the Tamang of central highland Nepal.  The project will address important cultural heritage issues pertaining to privacy and rights of access by identifying public access materials and those which remain restricted to Tamang community.

Tim Murray, Society for the Humanities/Comparative Literature & English – Experimental Television Center
Collaborators: Sherry Miller Hocking, Experimental Television Center
This project will enable the continuation of an exciting ongoing project to digitize and preserve the video collection of the Experimental Television Center (ETC), a prominent video art collection.  Second phase will also include associated ephemera and print material.  Access at Cornell will provide an invaluable resource to students and faculty studying the history of the contemporary media arts.  Wider use is anticipated once the collection is advertised, since the tapes have value for English, Africana, Latino Studies and Asian American Studies.  Over time, video art is likely to become an important component of core coverage courses in twentieth-century art history.

Steve Pond, Music and Travis Gosa, Africana – Hip Hop Collection/Conzo Archive
Collaborators: Katherine Reagan, Cornell University Library
Founded in 2007, Cornell’s hip hop collection is now the largest archive on early hip hop culture in the United States. A key foundational element of the collection is an assemblage of photographic prints by Bronx photographer Joe Conzo, Jr., taken between 1977 and 1984. Conzo is one of the few photographers known to have captured the early years of hip hop on film.  Online access to the collection will be of interest to multiple disciplines, including art, art history, dance, music, American Studies, Africana.  One of the project goals is to provide learning and teaching materials for a new Cornell course on hip hop.

Steve Pond, Music – Hip Hop Collection/ Flyers
Collaborators: Katherine Reagan, Cornell University Library
Hip hop party and event flyers contain the raw data of hip hop, from the days when hip hop was a performance based, localized culture from the streets of New York City. Digitization of additional flyers will build upon the online collection of Breakbeat Lenny, digitized in 2011 and we will seek to add crowdsourcing and mapping capabilities to enable students and others to better manipulate data and add to our knowledge.  Online access to the founding artifacts of hip hop culture is a topic of keen interest to multiple constituencies around the globe, both academic and community based.

Deborah Starr – Near Eastern Studies – Waguih Ghali Diaries
Collaborators: Ali Houissa, Middle East & Islamic Studies Bibliographer
The goal is to digitize the only known complete copies of diaries and manuscripts of Waguih Ghali, an Egyptian Coptic Anglophone writer who spent his adult life as a political exile.  There is a dearth of information about Ghali’s life and the diary entries will provide insights to his time in exile. Recently fragments of the diaries have been translated and published in the Egyptian press. Scholars around the world will have access to the complete set of diaries and unpublished manuscripts. The online archive will provide an invaluable source in support of teaching and research, especially within the context of Arab Diaspora.

2011 Awards

2011 awards were announced in May 2011 and the projects are in progress.  See the Cornell Chronicle story about the initiative.

Annetta Alexandridis, Classics/Art History - Greek and Roman Coin Collection
Collaborators: Verity Platt, Classics
Cornell’s coin collection is listed among the most important numismatic collections in the United States. Online availability of 1,500 coins from the ancient world with detailed descriptions will enable the integration of these coins in teaching and learning at Cornell and elsewhere. Because the coins are too valuable and risky, currently they can be used only for small-group classes. The potential is enormous.

David Bathrick, German Studies/Theater - Kluge Online,
Collaborators: Dr. Rainer Stollmann, University of Bremen(Germany), University of Bremen Library, Dr. Michael Jennings (Princeton University)
We will significantly expand the existing Muller-Kluge online collection, which is one of the most visited collections hosted by the Library. The website consist of interviews between West German filmmaker Alexander Kluge and the East German playwright Heiner Muller < The new site will will incorporate Kluge interviews with Hans Magnus Enzenberger and Oskar Negt. This initiative also involves a partnership and will enable Cornell to have access to Princeton's Kluge Research Collection.

Katsuya Hirano, History/Asian Studies - Japanese Woodblocks from the William Elliot Griffis Collection
Collaborators: Daniel McKee, Japanese Bibliographer, CUL
These 17th century Japanese woodblock printed books represent Japan’s initial attempts to understand the west and modernize itself. They are therefore of great importance in understanding the formation of modern Japan. These books, many of which are rare or even unique in US collections, have great appeal to historians, art historians, and scholars of cultural politics.

Tim Murray, Society for the Humanities/Comparative Literature & English - Experimental Television Center (ETC)
The funding will enable the digitization and preservation of the Experimental Television Center (ETC) video collection, which is a prominent video art collection. This project will provide an invaluable resource to students and faculty studying the history of the contemporary media arts and will be used in History of Art and Visual Studies, Comparative Literature, Art, Music, American Studies, Latino Studies, Asian American Studies, and Theatre, Film and Dance.

Karen Pinkus, Italian and Comparative Literature - Divine Comedy Image Archive, Fiske Dante Collection
Collaborators: Marilyn Migiel, Italian Literature, William Kennedy, Comparative Literature, Patrick Stevens, Curator, Fiske Dante Collection
The Divine Comedy, the chief epic poem in Italian literature, may be described as compulsory study for any student specializing in Italian literature. Italian Studies programs will be the initial beneficiaries of the DCIA, but interdisciplinary approaches such as art history, visual studies and the history of the book will also find the DCIA a significant resource. The Divine Comedy Image Archive will offer scholars a large and diverse repository of images accessible for research and publication and will be accompanied with English/Italian descriptions and transcriptions.

Steve Pond, Music - Hip Hop Collection
Collaborators: Katherine Reagan, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts; Bonna Boettcher, Music Library
Founded in 2007, Cornell’s hip hop collection is the largest archive on early hip hop culture in the United States. Faculty from the Departments/Programs of History, English, Africana Studies and Music have all incorporated elements of the archive into their research or teaching. This initial project will digitize flyers and preserve original recordings to set the stage for a future larger national grant with other partners aimed and enhancing access to and preserving the early history of hip hop culture.

2010 Awards

2010 awards were announced in May 2010 and the projects are in progress.  See the Cornell Chronicle story about the initiative.  






Janice Kanemitsu

Dan McKee

Asian Studies

Asia Collections/CUL

Japanese Theater Manuscripts - nineteenth century woodblock printed, heavily illustrated books on the Japanese theater. 20 Volumes/1600 pages


Digitization and online delivery

Annetta Alexandridis

Classics/Art History

Cornell's plaster cast collection that once consisted of ca. 600 casts of statues and inscriptions (made in the 19th century mainly from Greek and Roman, but also from Egyptian, Near Eastern, European Medieval and Renaissance objects), and several hundred casts of medallions and gem stones.


Digitization and online delivery

Howard Howland

Representing CAPE (Cornell Association of Professors Emerti)

Update "Contributions to Cornell history: Portraits and Memorabilia" by Elizabeth Baker Wells (Olin Ref LD 1371.WD 45)  This book of 265 pages was published in 1984 with a supplement published about 10 years later.  It lists about 2000 plaques, pictures, sculptures, and other objects of artistic and historical interest scattered around the Cornell campus.   It is an invaluable record of the University's historical and artistic artifacts.


Digitization, OCR for Database Development

Kath March

Bronwen Bledsoe


South Asia Collection/CUL

Nepali Texts
Nepali textbooks to be of interest to scholars in the politics, language/linguistics, sociology, religious studies, agricultural and international economic development studies, and of course, education. They are visually interesting, part of everyday and popular culture, and ripe for application to timely academic problems in virtually any field.


Nepali Texts

Digitization and online delivery as PDF. ~200 titles, 25,000 pages

David Bathrick

German Studies

Müller: Kluge - interviews between West German writer and film maker Alexander Kluge and the East German playwright Heiner Müller


Additional video content integrated into existing web delivery platform 


For more information, please email or call 255-1830.

DCAPS (Digital Consulting & Production Services)
175 Kroch Library

For general assistance with Visual Resources & Digital Support Services

Visual Resources Support for A&S Faculty

Information about imaging, metadata creation, online access, and visual resource support services are available at

Grants Program Poster

Click for the 2012 poster


Click for the2011 poster


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