Call for Testing Partners
- Submission Deadline: June 1, 2021
- Collaborative Testing Partner Selection by June 22, 2021
- Period of Performance: July 2021-May 2022
- Questions and concerns should be directed to the OTG team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the past decade, many institutions of higher education have begun to publicly examine and embrace their historical roles in the injustices and legacies of slavery. So far, however, there is no common, shared method for collecting, organizing, and describing historical data from the rich archival holdings of all these institutions. The absence of a common, shared approach to documenting, describing, and organizing the data derived from the archival records relating these histories limits researchers’ understanding of the lives and experiences of the enslaved across these institutional contexts, retards search and discovery across collections, and constrains the possibilities of a broader analysis of American educational institutions’ historical ties to slavery.
Therefore, a core team of experienced digital history experts, archivists, and historians of slavery from Michigan State University (MSU), the University of Virginia (UVA), and Georgetown University (GU) has, with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, undertaken the On These Grounds (OTG), a project
- to create, evaluate, revise, and disseminate a LOD ontology focused on adequately describing the lived experiences of those enslaved individuals who labored in bondage at higher education institutions that are represented in those institutions’ archival holdings;
- to create a set of resources, both descriptive guidance and support materials, that will enable other colleges and universities to undertake this work;
- and, to both aggregate the resulting data in the service of increasing the discoverability of this information and of fostering new scholarship.
Collaborative Testing Partners
Given the goals of the OTG project, we are seeking four colleges or universities that have an institutional history of involvement with slavery to test the viability of the alpha version of the OTG Event Ontology to adequately describe the events depicted in archival materials. Successful Collaborating Partner teams should be composed of an archivist or librarian and an historian familiar with the institution’s history with these events. In selecting Collaborating Partners, the OTG team will try to identify groups with records that include events not accounted for in the initial testing base from the Core Partner institutions. The Collaborating Partner teams must be willing to implement a testing protocol with their holdings over a nine-month period, and to provide the OTG with full and constructive feedback about their experiences with the data model. Applicants need not have an infrastructure in place to publish linked open data. At the end of the testing period, the Collaborating Partners will have a model for moving forward with this type of descriptive work for a full set of records. Published data will be aggregated and openly shared to offer a macro-level view of these events across institutions.
Selected Collaborating Partners will receive:
- The OTG Event Ontology alpha v.0.9 to test with institutional archival holdings
- A testing protocol and feedback collection instrument
- Supporting materials, including documentation and suggested descriptive practices for events, people, and places
- $10,000 award consisting of two $5,000 payments (Summer 2021 & Winter 2022) to support staff time or wage work to perform testing
- For those who do not already have the infrastructure to create and publish linked data, OTG will provide Resources Templates and documentation to facilitate getting up and running with Omeka S quickly and affordably.
Collaborating Partners will be supported by a two-day virtual launch meeting with the Lead Project Partners in July 2021. After the launch meeting, the Collaborating Partners will join in an ongoing community of practice sharing their experiences using the descriptive model. Finally, all of the partners will come together for a summative virtual meeting to offer final feedback on their testing experiences.
Some requirements and guidelines:
- The applicant institution must be located in the United States or in an associated entity, e.g., the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or American Samoa.
- Two project leads for each team will participate in the virtual Collaborative Testing Partner Launch Meeting.
- Data developed in the course of the project must be released openly, in accordance with 5 Star Open Data principles. Exceptions can be made for data in the event that open release presents an ethical issue.
- Student labor may be funded through the project as long as the students are fairly paid, and all participants are credited in project materials. Funds may not be used to pay for digitization or hardware. Per The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, indirect costs cannot be funded.
Please prepare an application document that includes the following elements:
- Name of the Institution
- List of project team, titles, and roles
- Teams must include one librarian or archivist and one historian.
- Include a short bio for each team member (~200 words)
- Describe the institution’s approach to grappling with its history with enslavement (up to 1,000 words)
- Describe the archival holdings already identified that pertain to the history of slavery at the institution (up to 1,000 words)
- Summarize the collections that contain these records
- Discuss the types of events included in the records
- Describe the institution’s digital infrastructure for creating and publishing open data (up to 500 words)
- Institutions without existing infrastructure are welcome to apply.
- Detail the team’s testing management plan (up to 1,000 words)
- Discuss the plans for overseeing and executing the descriptive work necessary to test the OTG data model.
- Note any possible obstacles to doing the testing work.
- Budget and budget narrative
- If necessary, the budget should include hosting costs for an instance of Omeka S
- Statement of commitment to open data access (up to 250 words)
Submit materials as a pdf attachment via email to email@example.com
Due date: June 1, 2021
Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Description of archival holdings related to institutional slavery:
- The institution has already identified the archival material that demonstrates this history.
- The records include evidence of a range of types of events related to the lived experience of slavery at that institution.
- Special consideration will be given to those institutions that might extend the events surfaced in the initial testing, based on their size, affiliation, geographic location, or historical particularity.
- The qualifications of the project team:
- The archivist or librarian on the team is qualified to undertake and/or manage the work of data creation.
- The historian on the team has the adequate expertise to identify and interpret historical events related to slavery within archival holdings.
- A management plan that demonstrates a realistic approach to developing data while testing the event ontology.
Questions and concerns should be directed to the OTG team at firstname.lastname@example.org