Archival documents app developed at UConn expands

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logo via https://sourceryapp.org/

Sourcery, an app developed by a team at the University of Connecticut, helps researchers access documents in archives and libraries. It is expanding its service area, according to an article in UConn Today. The app was initially available in Storrs, Boston and New York City and is now becoming available in Washington D.C. and New Haven, Connecticut.  

Sourcery provides a way for researchers to view documents that are unavailable online and located in archives without having to travel, according to the app’s website.  

The website states that a researcher can use the app to place a request for a document in an archive in Sourcery’s coverage area. Then, another researcher located near the archive will be paid to obtain the document and send it digitally through the app. 

Introducing Sourcery: A Document Delivery App. Video retrieved via Greenhouse Studios UConn YouTube Channel.

As Sourcery expands, new cities are chosen based on the number of archives located there and how close they are to Storrs, according to Brian Daley, development lead for Sourcery and an Assistant Professor-in-Residence in the Department of Digital Media and Design. 

“Current selection criteria mostly comes down to the city’s number of archival repositories and their geographic distance from Storrs,” he said. “Institutions that are closer in proximity are a little easier to work with since our Sourcery team members typically have an existing working relationship with those institutions. In most cases, these cities also have a large number of graduate students and researchers who are capable of fulfilling document requests within the Sourcery app.” 

Sourcery was developed by Greenhouse Studios at UConn and the Corporation for Digital Scholarship, an organization that develops software for research, according to the Sourcery website. The Sourcery team includes UConn faculty as well as web development and archive experts. 

According to the Greenhouse Studios website, it “forges diverse and democratic collaborations that build humanities scholarship in new formats to engage new audiences.” Located in the UConn Library, it is a collaboration between the UConn Library, the Department of Digital Media & Design in the School of Fine Arts and the UConn Humanities Institute in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

In July, Greenhouse Studios and the Northeastern University Library received a $120,000 grant for the Sourcery project from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, according to a post on the Greenhouse Studios blog

According to the blog post, the grant money will be used to further develop Sourcery and bring it to new locations, as well as work on an enterprise version of the app to be used directly by organizations. 

“Funding from the Mellon Foundation will allow the Sourcery team to expand the geographical reach of the app, improve its user interface and work with partners in libraries and archives to support the development of the enterprise version of the software,” the post said. 

“Funding from the Mellon Foundation will allow the Sourcery team to expand the geographical reach of the app, improve its user interface and work with partners in libraries and archives to support the development of the enterprise version of the software.”

Daley said that the Sourcery team and the Northeastern University Library will be seeking input from archives as they work on the enterprise version. 

“As a part of our Mellon Foundation grant, we will be working with Northeastern University Libraries to bring together a diverse group of researchers and archivists from across the country. With their insight and expertise, we hope to chart a course for the next iteration of our institutional app,” he said. 

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