The University of Connecticut’s Greenhouse Studios and its partners have received a $805,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The grant will be distributed over two years and will help with the development of the Sourcery app which aims to make accessing archives and other rare collections easier for researchers.
Many important documents have yet to be digitized even in today’s digital world. In an interview with UConn Today, associate professor of history and co-inventor of Sourcery Tom Scheinfeldt described how few documents have been converted for online-access.
“Only a tiny fraction of the world’s documents have been digitized,” Scheinfeldt said.
To access a lot of important archives and collections today, a researcher must either request an electronic copy, which takes a while to be sent, if at all, or they must physically travel to see it. Traveling of course is time-consuming and very hard during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sourcery app aims to solve this problem according to its website.
“Sourcery aims to improve the systems and technologies whereby researchers access not-yet digitized archival documents.”Sourcery official website.
In areas of service, a researcher can request a document from an institution. At that institution, researchers and graduate students are paid a small fee to digitize that document. Within a short period of time, the document is sent to the researcher’s Sourcery inbox.
When asked about how the grant will help with app development, Brian Daley, co-inventor and assistant professor-in-residence at the Department of Digital Media and Design said via email that the grant would fund developing and implementing the app.
“In a nutshell, the grant is going to help us pay for development and implementation costs associated with growing and supporting the app over the next couple of years. If all goes well, the app will eventually become self-sustaining,” Daley said.
Sourcery has launched at a select number of collecting institutions, including the UConn Storrs campus. It is expected to continue to expand its outreach in 2022, with an Open Beta launched late last year.