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U of C libraries receive $1 million in grant funding

By Zarif Alibhai, April 27 2017 — 

On March 31, the University of Calgary received about $1 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help evolve its library resources.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a private foundation based in New York. The foundation distributes grants to universities to promote research in the humanities and the arts.

U of C vice-provost libraries and cultural resources Tom Hickerson said receiving the grant is an honour, considering the foundation typically focuses on American schools. He said it will allow the university to increase digital documentation of its resources, as well as introduce collaboration spaces and new designs in research services.

Hickerson believes the grant will help libraries adapt to the changing needs of scholars and researchers. 

“The significance [of the grant] relates to reshaping the libraries’ role in supporting research — particularly multi-disciplinary research,” he said. “We are talking about a different kind of evolution,” he said.

In 2015, Hickerson led a planning study with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to gauge faculty members’ research needs. The study showed that analytics and visualization, data curation and sharing, digitization, metadata services, expertise, training and collaborative spaces were the main components necessary to perform multidisciplinary research.

“We included 50 faculty members, which we had here on campus, from more than 15 different disciplines. Also, we had outside facilitators because we didn’t want to interfere on shaping the discussion,” Hickerson said.

Hickerson hopes the $1-million grant will help advance research at the U of C.

“We think the library of tomorrow is not just going to be access to content in the traditional sense of journals, academic journals or printed books. It will include a diversity of media,” he said.

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