Reading Group

Collections as Data Reading Group

In 2108-2019, the the CDH Reading Group will partner with the Princeton University Library to explore the topic of "Collections as Data," and consider how Princeton’s library collections can be leveraged to support computationally-driven research and teaching. We invite members from the Princeton research community who play various roles in the creation, dissemination and use of library collections. Through short readings, discussions, presentations and hands-on activities, this group will identify ways that PUL collections are currently being exposed as data, and explore ways to better coordinate efforts to support and sustain cutting-edge data-driven scholarship at Princeton.

Topics for discussion may include:

  • What data does PUL currently make available?
  • Who are the main audiences on campus using PUL collections as data? Who else do we want to reach?
  • What are examples of research outcomes using library collections data?
  • What are the different types of data that we can make available?
  • What data does the library produce that is hidden or siloed?
  • How are changes in the cataloging and metadata profession transforming the data libraries produce?
  • How do we address the legal issues associated with data use and re-use (e.g. copyright, licensing, negotiating with vendors)?
  • What new workflows, roles and and services are needed to make our collections accessible as data?
  • What new skills or training would be needed to support the research use of collections as data? Who would provide that support?
  • What are barriers for making and using collections as data?

Our group will also read Safija Noble's Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, in advance of the author's public talk at Princeton on Thursday, Dec. 6. 

Meetings take place every three weeks during the semester, on Wednesdays, 12-1:20pm, at the CDH on B Floor of Firestone. Lunch will be provided. Discussion topics and short readings will be posted on the CDH events page in advance of the meeting. Drop ins are welcome!


Inspiration for Collections as Data comes from initiatives led by the Library of Congress and the IMLS-funded Always Already Computational: Collections as Data, which aims to promote conversations among librarians, archivists, and museum curators to develop a framework for creating and sharing cultural heritage collections as data and a community for developing best practices.


Proposed Fall 2018 Schedule& Topics