HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) Seeks Proposals for Advanced Collaborative Support (ACS) Projects

The Advanced Collaborative Support Program (ACS) is a scholarly service at the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) offering collaboration between external scholars and HTRC staff to solve challenging problems related to computational analysis. By working together with scholars, we facilitate computational-oriented analytical access to HathiTrust based on individual scholarly or educational need.

We are pleased to be offering non-consumptive access to the entire HathiTrust collection. HTRC seeks proposals in each of the below three categories:

I. Extracted features dataset: pre-extracted features, such as part-of-speech tagged token counts, have been extracted at the page level. The most recent release has page-level features from 13.6 million volumes.

  •  Example ACS help: HTRC staff help identify and package the right subset of volumes for your use. HTRC staff help select tools to analyze the content.

II. HTRC parallel analysis tools: tools for large scale analysis, i.e., parallel analysis and pattern matching using large-scale parallel compute resources

  • Example ACS help: HTRC staff assist in building large-scale corpus workset; run analysis on large-scale parallel computer on behalf of scholar.

III. Data Capsule service: the Data Capsule service gives researchers/educators a Capsule (computer) that runs in the HTRC environment to carry out their research. A researcher is free to flexibly configure their environment as they need with their own tools, import their workset, and then in a secure mode execute their analysis tools on HathiTrust content. Data Capsule supports an increasingly wide range of Capsule types with various built in community accepted analysis tools that make use of the Data Capsule system easier to use.

  • Example ACS help: HTRC staff assist in building a large-scale workset from a corpus; help scholar install their tools in a Capsule and link them to the data services.

Possible Topics:

  • Analysis using an external dataset and HT content within a Capsule

  • Analyze workset-defined corpus within a pipeline of tools in Capsule where data provenance is gathered

  • Capsule results as published worksets

  • Build a novel dataset of derived features for a specific community using the HTRC parallel analysis tools

  • Derive new knowledge from the extracted feature dataset and other sources

These services are developed from the entire text corpus of the HathiTrust Digital Library, a collection of 15 million volumes digitized from 45 research libraries in North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia. Approximately 60% of the collection is in-copyright and is available for data mining only through the HathiTrust Research Center. More descriptive statistics about the collection can be found online:

HTRC anticipates awarding up to 4-6 ACS projects this round, depending on scope of projects on HTRC staff, with at least three awardees spots reserved for applicants from HathiTrust member institutions. Key content of the proposal should include the research context and problems, identification of one of the three operational interaction modes (I-III above) in which the scholar proposes to work, a detailed characterization of the data to be engaged, projected outcomes, and if can be provided, a description of the type of assistance sought from HTRC.

RFP Available: April 7, 2017

Proposals Due: 5:00 pm Eastern, June 19, 2017

Award Notification: July 14, 2017

Proposals should be submitted electronically as a single zip file to

Program Description 

The HTRC ACS awards are modeled in the form of HTRC staff time. Each awarded proposal will receive access to dedicated HTRC staff to collaborate on the proposed project during the award period. The HTRC ACS staff consists of specialists in both information and computer sciences.

Awardees can be individual scholars or a team of scholars. The HTRC staff member assigned to an award will provide, as needed, a general overview of HTRC tools and services, relevant components within their selected interaction mode. The staff member will also provide prototyping support and collection expertise. Awarded scholars are expected to collaborate on necessary parts of the project as agreed upon with HTRC prior to the project start time.

The successful respondent will demonstrate:

  • A feasible and adaptable use case grounded in the needs of an identifiable scholar or scholarly community; 

  • Scholar(s) well qualified to conduct the work proposed; 

  • A viable work plan and schedule of completion for projects ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months; and

  • A set of activities scoped within the range of HTRC’s ability to provide technical support (e.g., datasets, compute cycles, prototyping, etc.)


Proposals coming from academic and non-profit institutions are eligible. 3 project awards are reserved for HT member institutions, but non-members are still eligible for an award. Check here to see if your institution is a HathiTrust member.

For full consideration, an electronic copy of the complete proposal must be submitted by 5:00 pm (Eastern Time Zone U.S.) on Monday, June 19, 2017. Proposals should be submitted electronically as a single zip file containing all proposal elements to Each proposal element--cover sheet (attached below), summary and rationale, narrative, bio-sketches--should be a separate file within the zip file. Acceptable formats for proposal elements are PDF and MS Word (.doc or .docx). 

Review Criteria and Process: 
HTRC anticipates awarding up to 4-6 ACS projects this round depending on the magnitude of the obligation on HTRC staff, with at least three of the awards reserved for applicants from HathiTrust member institutions Pending membership applications will be considered during the award process. This 2017 call gives preference to projects that utilize the Data Capsule. A project result that can be generalized to benefit a larger scholarly community with similar research needs is seen as a plus. All proposals will be reviewed by the HTRC Executive Management group and the ACS group. Respondents will be notified of the HTRC’s final decision, via email, by July 14, 2017.

Respondents are urged to contact in advance of proposal submission to discuss eligibility, project details, prerequisites, and HTRC support.

Microsoft Office document icon HTRC_ACS_RFP_CoverSheet.doc36.5 KB