Columbia University Libraries has received the first of a series of grants from the International Fellowships Fund (IFF) - totaling $1 million over seven years - to serve as the permanent home for the archives of the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program (IFP). The collection includes both paper and digital archives and will be available to researchers worldwide.
For a decade, IFP offered fellowships for post-graduate study to emerging leaders from underserved communities in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Russia. Their work will be completed in 2013 and includes written and audio/visual documentation from 22 partner organizations, records of more than 4,300 IFP fellows who passed through the program, as well as comprehensive planning and administrative files demonstrating the IFP educational model.
The IFP archive at Columbia, to be completed in 2018, will be of invaluable use for researchers and practitioners interested in the progress of social justice, community development, and access to higher education. Access to the paper and electronic archives will be integrated via an online platform, offering researchers a fast and comprehensive way to study the content. This extensive archive will also complement a 10 year, longitudinal IFP tracking study to be conducted by the Institute of International Education (IIE) beginning in July 2013. The study aims to examine the impact of IFP on the lives and career trajectories of its grantees.
"By making the IFP records available for research, we hope that others will be able to analyze and build on our decade-long experience with international education as a critical means to promote development and social justice," said Joan Dassin, Executive Director of IFF. "We are delighted that the Columbia University Libraries have agreed to preserve and provide access to the IFP records. These records will complement Columbia's existing collections in international studies and human rights, and we are confident that the Libraries will make our records available to a broad research audience."
"Many of the records of the International Fellowships Program are in electronic, 'born-digital' form, so this project presents an exciting opportunity for us to build out our capacity for supporting the preservation of and access to the increasing amount of digital content to be found in modern archival collections," Stephen Davis, Director of the Columbia Libraries Digital Program, said.
With the funds, Columbia University Libraries will develop a full set of repository-based systems and services that will enable the libraries to more easily acquire, ingest, process, preserve and make accessible both paper and born-digital organizational records. The technological infrastructure built for this project will ultimately allow Columbia to act as the central repository for the electronic records of other institutions whose archives are deposited at Columbia.
"Columbia's longstanding academic and collection strengths in public policy and international relations together with its reputation as a leader in the development and implementation of technologies in support of research and learning makes the award and the projects it supports a perfect match," said Michael Ryan, Director of Columbia's Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 11 million volumes, over 150,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 500 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.