Grant Awarded for the Development of Humanities CORE
NEW YORK, March 27, 2014 –


Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ Center for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS) and the Modern Language Association (MLA) are pleased to announce that they have been awarded a $60,000 start-up grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to begin development of the Humanities Commons Open Repository Exchange, or Humanities CORE. Humanities CORE will connect a library-quality repository for sharing, discovering, retrieving, and archiving digital work with Humanities Commons, a platform for scholarly societies and related groups across the humanities.

CDRS and the MLA began working together on the development of Humanities Commons, modeled on MLA Commons, in 2013, conceptualizing a platform designed to enable members of the humanities community to communicate, collaborate, and share their work with one another. Humanities CORE will build on that work, linking a federated group of social networking systems with a preservation repository, modeled on Columbia’s Academic Commons. The Humanities CORE interface will enable users to share, archive, and preserve scholarly work within the same system in which they are already collaborating with one another. It will facilitate open-access distribution of humanities research, including (but not limited to) pre- or post-prints, manuscripts, grey literature, data sets, and learning objects.

The Humanities CORE interface will create a seamless user experience between two open-source systems that have been used by many academic and scholarly organizations, but that to date have only been utilized separately: the Commons in a Box (CBOX) platform, which was developed by the CUNY Graduate Center on WordPress/BuddyPress code, and a Fedora/Solr stack. The MLA’s role in the Humanities CORE project will be developing and managing the CBOX architecture for Humanities Commons, detailing the specifications for the WordPress/BuddyPress plugin required to connect CBOX with Fedora, and developing the prototype for the user interface governed by that plugin. CDRS’s role will be developing the underlying repository (CORE) infrastructure, as well as participating in the design and implementation of new requirements posed by the CBOX interface by updating and modifying existing infrastructure.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication at the Modern Language Association, said: "We're delighted to collaborate with the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship team, bringing together their repository expertise with our Commons experience. We are certain that this project will help support our members as they conduct their research, share their work, and imagine new projects."

Rebecca Kennison, Center for Digital Research and Scholarship Director, commented: “We're thrilled to be working with the Modern Language Association on this project — and likewise thrilled to have the NEH’s support of it. This opportunity to provide a much-needed connection between a dynamic, social platform and a robust repository infrastructure, which together will enable and enhance open scholarly communication, is enormously exciting.”


The Center for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS) works to increase the utility and impact of research produced at Columbia by creating, adapting, implementing, supporting, and sustaining innovative digital tools and publishing platforms for content delivery, discovery, analysis, data curation, and preservation. The Center engages in extensive outreach, education, and advocacy to ensure that the scholarly work produced at Columbia University has a global reach and accelerates the pace of research across disciplines. CDRS is one of six entities that comprise the Digital Programs and Technology Services branch of Columbia University Libraries/Information Services.

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:

The Modern Language Association of America (MLA) and its 28,000 members in 100 countries work to strengthen the study and teaching of languages and literature. Founded in 1883, the MLA provides opportunities for its members to share their scholarly findings and teaching experiences with colleagues and to discuss trends in the academy. The MLA sustains one of the finest publication programs in the humanities, producing a variety of publications for language and literature professionals and for the general public. More information on MLA programs is available at

LW 2014