Collections as Data – Part to Whole

Collections as Data: Part to Whole aims to foster the development of broadly viable models that support implementation and use of collections as data. This effort is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (see grant narrative).

Over a period of three years, Part to Whole will fund and programmatically support two cohorts. Cohorts will be comprised of project teams jointly led by librarians and disciplinary scholars. Project teams will develop models that support collections as data implementation and holistic reconceptualization of services and roles that support scholarly use. Collections as data produced by project activity will exhibit high research value, demonstrate the capacity to serve underrepresented communities, represent a diversity of content types, languages, and descriptive practices, and arise from a range of institutional contexts.


Thomas Padilla (Principal Investigator) is Visiting Digital Research Services Librarian at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He is Principal Investigator of the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported, Always Already Computational: Collections as Data and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supported, Collections as Data: Part to Whole. He is a member of the Association for Computers and the Humanities Executive Council (2017-2021), the WhatEVery1Says Advisory Board, the Integrating digital humanities into the web of scholarship with SHARE Advisory Board, and the ARL Fellowship for Digital and Inclusive Excellence Advisory Group. Thomas publishes, presents, and teaches widely on digital scholarship, data curation, digital collections, and data information literacy.

Hannah Scates Kettler (Co-Principal Investigator) is a Digital Humanities Research & Instruction Librarian in the Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio at the University of Iowa. In her role, she leads digital humanities projects from inception to preservation, managing the process of creation as well as providing research, and development support. She is active in concerns regarding 3D creation and preservation, and diverse representations in cultural heritage collections and digital humanities about which she has published and on which she has taught and presented widely.

Yasmeen Shorish is Head, Scholarly Communications and an Associate Professor at James Madison University. Her work focuses on data ethics and management, privacy, and representation. She is a member of the DLF Advisory Committee and the ARL Fellowship for Digital and Inclusive Excellence Advisory Group. She previously served as the Chair for the ACRL Research and Scholarly Environments Committee that produced the research agenda, Open and Equitable Scholarly Communications.

Stewart Varner is the Managing Director of the Price Lab for Digital Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to Penn he served as the Digital Scholarship Librarian at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the Digital Scholarship Coordinator at Emory. He earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from Emory and his Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas.

Past Team Member – but continued champion!

Laurie Allen is the Director for Digital Scholarship at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. She and her colleagues collaborate on new forms of scholarship to support campus-wide open access publishing, data curation & management, digital humanities, and mapping and geospatial data efforts. A native Philadelphian, she also serves as Research Director for Monument Lab, a public art and civic research project in Philadelphia. In late 2016, Allen and colleagues in the Penn Libraries helped start Data Refuge by teaming up with the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities in an effort to help protect copies of federal environmental and climate data. Before joining the Penn Libraries, Laurie was the Coordinator for Digital Scholarship and Research at Haverford College. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Bard College, and a Master’s of Library and Information Science from Simmons College.

Advisory Board

Dan Cohen, Vice Provost for Information Collaboration; Professor of History, Northeastern University

Greg Eow, Associate Director for Collections, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Karen Estlund, Associate Dean for Technology and Digital Strategies, Penn State University

Bergis Jules, Director of Equity Initiatives, SHIFT

Trevor Muñoz, Interim Director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), Assistant Dean for Digital Humanities Research at the University of Maryland Libraries

Barbara Rockenbach, Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning, Columbia University

Project website:

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