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Digital Initiatives: Project Proposals


The Watzek Library Digital Initiatives unit develops digital resources that support the teaching, research, and creative activities of the College. The unit applies the library's expertise in information management to support scholarly endeavors that involve the organization of information in digital form. Often these endeavors take the form of digital collections of texts, images, and other media. Digital Initiatives commonly fulfills its mission by working with faculty on projects that support teaching and/or research.

Proposal Process

Due to reduced staffing, Watzek Digital Initiatives is not currently running a project application process. We currently have very limited resources to take on new projects, but we would be happy to talk with you about your project idea and develop strategies to make it happen.

Development of a project idea is often an iterative process that involves discussion and investigation, and Digital Initiatives staff are available to help with this. In some cases, it may be more appropriate for a different unit within the College, such as Information Technology or Pubic Affairs and Communications to handle a project and Digital Initiatives staff will make such referrals when appropriate; collaborative projects across units are possible and desirable. Often projects are associated with the grants and the pursuit of outside funds may be part of the project formulation.

In many cases, Digital Initiatives staff play more of a consultative role. They provide advice and assistance in the development of a project, but do not take on a formal responsibility for its ongoing success. Such projects, when occupying less than 20 hours per year of library staff time, do not need to go through this process.

Once a project reaches a stage at which library staff will devote significant time and resources to it, that is roughly more than 20 hours per year, the project leader must create an abstract for the project (which may in some cases be adapted from a grant proposal). This is a one page document that includes:

  • purpose of the project
  • its impact on teaching and scholarship
  • timeline
  • project deliverables
  • the role of library staff
  • the role of other staff involved
  • funding sources (if any)
  • desired outcomes
  • assessment measures

Proposals should be submitted to Before work begins on the project, the Watzek Library staff and administration will review the project abstract and accept or reject the project based on the criteria below. If accepted, the library will prioritize it among its other digital projects based on its alignment with the following criteria.

Criteria for digital project selection (in order of importance)

  1. positive impact on student learning 
    Project supports student learning at Lewis & Clark through student participation in the project or through the use of the project end product.
  2. positive impact on faculty research 
    Project furthers faculty research and the research of other scholars; project pioneers new research methodologies.
  3. clear project plan, deliverables, and desired outcome 
    The project purpose and work plan are clearly outlined in the project abstract.
  4. potential to replicate/reuse aspects of project 
    Ideally, projects would use tools and technologies that could easily be replicated for other projects even at other institutions.
  5. alignment with College curriculum/ support diverse departments, research areas / broad impact across divisions and departments 
    The Digital Initiatives program should make every attempt to work with a variety of departments on campus, and directly support the College curriculum.
  6. use of library collections
    Projects focus on library collections unique to Lewis & Clark, with the goal of making them more accessible to scholars in digital form.
  7. manageable project size, scope, duration 
    In the interest of sustainability, projects should either be "one-off" (with a clear start and finish date), or could be continually used without significant ongoing maintenance by Digital Initiatives staff.

Please note that Digital Initiatives has some funds to hire student employees to assist with projects, which may be particularly useful for projects that fall outside other student-faculty research funding.

The Library Director will keep the Dean of the College apprised of current digital projects and seek direct approval of any project with significant ongoing resource implications. The Director will also keep the Library/Educational Technology Committee informed of active digital projects, and adjust project prioritization based on their input.


In July of every year, the Digital Services Coordinator will write a status report outlining progress on every digital project that was active over the course of the previous academic year. The report will address progress toward project deliverables, the current project timeframe, and report on assessment measures. The report will be delivered to the Faculty Library/Educational Technology Committee in the fall.

This document was approved by the Library Ed/Tech Committee on October 25, 2011, and by the CAS Dean on Nov 8, 2011.