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University of Nebraska (Lincoln, NE 68503-2427)
Matt Cohen (Project Director: July 2019 to present)
Walt Whitman Archive Infrastructure Revitalization

Revitalizing the digital architecture of the Walt Whitman Archive to make it easier to search and use the materials on the website.  Specific improvements would include changing the programming framework, creating a machine-readable interface for the website’s code, images, and metadata, revising files to improve the metadata, and leveraging existing metadata through a new search engine.

The Walt Whitman Archive ( is one of the most prominent open-access digital archives, with hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, many from secondary and post-secondary schools. Now nearing its 25th year, the Archive is the leading resource for scholars of Whitman and a model for digital editions. Its depth has enabled its success, but has also created an infrastructure that is showing its age. We propose a critical redevelopment of the project's technical framework for both broad access and long-term sustainability, overhauling its information architecture, access framework, and public interface. Such a rebuild will make it easier for users to search, organize, and re-use our materials and to access it from mobile devices, and will allow more flexibility for future development. It will also serve as a model for other major scholarly resources whose digital infrastructure needs preservation, lest past investments of money, time, and energy be lost.

Project fields:

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Preservation and Access

$349,856 (approved)
$349,856 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2020 – 5/31/2023