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Posted Apr 28, 2010, 1:36 pm
The University of Arizona Poetry Center announced today that it received a $49,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to further develop its extensive audio/video collection.
The audio and video holdings are among the rarest materials in the Poetry Center’s collection of contemporary poetry. The center provides on-site access to its archive through a proprietary database and storage system, but the NEH will radically expand the collection's accessibility.
According to Executive Director Gail Browne, "The recordings capture historic readings by many of the most important writers of the past 50 years. Scholars can hear authors discuss their own works and often hear early versions of works-in-progress. Poetry lovers can hear favorite poems in the poet’s own voice."
In the first development stage, the NEH grant will fund a web-accessible interface, enabling the Poetry Center to offer direct, online access to the collection from anywhere in the world.
Later stages to be implemented by the technical experts include enhancing the application’s metadata and search tool functionality to increase the collection’s value to scholars, and also to develop a user-comment module for poets, scholars, and the public to share and store their knowledge about the collection’s contents. The online component will be available in the fall of 2010, in conjunction with the Poetry Center’s 50th Anniversary celebration
James A. Leach, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, designated the Poetry Center’s Audio/Video project as a "We the People" project. "We the People" initiatives encourage and support projects that “explore significant events and themes in our nation’s history and culture and that advance knowledge of the principles that define America.”
The grant will be administered by Hale Thomas-Hilburn, a research computing specialist for the University of Arizona’s College of Humanities, in collaboration with Poetry Center senior librarian Rodney Phillips and executive director Browne. Jesse Roberts, an information systems architect, analyst and developer with Boeing, will serve as the lead developer.