Catherine N. Norton Fellowship - Potential Projects

NOTE: This list will be updated as new projects are identified.


1. Collection Analysis/Development

Analyze a section of the library collection to show strengths, identify items of historical value as well as those that are no longer useful, create a plan to build the collection in this area through acquisitions as new materials and donations of legacy item. This project would require a working knowledge of the subject matter, as well as knowledge of library best practices. Collaboration with library staff, libraries of similar scope and researchers should also be a part of the project.

Example: the Library is interested in creating special collections in the areas of genetics, embryology, or evolution. A Norton fellow might assess the Library collection in that area, identify works that should be held and evaluate potential donations for their contribution to the creation of a special collection.


2. Archives

     a. Processing: Process a new collection, including deciding upon appropriate materials to retain, arranging, describing and developing a finding aid.  Identify any items requiring restrictions.  This project would require basic knowledge of archival principles and preservation.  Would work with the institutional archivist.

     b. Discovery: Assist in the implementation of ArchivesSpace to develop on-line archival management system that promotes discovery and access.  Requires metadata management and data entry using existing .pdf finding aids and Filemaker database.

     c. History Project: Contribute to the ongoing History of MBL project (, a collaboration of the Marine Biological Laboratory and Arizona State University.  Project would include digitizing items, developing metadata in accordance with project standards, and uploading into repository.  Project may also include development of an online exhibit. Collaboration with institutional archivist and ASU graduate students in history.

   d.  Exhibit Creation: Create an exhibit highlighting a specific element in the MBL Archives, preferably such an exhibit would have both physical and digital components.


3. Informatics

Update library informatics tools.  Projects will vary by programming language, length of time since last update, and current status of software.  Example software includes Drupal, Java, Python and Ruby on Rails.  A list of programming languages should be included with application.  Will require collaboration with a variety of library staff and potentially other institutional staff.

Example: Work with the Marine Resource center to create tool to link marine organisms currently used at the MBL to published works, previously collected data, protocols, etc. These tools would assist researchers and potentially identify new areas of discovery.


4. Digital Collection

Assist with management of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (, a worldwide consortium making biodiversity literature freely available.  Projects can include pagination, metadata, record merging, linking, illustration identification, blog postings, exhibit creation, and social media.  Collaboration with the library staff would be part of the project.


5. Semantic Web Programming and Development

Work with our current research information tools, VIVO ( and Symplectic Elements (, to facilitate research discovery in Woods Hole and advance our linked open data efforts.  Possible projects include:

  • Develop programs and web services to query our systems to return enhanced data (RDF, JSON, XML) for reporting, analysis and/or display.
  • Define local classes in our VIVO ontology to refine our display of linked data.
  • Extend the VIVO ontology to better represent local research (e.g., marine model organisms, research vessels)