MIT awarded $1.5 million for research on new search technologies for digital libraries

Posted December 13th, 2006 by Heather Denny

MIT recently received a $1,500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the next phase of a project that promises to create new search technologies for digital libraries.

The project, called SIMILE, brings together researchers from the MIT Libraries Digital Library Research Group (DLRG) and the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) to create next-generation search technology using Semantic Web standards–a group of standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium to promote large-scale interoperability and reusability of content on the Web.

“With digital content increasing at a rapid rate; searching for, sorting through, and managing millions of digital documents is a serious challenge for today’s libraries and the libraries of tomorrow,” said MacKenzie Smith, Associate Director for Technology at MIT Libraries. Semantic Web technologies offer a way to make searching and navigating large digital libraries easier.

The new SIMILE work funded by the Mellon Foundation will focus on building software tools that can be used with large collections of digital content from the higher education and cultural heritage sectors. These will include authoring and editing tools, searching and browsing tools, tools for data management, and storage technologies to meet the needs of scholars, researcher and students. SIMILE technology will also be applied to DSpace, the open source digital archiving platform created by the MIT Libraries and Hewlett-Packard to manage and make accessible millions of digital documents including research articles and scientific databases.

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