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About the Program

Summer and Fall 2021 Fellowships Are Now Posted!

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The Buchanan Library Fellows Program

The Buchanan Library Fellowship program supports hands-on student learning opportunities that build desirable skills and deepen students’ understanding of resources and services in Vanderbilt Libraries. With a focus on undergraduate instruction, the program connects faculty and professional librarians with students to work on experiential library projects and present their work at the end of their fellowship. Fellows learn new skills, earn money and complete immersive projects that add to their expertise and resumes. Projects may involve curating a physical or online exhibition, developing information literacy skills, contributing new research to academic databases or building technology skills. Through the Buchanan Library Fellowship program, our libraries promote student research.

Program Benefits

  • Build resume with completed innovative project
  • Expand research skills
  • Work with leading experts in the library field
  • Earn money while you learn

Frequently Asked Questions

    • When is the deadline for applying for a fellowship?

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis by mentors until the positions are filled. There is no deadline but earlier is always better, Once the fellowship is full we post a notice to the website that applications are no longer being accepted.

    • Are first-year students encouraged to apply? If so, are opportunities especially competitive for first-years?

First year students are welcome! Each application is reviewed by the project mentors on their own standards.

    • Can students only be chosen as a Fellow one time during their entire undergraduate experience?

Yes, in order to offer the program to as wide a group as possible, students may only be fellows once during their Vanderbilt career.


 

Fall 2021 Fellowships

Understanding the Fine Arts Gallery Collection using Wikidata and AI

No Longer Accepting Applicants

This project will introduce the Fellows to Wikidata, the knowledge graph that anyone can edit. We will work to improve and add to the metadata in Wikidata about Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery works using spreadsheet-based software tools that make it easier to add information. We will also explore artificial intelligence (AI) tools that can make our work more efficient. An outcome of the project will be an interactive visualization that will allow Gallery users to explore information about works in the collection. Contact: Steve Baskauf and Kali Mason

Giving Voice to Afro-Hispanic Life and Culture through the Collections of Manuel and Delia Zapata Olivella | Apply Here

Recipients of this Buchanan Library Fellowship will research and curate an online exhibit on a theme relating to Vanderbilt’s Afro-Hispanic Zapata Olivella collections. Manuel Zapata Olivella (1920-2004) was known throughout Latin America as the “Dean of Black Literature” and is considered one of the 20th century’s most important Afro-Hispanic narrators. He was also a noted Colombian anthropologist, folklorist, physician, novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. Delia (1926-2001), sister of Manuel, focused on performance arts and preserved African dance traditions and their African heritage of music and dance. She led an African dance troupe throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and Russia. Their work to document and preserve the history and culture of people of African descent in the Americas through oral history, television, radio, and literature is legendary. Vanderbilt’s Special Collections houses their personal papers consisting of manuscripts, correspondence, publications, tapes, interviews, scrapbooks, and photographs. The fellowship requires a five-hour weekly commitment. Knowledge of Spanish is required. Of interest to students in Spanish, history, anthropology, and Latin American Studies. This program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Contact: Paula Covington and Carla Beals

Gateway to Traditional Chinese Monuments: Data Curation and Web Development for Cultural Heritage Preservation 

No Longer Accepting Applicants

This program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Recipients of this Buchanan Library Fellowship will help faculty to develop data for Architectura Sinica, a Chinese architectural history dynamic site archive and architectural thesaurus. Fellows work with A&S faculty and library staff to develop entries on individual sites and/or add visual material for thesaurus of technical terms for Traditional Chinese Architecture. Fellows are acknowledged as co-authors for digital publication of the entries they complete. Pre- or co-requisite of History of East Asian Art (HART 1200) or Architecture and the Mapping of Empire in Asia (HART 2100), or faculty recommendation is required to participate. Contact: Yuh-Fen Benda, Dr. Tracy Miller

Building a University: Vanderbilt’s Second Decade, 1885-1895 | Apply Here

Have you ever wondered about the early years of Vanderbilt University? What were the first yearbooks like, and where did students live on campus? Which sports were first played on campus? Or perhaps you would like to learn about what classes were taught and what students did for fun in those early years? If you would like to know more about how curators interpret historic objects, how to find things in the library, or just know more about the amazing history of the place where you will be spending four years of your life, then apply for this fall 2020 Buchanan Library Fellowship. This semester, four students will examine historically significant university manuscripts and documents in the Special Collections Library and place them in context with the university’s and the nation’s history. Fellows will curate an exhibition about Vanderbilt’s second decade, learn to interpret primary sources and present a report on what they have learned. This fellowship requires a three- to five-hour commitment of your time and an agreement to attend weekly classes and labs. Fellows come away with curatorial skills and experience, how to think critically about primary sources, a deeper knowledge of university history and how library collections and staff inform exhibitions and research. Contact: Kathy SmithTeresa Gray and Mary Anne Caton

Modalities of Textual Analysis: Exploring British Periodicals | Apply Here

How can you identify and explore patterns across millions of documents? In this fellowship, Buchanan Library Fellows will learn state-of-the-art techniques for text mining at scale. Fellows will join an ongoing research project to analyze constellations of information in ProQuest's British Periodicals Collections. Depending on interest, Fellows will learn to use Databricks, a framework for analyzing datasets on Spark; Rumble, a query engine for exploring semi-structured documents on Spark; and Netsblox, a block-based programming language with robust connections to network-based tools like Stanford’s CoreNLP. After completing the fellowship, Fellows will be able to extract information from big data sets in the humanities, social sciences, or other fields with relative ease and confidence. The fellowship can accommodate up to ten students. Contact: Cliff Anderson, Mark Schoenfield

The Art of Healing | Apply Here

The Art of Healing Exposition is a series of shows and events around the theme of the use of creative expression as part of the healing process. Two fellows will research art and archives in the Vanderbilt Jean & Alexander Heard Library collections that are related to healing and will organize the display of this and other art as part of the overall exposition. Art highlighted in this program will include all forms of creative expression including painting, writing, music, and other creative expression, and will include physical and online displays. Contact: Brandon Hulette, Emily Weiner

The American Presidency: Challenges of the Executive Branch | Apply Here

Are you interested in working with primary resources to explore the role of the American presidency? Buchanan Library Fellows in this fall semester fellowship will curate an exhibition in the lobby of Central Library exploring the opportunities and challenges of the American Executive Branch. Fellows will select books, manuscripts, government publications, university archives and news broadcasts in the Vanderbilt Libraries to uncover historic decisions and dilemmas of the federal government’s executive branch. Working with librarians and faculty, student curators will conduct background research for each of their themes, select objects for exhibit, and write original label copy to describe their case themes and objects in historical context. They will create a WordPress exhibit to amplify the audience for their work and present their findings at an exhibition opening at the end of the fall semester. This fellowship requires a three- to five-hour commitment of your time and agreement to attend weekly classes. Contact: Frank Lester, Teresa Gray, Jason Schultz


 

Summer 2021 Fellowships

Modalities of Textual Analysis: Large-Scale Natural Language Processing on Spark/Databricks | Apply Here

The Modalities of Textual Analysis project will be exploring different approaches to analyzing ProQuest's British Periodicals Collections using natural language processing on Databricks/Spark. Students will have the opportunity to explore building custom NLP pipelines for projects like the correction of optical character recognition and document classification. This fellowship opportunity is intended for one or two students with significant prior experience programming in either Python or Scala. Contact: Cliff Anderson, Mark Schoenfield

Telling the Story of Civil War Nashville through Storymaps | Apply Here

Using records, maps and photographs from the Vanderbilt Special Collections and other historic Nashville collections, two Buchanan Library Fellows will create Storymap projects: interactive, GIS-based visual tools that combine information on many individual locations into a single visual product, telling the exciting stories of Civil War Nashville. The projects will include mapping the fortifications of Nashville or mapping the hospitals of Civil War Nashville. Mapped locations will be matched with information from photos, stories, period maps and articles.

Fellows will assist with historical research and work with faculty to compile and organize available photos, articles and maps of important locations within Civil War Nashville. Fellows will help build Storymaps using ArcGIS software and convert data into file formats amenable to ArcGIS. Contact: Brandon Hulette, Stacy Curry-Johnson

The Art of Healing 

No Longer Accepting Applicants

The Art of Healing Exposition is a series of shows and events around the theme of the use of creative expression as part of the healing process. Two fellows will research art and archives in the Vanderbilt Jean & Alexander Heard Library collections that are related to healing and will organize the display of this and other art as part of the overall exposition. Art highlighted in this program will include all forms of creative expression including painting, writing, music, and other creative expression, and will include physical and online displays. Contact: Brandon Hulette, Emily Weiner