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Apply for a Fellowship

Application Process

To be considered for a Buchanan Library Fellow position, candidates must be undergraduate students enrolled at Vanderbilt University in good academic standing. Application is through a linked RedCap form on the Fellows' homepage. Required documents include:

  • Curriculum vitae including name, address, email, and telephone
  • Letter of recommendation from a faculty member

Previously selected Library Fellows may not reapply for a new project.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until filled, at which time the opportunity is closed. Accepted students will receive a formal notice of acceptance. For general information about the Buchanan Library Fellows program, contact ACE@vanderbilt.edu.


Fall 2021 Fellowships

Understanding the Fine Arts Gallery Collection using Wikidata and AI | Apply Here

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 | Apply Here

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


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


Spring 2021 Fellowships

The Artist's Workshop in Medieval and Renaissance Europe: Curatorial and Collections Fellowship with the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery 

No Longer Accepting Applicants 

Two Buchanan Library Fellows will spend both spring and fall semesters of 2021 on this gallery exhibition project. Spring 2021 will focus on object research and writing for the winter 2021 exhibition "The Artist's Workshop in Medieval and Renaissance Europe" at the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery. The two curatorial and collections fellows will investigate a selection of medieval and renaissance objects in the Fine Arts Gallery collection, drawing from observation of physical artworks, Gallery object records, and research conducted through the Jean & Alexander Heard Libraries. This research and writing will ultimately contribute to a printed exhibition catalog, signage and exhibition labels. In the fall 2021 semester, the fellows will refine several pieces of writing to be included in exhibition labels and the catalog, and will and gain hands-on experience with exhibition production and installation for an art gallery. Contact: Emily WeinerKali Mason

Books through the Ages: Genre in the Nineteenth Century

No Longer Accepting Applicants

What was the last book you got lost in? In the nineteenth century, people read potboilers for pleasure, consulted almanacs about weather, and learned how to manage their households and businesses from monthly magazines. Nineteenth-century innovations in book making and printing changed the world and created new opportunities for reading. Buchanan Library Fellows will choose from a range of bound materials that highlight the new and expanded genres that exploded onto the 19th century scene: children's literature, magazines, almanacs, novels, poetry, religious literature, scientific literature, political literature, and more.

In addition to examining the printed materials of the nineteenth century, Fellows will learn the foundations of curatorial practice and book history. Using critical thinking and interpretive methods, Fellows will curate an exhibition of materials from Special Collections. The exhibition will be available online and, covid-19 permitting, in the Library's Second Floor Gallery. Contact:  Rachel Lavenda, Mary Anne Caton

From Golden Type to Wild Waves: Fine Press Books in Vanderbilt Special Collections 

No Longer Accepting Applicants

William Morris used the most up-to-date nineteenth-century technology—photography—to create handmade replicas of Medieval romances and epic poems. Morris' designers and artists at Kelsmcott Press produced fine press work and intricate designs. His works drove Aesthetic Movement design and influenced book artisans long after his death in 1896. Vanderbilt Special Collections is home to many fine press books that build on Morris' philosophy: Morris'own Kelmscott Chaucer, Robert Burns' poems, Emerson's essays, and modern works by Welsh artist Shirley Jones, among others.

In this Buchanan Library Fellowship, one student will develop and run virtual programs for the late Spring 2021 online exhibition that will explore the Nettie Hale Rand Collection of Fine Bindings and other fine press works. Programming will include an art workshop for audiences to explore aesthetics, books arts, and poetry and a digital interactive component. Working with the exhibition curator, Fellows will develop a social media campaign for the exhibit and assist with object research. Fellows typically work 3-5 hours weekly. Due to COVID-19, this spring semester fellowship will be conducted remotely. Contact: Mary Anne Caton

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

Misinformation, Social Media, and the Effects on Society

No Longer Accepting Applicants 

Flush with the spirit of techno-optimism (information wants to be free!), the internet promised liberation by eliminating barriers to information, and enabling its spread instantaneously and globally. However, in recent years we have seen that misinformation spreads equally rapidly, generating profound social repercussions. From filter bubbles and echo chambers, to the cascading effects of conspiracy theories, we will explore the spread of misinformation on a variety of social media platforms, interrogate its meaning and its strategies, and question the efficacy of unregulated free speech or simple hierarchies of credibility as antidotes to misinformation. To engage further with the topics covered in the fellowship, students will record and produce podcasts as part of a developing series on media and society. Contact: Melissa MallonBobby Smiley, and Andrew Wesolek 

Modalities of Text Mining: Exploring British Periodicals at Scale

No Longer Accepting Applicants

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 Apache Spark, a framework for querying distributed data sets; BaseX, a native XML database; or Netsblox, a block-based programming language. 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. Contact: Dr.  Cliff Anderson,  Dr. Mark Schoenfield

Telling the Story of Civil War Nashville through Storymaps 

No Longer Accepting Applicants

Using records, maps and photographs from the Vanderbilt Special Collections and other historic Nashville collections, this Buchanan Library Fellowship 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