Research Fellows

The call for proposals period is now closed.

On the Books: Jim Crow and Algorithms of Resistance (OTB) is a project from the University Libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that has created a text corpus of NC General Statutes from 1866-1967 and used text analysis and expert assessments to identify laws likely to be Jim Crow laws. The Jim Crow laws identified by the project are available as a plain text corpus and can be searched from the OTB website. The project website lists and contextualizes the Jim Crow laws and provides educational resources. A GitHub repository provides documented scripts generated by the project team. To read more about the project, please visit the website: https://onthebooks.lib.unc.edu/ 

The OTB project team invites proposals from scholars to become research fellows to use products from On the Books in a research project of their own design — Graduate Research Fellows will have up to 6 months to complete the project and Faculty Research Fellows will have up to 12 months to complete the project. Funding could be used as a seed grant for obtaining subsequent funding, or to support a research collaboration with other scholars (including graduate students) or a community group. A combination of fellowships may be used for a single project.   

OTB Products include: 

  • A searchable database of all North Carolina Session laws between 1866-1967. 
  • A searchable database of laws likely to be Jim Crow laws between 1866-1967. 
  • A text corpus of all NC Session laws between 1866-1967 (available as plain text files or XML files with metadata).
  • A text corpus of NC Session laws identified by OTB as likely Jim Crow laws between 1866-1967 (available as plain text files or XML files with metadata). 
  • A training set of NC Session laws labeled by experts as either Jim Crow or not Jim Crow, used to train algorithms how to identify Jim Crow laws using supervised classification
  • Ananalysis workflow with an algorithm for identifying likely Jim Crow laws, and documented scripts that create text files using images from the Internet Archive using Tesseract Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Python. 
  • An Open Educational Resource (OER) that introduces OCR, textual data, and algorithms, aimed at advanced undergraduates.

Support will be provided 

The librarians from the OTB project team that created the products will be available to answer questions about the OTB products and will provide consultations to assist with research projects.   

Submission Deadline: July 15, 2022. A selection committee will choose fellows and contact applicants to share results by July 29, 2022. Graduate Fellow Extended Deadline: September 2, 2022

Project Initiation: October 2022 

Project Completion: March 2023 (Graduates); September 2023 (Faculty)

Contact: Send questions to Brianna Nuñez: bynunez@unc.edu 

Graduate Fellows

Graduate Student Research Fellows ($2,500 award) 

Three fellows to be funded, from any institution of higher learning in the United States 

What will be asked of the fellows:

  • Research plan (to be submitted as part of the proposal). 
  • Data management plan (to be submitted as part of the proposal). 
  • 3-month progress report.  
  • Presentation of the research project at a program supported by the University Libraries. 
  • Participation in interviews with the project team about experience using OTB for research. 
  • Final report. 

Who can apply 

Graduate students in good standing from any institution of higher learning in the United States are invited to apply. As the OTB corpora covers a period of one hundred years, projects could focus on a variety of subject areas such as (but not limited to) history, African American studies, American Indian studies, law, legal history, digital humanities, or computational analysis. The products to be used in the research are defined, but the topic and methods are completely up to the researcher. Some may be interested in using the OTB products for machine learning projects (the OTB project team welcomes other researchers’ efforts to refine our best Jim Crow classification model), while others may be interested in using the products to research North Carolina Jim Crow laws (or North Carolina laws pertaining to any topic). Laws could be investigated through close reading, through exploratory data analysis, or visualization, etc. Scholars using a variety of research methods are encouraged to apply. 

How the funds may be used 

Funds may be used to compensate the researcher’s time spent doing the work (not tuition), or for conference travel to present on the work.   

Funding is from The Mellon Foundation. Their funding guidelines state that tuition and indirect funds cannot be covered.  

Evaluation criteria 

Research fellows are encouraged to make any secondary data products openly available and retain ownership of their research products so they can provide them in an open access format. Detailed research plans and the ability of the scholar to complete the work will inform the selection committee’s decision.  

How to apply  

Submit a proposal here by September 2, 2022 that follows the following format:  

  • Name of the project 
  • Investigator name and institution 
  • Investigator bio 
  • List of collaborators, their titles, institutions/organizations, and project roles (if any)  
  • Project summary 
  • Proposed activities and rationale (no more than 2,000 words) 
  • Description of the work to be done, including how (an) OTB product(s) will be used for the project 
  • Significance of the proposed work 
  • Research plan with timeline 
  • Data management plan 
  • Briefly describe the data files you will produce and how you will preserve them in the long term. 
    • For research that involves creating data sets, what file formats will you produce? 
    • What metadata will be provided, or how do you anticipate documenting your work to make it usable by others? 
    • In what repository will you preserve your work? Any repository should be consulted before being listed in your proposal. 
  • Expected outcomes 
  • Brief letter of support from advisor indicating that the investigator has the capacity to accomplish the proposed research.  

Faculty Fellows

Faculty Research Fellows ($10,000 award) 

Two fellows to be funded, from any institution of higher learning in the United States 

What will be asked of the fellows:

  • Research plan (to be submitted as part of the proposal). 
  • Data management plan (to be submitted as part of the proposal). 
  • 6-month progress report.  
  • Presentation of the research project at a program supported by the University Libraries. 
  • Participation in interviews with the project team about experience using OTB for research. 
  • Final report. 

Who can apply 

Faculty members and post-doctoral researchers from any institution of higher learning in the United States are invited to apply. As the OTB corpora covers a period of one hundred years, projects could focus on a variety of subject areas such as (but not limited to) history, African American studies, American Indian studies, law, legal history, digital humanities, or computational analysis. The products to be used in the research are defined, but the topic and methods are completely up to the researcher. Some may be interested in using the OTB products for machine learning projects (the OTB project team welcomes other researchers’ efforts to refine our best Jim Crow classification model), while others may be interested in using the products to research North Carolina Jim Crow laws (or North Carolina laws pertaining to any topic). Laws could be investigated through close reading, through exploratory data analysis, visualization, etc. Scholars using a variety of research methods are encouraged to apply. 

How the funds may be used 

Funds may be used to compensate the researcher’s time spent doing the work, to fund graduate student salaries (not tuition), for conference travel to present on the work, or to pay consultants or community partners from outside the institution.   

Funding is from The Mellon Foundation. Their funding guidelines state that tuition and indirect funds cannot be covered.  

Evaluation criteria 

Preference will be given to diverse research teams, and we encourage proposals that are community engaged and have a community-based partner. Research fellows are encouraged to make any secondary data products openly available and retain ownership of their research products so they can provide them in an open access format. Detailed research plans and the ability of the scholar to complete the work will inform the selection committee’s decision.  

How to apply  

Submit a proposal here by July 15, 2022 that follows the following format:  

  • Name of the project 
  • (Lead) Investigator name, title, and institution 
  • Investigator bio(s) 
  • List of collaborators, consultants, or team members, their titles, institutions/organizations, and project roles (if any)  
  • Project summary 
  • Proposed activities and rationale (no more than 2,000 words) 
  • Description of the work to be done, including how (an) OTB product(s) will be used for the project 
  • Significance of the proposed work 
  • Research plan with timeline 
  • Data management plan 
  • Briefly describe the data files you will produce and how you will preserve them in the long term. For research that involves creating data sets, what file formats will you produce? What metadata will be provided, or how do you anticipate documenting your work to make it usable by others? In what repository will you preserve your work? Any repository should be consulted before being listed in your proposal. 
  • Budget and budget narrative 
  • Expected outcomes 
  • Brief letter of support from chair, dean, or other supervisor indicating that the lead investigator has the capacity to accomplish the proposed research.  
The On the Books website is a product of a digital scholarship project and will not be maintained in perpetuity. The site will be reviewed December 31, 2024. Depending on use, funding, and maintenance required, the site may be decommissioned and archived at that time. The text corpora created for this project will be preserved in the Carolina Digital Repository.
Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Shree Clean by Canyon Themes.