Lighting the Way project update, January 2020

Logo for the Lighting the Way project

The last few months have been busy for the Lighting the Way project, but we realize that not all of that activity has been visible. As you may know, we will also be hosting Lighting the Way: A National Forum on Archival Discovery and Delivery in just three weeks at Stanford University, from February 10-12, 2020. Accordingly, we realized that now is an appropriate time as any to provide you with some updates with what our project team and participant advisors have been working on since September 2019.

Foundational research

We started the project seeking a deeper understanding of archival discovery and delivery, and successes and challenges around these areas related to integrating systems that support these functions. We wanted to provide a starting point and list of associated resources so Forum participants could have a shared understanding beyond their own experience and knowledge. Accordingly, part of our project team has been working on foundational research, including a literature review and annotated bibliography to get an overview of how archives and libraries have been thinking about discovery and delivery, and larger factors that impact the work. We will be sharing these documents, as well as a glossary of terms, and a list of software and other systems that organize them into groups based upon function, in the coming weeks.

Forum participant selection and planning

Hosting an event for a large group is a lot of work, and part of the effort is looking for the right mix of participants across the project audiences. The project team opened an application process and issued a call for participation. We also developed a set of application review criteria and reviewed the submissions. We received over two hundred completed applications, and we are pleased to invite about 70 participants to Stanford to join us for the Forum.

With the selection of participants complete, we have also been organizing the content and structure for the Forum. This includes a set of plenary presentations from the project team and Forum participants on February 10 that will be livestreamed and recorded, as well as a set of facilitated activities across the entire Forum intend to allow participants  to see, map, and build connections between their work, to identify and organize around shared opportunities and challenges, and to provide future opportunities for collaboration. We will share the detailed agenda and livestreaming information soon on the Forum event page. Presentations will also be recorded and made available through the Stanford Digital Repository and YouTube after the Forum.

There are also many logistical needs for the project, including registering participants, working with event planners at our venue, planning catering, and much more. Jib Kiattinant, our administrative associate, has been vital in helping this work keep moving.

Presentations on the project

Finally, the project team and participant advisors have given presentations or are scheduled to present at several conferences. Past presentations include presentations on the project at the Digital Library Federation Forum in October 2019 and the IIIF Working Meeting in November 2019, and a session on developing community-based strategic agendas for archival discovery and delivery at the Coalition for Networked Information meeting in December 2019. We will have a forthcoming presentation at the Western Archivists Meeting this April in San Francisco.

How to get involved

We always look forward to hearing that people are excited about the project, and people often ask us about how to get involved or learn more. A few options for participation follow:

  • We encourage you to view the live-streamed presentations at the Forum on February 10, or watch the recorded presentations after the Forum. More information will be made available on the Forum page closer to the event.
  • If you’re interested in writing a case study about your work, or have any other questions about the project, please contact the project team. If you have suggestions about where we might present, please contact us as well.

We look forward to hosting the Forum, and we look forward to hearing from you.

IMLS logoThis project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, through grant LG-35-19-0012-19. The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. To learn more, visit