News and Events: Archive:

Libraries Win 2004 Academic Excellence Grant

Shortly before the holidays break, University Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Philip Furmanski informed University Librarian Marianne Gaunt that a proposal submitted by the Libraries, "Grid Computing, a collaboration among the Libraries, and the Philosophy and Classics Departments," was awarded an Rutgers University Academic Excellence grant.

The "Academic Excellence Grants Initiative" is a competitive program established by Rutgers to provide seed money to support important initiatives across the university. There were 127 proposals submitted from across all three Rutgers campuses, and only 21 awards were made for 2004.

The "Grid Computing" proposal was developed by Rutgers humanities librarian Brian Hancock. Grid computing is a method of solving complex problems, involving large amounts of text, by working with multiple computers and collaborating partners in different locations. All computers integrated into the grid benefit with greater resilience, shared resources, and optimized performance.

Brian's work on new technology applications continues to win awards and acclaim. In December Brian coordinated a half day conference, that drew nationally recognized speakers, on DjVu - an image compression technology developed at AT&T Labs that allows the distribution on the Internet of very high resolution images of scanned documents, digital documents, and photographs. In March he received an award from the New Jersey Library Association for technology innovation in 2003 for his work on Plan 9, an experimental operating system from Bell Labs. Brian published an article in Library Hi Tech magazine in December on "Reinventing Unix: An Introduction to the Plan 9 Operating System."

Brian is also one of the coordinators of the Spectator Project, an interactive hypermedia environment for the study of The Tatler (1709-1711), The Spectator (1711-14), and eighteenth-century periodicals in general. The Spectator Project, hosted on the Rutgers University Libraries website, is overseen by an advisory board of faculty from Princeton University, Penn State University, Rutgers University, the University of Missouri, Vanderbilt University, the University of Toronto, and other schools.

Posted January 6, 2004