Lighting the Way: A National Forum on Archival Discovery and Delivery

Monday, February 10 to Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Stanford University, Stanford, California

Call for participation open November 13-December 15, 2019


Stanford University Libraries invites archives, library, and technology workers and those in related fields to self-nominate as participants for Lighting the Way: A National Forum on Archival Discovery and Delivery, funded by IMLS grant LG-35-19-0012-19. The forum event will take place over two and a half  at Stanford University in Stanford, California from February 10-12, 2020, with approximately 50 participants. Grant funds will allow us to fund partial to full travel costs, meals during the event, and lodging for most participants. 


To apply, please complete the application form at the following link:


The application form requests information about you, your responsibilities, and your work related to focus of the project. The initial call for participation will be open from November 13 to December 15, 2019. Our project team will be reviewing the nominations on a rolling basis, and will respond no later than January 10, 2020. Information gathered in the application form will be used to select participants for the Forum, to inform Forum planning, and to identify opportunities for the project team to follow up with you. Your responses will not be shared beyond the project team and its participant advisors.


We describe what people and systems do to find, access, and use material from archives and special collections as archival discovery and delivery. The “front-end” systems involved in this work include those supporting search and presentation of archival description, delivery and presentation of digital objects, request management systems, and interpretation and crowdsourcing. A major challenge in this area is determining how to effectively integrate those systems to work together as a coordinated whole, to support the needs of users and library and archives workers. We seek to get an in-depth understanding of how these systems can and should work together to support archival discovery and delivery, and to develop a forward-looking agenda describing an ethical, equitable, sustainable, and well-integrated future for access and use of archives and special collections.


To be successful, the project relies heavily on participation from those thinking and working around the topics of practical, technological, and legal and ethical concerns related to discovery, access, and use of archives and special collections. This includes a wide variety of roles across multiple disciplines, job functions, and organizational contexts, such as (but not limited to) the following:


  • Archives, special collections, and other library staff, including archivists, librarians, managers, and administrators, who represent the primary functional stakeholders in front-end systems integration. We invite nominations across organizational contexts (academic libraries, public libraries, museums, community archives, historical societies, grassroots/nonprofits, corporate, consortia, and government archives) and job function or specialization (arrangement and description, public services, metadata management, and digital collections).
  • Technologists, including software developers, user experience designers, product managers, systems architects, and technical leadership. We invite nominations from those who work in archives and libraries or those with related interest and experience. This includes those who work within the context of libraries and archives, as well as those who work for vendors, consortia, or other software and service providers. 
  • Those with interest or expertise in terms of legal and ethical concerns related to archives and special collections, such as intellectual property, inclusive description, cultural sensitivity, risk management, and open access.


Our goals for the project include providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for participation and collaboration. We strongly encourage self-nominations from individuals who identify with underrepresented or marginalized populations as well as those whose work relates to underrepresented or marginalized populations (e.g. collections relating to such populations). 

If you have any questions or feedback about our project, please contact Mark A. Matienzo, the project director, at [log in to unmask], or visit the project website at


This 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



Mark A. MATIENZO |  [log in to unmask] |  +1 (650) 683-5769

Assistant Director for Digital Strategy and Access

Digital Library Systems and Services, Stanford University Libraries

My pronouns are they/them



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