The research program DIGARV is based on a government assignment. Within the Swedish Government’s Research Bill in 2016, the need to support and promote so-called “data-driven research, especially in the humanities and social sciences” was stressed. This type of academic research and knowledge production did often originate from digitised “material that is presently available at archives, libraries and cultural heritage institutions. Such material constitutes a resource whose research potential is largely untapped since only a fraction is digitised. Digitising collections at archives, museums and libraries increase accessibility and creates new opportunities for research, primarily in the humanities and social sciences, but also in other scientific areas. Increased access to digital data sets potentially opens for new issues and method development” (Prop. 2016/17: 50, 95).
These formulations in the 2016 Research Bill resulted in a special grant to the Swedish Research Council —which in collaboration with Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences) and the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities—in spring 2018 published a call for research funding on “Project grants for digitisation and accessibility to cultural heritage collections”. Within a framework—what now became called the DIGARV program—the call was aimed at promoting the digitisation and availability of cultural heritage collections, appealing primarily to the humanities and social sciences. The ambition of the call was to promote data driven research focusing on digitisation and cultural heritage collections, that is, collections of material and immaterial expressions of human influence. The call for the DIGARV program was broad, and aimed at researchers primarily active in the humanities and social science. In particular, however, the call welcomed collaborations between researchers and cultural heritage institutions with an emphasis on method development. The call was therefore also aimed at strengthening research environments in Sweden with a focus on digitisation and accessibility to cultural heritage, as well as general supporting of collaborations between researchers and cultural heritage institutions.
Within the framework of the DIGARV program, during the autumn of 2018 nine research projects were awarded funding (all presented on this site). A co-ordination function was also attached to the DIGARV program, and between 2019 and 2021 DIGARV will be coordinated by Professor Anna Näslund Dahlgren (Stockholm University) and Professor Pelle Snickars (Umeå University). The tasks of the coordinators include organizing joint activities and a workshops—for the researchers within the DIGARV program —as well as open and public events for the broader research community, stakeholders in the cultural heritage sector and the general public. DIGARV also has a steering group with representatives from the research funders, cultural heritage institutions and Digisam. During spring 2020 another call for research funding will be announced within the DIGARV program.