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U.S. Latin@ Archivist at the Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas at Austin.

Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) receives NEH grant


The Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) consortium and the University of Texas Libraries have received a grant of $348,359 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to enhance their efforts to provide researchers worldwide with access to collection descriptions of archival primary sources in libraries, archives and museums across Texas.

This grant builds on a 2015 NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Foundations Grant which enabled planning in key areas including shared best practices, training documentation and outreach to current and potential members and users. Grant activities will include a redesign of the TARO web platform to improve functionality and appearance, a review of Encoded Archival Description (EAD3) encoding standards, work towards standardizing existing control access terms (geographic names and subject headings) and training to support participation for TARO members.

TARO was first supported by a research grant from the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund (TIF) Board of the State of Texas in 1999. The University of Texas Libraries (UT Libraries) served as the requesting institution, with project partners including the Texas Digital Library Alliance, Rice University, Texas A&M University, Texas State Library and Archives, Texas Tech University, University of Houston and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. With these grant funds, UT Libraries established the TARO website, outsourced encoding of several hundred finding aids and provided training to member repositories. Repositories began contributing their own hand-coded finding aids in 2002. UT Libraries continued to support TARO after that initial grant. In June 2018 TARO formalized its institutional home as a program of the UT Libraries and a permanent MOU was signed.

“Having the State Archives’ finding aids available online in TARO, a consortial environment, where there are many shared and related topics among the materials held by member repositories, provides untold opportunities for discovery of our unique resources,” said Jelain Chubb, Texas state archivist and director of the Archives and Information Services Division at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

The grant will fund work through April 2022 and will be administered through the University of Texas Libraries. Libraries’ Director of Digital Strategies Aaron Choate will serve as the grant’s principal investigator. Members of the TARO Steering Committee and its subcommittees will carry out work as outlined in the grant.

“As a founding partner in TARO, UT Libraries has been proud to support the project over the years and we are excited to have the opportunity to work with the team to enhance the future of this vital collective project,” said Aaron Choate, Director of Digital Strategies at The University of Texas Libraries.




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Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO), a program of the University of Texas Libraries, is a consortial initiative that facilitates access to archival resources from member archives, libraries, and museums across Texas to inform, enrich, and empower researchers all over the world.



Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:


Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this article, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

TARO 2018 and beyond

Hello TARO!

We’ve come to the end of another productive year. I’ve enjoyed serving as your Steering Committee Chair throughout the year! The in-coming 2019 Steering Committee members are:

Chair: Carla Alvarez, UT Libraries, Benson Latin American Collection,

Vice-Chair: Rebecca Romanchuk, Texas State Library and Archives Commission,

Secretary: Irene Lule, University of Texas, Harry Ransom Center,

At-large member (2018-2019, 2 year term): Samantha Dodd, Southern Methodist University,

At-large member (2018-2019, 2 year term): Paul Fisher, Baylor University,

At-large member (2018-2020, 3 year term): Robert Weaver, Texas Tech University,

UT Libraries representative: Aaron Choate, UT Libraries,

Immediate Past Chair: Sandra Yates, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library,

Programmers are J.J. Bennett and Joanna Jackson, UT Libraries,

Thank You!
I’d like to thank the Steering Committee members that are rolling off the committee this year. Amanda Focke served as Immediate Past Chair, Chair of the Governance subcommittee, and Chair of the QA subcommittee for the Summerlee Project. Carol Mead served as Steering Committee Secretary for three years. I’m sure we’ll still see them around in TARO circles. Another huge thank you to Amy Bowman and her hard work as Chair of the Funding subcommittee pulling the NEH grant together and getting the award from the Summerlee Foundation. Finally to all the TARO members, thank you for your feedback throughout the year, your service on subcommittees, and, most importantly, submitting finding aids. TARO is growing, and we can’t do it without you!

2018 Major Accomplishments
University of Texas Libraries became TARO’s official institutional home

We received funding from the Summerlee
Foundation for our New Member Initiative Project, which is a 5-year project to encode finding aids and increase member participation in TARO. The QA subcommittee is already reviewing a small test batch of EAD XML files from the vendor, Digital Divide Data (DDD).

We submitted the implementation grant application to the NEH to improve TARO’s platform, technical infrastructure, and website.

New TARO URL Surveys
Thanks again for your feedback about possible TARO domain names! This will be in many cases the first impression of TARO in the years to come, and we want to make sure that it suits us.  During the Steering Committee meeting on December 17th, we had a lively discussion about the results–the whys, pros, and cons for each (see minutes, 2018-12-17.docx). None of them are a perfect fit, and I understand the feedback that I’ve received over the last few months. The Steering Committee decided to table the topic until next year, hoping for more perspectives from users, general public (potential users) as well as in terms of effective branding. So during the holidays and in the coming months, ask your researchers, family, and  your neighborhood marketing and graphic designers about what would be the best domain name for TARO. Feel free to send me any feedback,

Looking ahead to 2019
TARO Today blog will be moved to a UT sites page
The blog is where we share the latest news, How-To Tutorials, and details about TARO membership.

February 25: Introduction to TARO: Encoding and Submitting Finding Aids
Amy Bowman and Amanda Focke will be teaching a workshop at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin.

Learn hands-on basic skills needed to participate in TARO, including basic XML familiarity and editing, EAD familiarity, how to upload files to TARO, and troubleshooting.

You can register through SSA. $85 (full day) or $50 (half day)

March: We will hear from NEH about the implementation grant awards.

May: Pending grant funds, the three-year implementation project to improve TARO’s platform and website will begin.

May 30: New TARO membership period deadline for July.

November 30: New TARO membership period deadline for January

Summerlee Project will upload new findings aids for participating repositories and welcome five more new members to TARO.

Stay in Touch
TARO working wiki:
TARO Best Practices Guidelines:

If you have anything to add about the accomplishments of TARO and its members, please share with us.

Thanks again and see you in 2019!

Sandra Yates
Chair, 2018 TARO Steering Committee