Ohio State is one of the foremost research universities, conducting innovative studies across a wide variety of fields (it's good at football too. And has Best Damn Band in The Land. We digress). A group of professors wanted to use artificial intelligence and machine-learning to help researchers find relevant data collections, and eventually expand the network to other universities.
But first they needed a test version to gain funding. As respected members of their own fields, they knew a lot about the datasets they wanted to include. But finding a way to make it all work, and make it all work within their limited timeline, was something they would need help with.