Campus receives Mellon Foundation grant to help create new forms of digital publication

uc santa cruz assistant history professor Elaine Sullivan
Elaine Sullivan
UC Santa Cruz is the lead institution on a $100,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to help build a sustainable system for the digital publication and discovery of historical records.

The campus is one of eight winners nationally who have been awarded funds to design a cooperative infrastructure for publication, including digital repositories and discovery tools. The project team will discuss policies concerning rights and access, common use of linked open data standards, a possible system of shared governance, and a means of sustaining the work.

UC Santa Cruz assistant professor of history Elaine Sullivan will serve as the acting principal investigator of the grant, in collaboration with Angel D. Nieves of San Diego State University.    

"This is a one-year planning grant, meant to bring members of a possible publishing collaborative together to think through what they might do to create new forms of digital publication for 'digital editions,'" Sullivan noted.

The grant brings together scholars working on 3D modeling/virtual environments to strategize the needs for publishing rich annotated content online. The project goal is to develop a plan to create a sustainable, open-source 3D digital-edition publishing cooperative that harnesses the knowledge and experience of scholars deeply engaged with the creation and dissemination of new forms of digital scholarship.

"Academic publishers, scholars with 3D content, digital librarians, technologists, and scholars will come together to identify and address the long-term challenges of preservation--and access--to a range of 3D content types, and to create new pathways to publication for scholars working with rich, layered 3D scholarly materials," Sullivan added.

The Digital Edition Publishing Cooperatives Program was first announced in 2017 as a partnership between the Mellon Foundation and the NHPRC (the grant-making arm of the National Archives) to make historical records readily accessible to scholars, students, and the public.

"Assembling primary source evidence in critical scholarly editions is one of the humanities' most important contributions to our collective understanding of the world and its people," said Donald Waters, senior program officer at the Mellon Foundation. 

"Since the early 1990s, scholars have used the digital medium to present these editions to the public, especially when the relevant evidence is in various formats, including texts, maps, audio, and still and moving images. With support from the eight grants in the Mellon-NHPRC Digital Edition Publishing Cooperatives Program, scholars will be collaborating to find common platforms, tools, procedures, and other economical means to be even more effective in creating and publishing critical editions of vital primary source evidence," he added.

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero noted, "At the National Archives, our very mission is to make records accessible.  We are honored to be part of this project and delighted to join with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help make our nation's historical records more widely available to anyone, anywhere, and at no cost.  These cooperatives will explore technologies to revolutionize online historical research."