ARCScholar: Digital Publishing Cooperative Grant Awarded to IDHMC

  • Posted on: 8 January 2018
  • By: nsumpter

The Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture (IDHMC), on behalf of the Advanced Research Consortium (ARC, http://www.ar-c.org), announces the award of a NHPRC-Mellon Digital Edition Publishing Cooperatives Grant to Texas A&M University for $75,000. This grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will be used to plan the development of ARCScholar, a digital publishing cooperative, and to form its governance structure. ARCScholar will participate with other grant recipients in creating a system of cooperatives for publishing and sustaining digital editions.

The ARCScholar Digital Publishing Cooperative, an arm of Advanced Research Consortium, will gather together digital editions and publishers of digital editions to determine how to share tools, how to submit editions to libraries for archiving, and how to maximize their findability. Participants include the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (http://www.cwrc.ca), Romantic Circles (https://www.rc.umd.edu), TextLab (http://hofstradrc.org/tools/textlab.html), and JuxtaEditions (http://www.juxtaeditions.com); Just Teach One (JTO http://jto.common-place.org), JTO: Early African American Print (http://jtoaa.common-place.org), and the Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballads (http://www.americanantiquarian.org/thomasballads), all of the American Antiquarian Society; Digital Page (
http://beta.cwrc.ca/project/digitalpage
), the Collected Letters of Robert Southey (https://www.rc.umd.edu/editions/southey_letters), the Melville Electronic Library (https://mel.hofstra.edu/), Digital Donne (http://donne.dh.tamu.edu), and the Digital Cavendish Project (http://www.digitalcavendish.org).

“We are really grateful to the Mellon Foundation and the NHPRC for this support,” said Dr. Laura Mandell, PI for the project. “Scholars do not yet know how digital editions can be best published and sustained, and this grant provides an opportunity to work out the precise interconnections among scholars, presses, and libraries for enabling, preserving, and enhancing digital publications.” Dr. Mandell is Director of ARC.

ARC operates as a hub of humanities research nodes containing resources spanning the bulk of existing Western written documents, from medieval times to early 20th century. It developed out of the NINES project at the University of Virginia. In 2003, scholars led by Jerome McGann and Bethany Nowviskie met to create an organization that would not only aggregate together digital projects produced by nineteenth-century scholars – the Blake Archive, the Rossetti Archive, Whitman – but also provide a means for evaluating digital projects through peer review. As scholars clamored for similar organizations that covered more than the nineteenth century, ARC came into existence, providing a social and technological infrastructure for the Medieval Electronic Scholarly Association (http://www.mesa-medieval.org), 18thConnect (http://www.18thconnect.org), NINES (http://www.nines.org), Modernist Networks (http://www.modnets.org), the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (http://www.cwrc.ca) and Studies in Radicalism Online (http://www.studiesinradicalism.org). Other communities are forthcoming, the Networked Early American Resources finding-aid (NEAR, December 2017), sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society and New York University, the Renaissance Knowledge Network (ReKN, January 2018), and Musical Scholarship Online (MuSO, 2018). Each of these scholarly communities was born out of a desire to legitimize but also to provide guidelines for successful and meaningful implementations of digital scholarship, as well as to make them easily findable by students and scholars through the scholarly communities’ interfaces as well as BigDIVA (the Big Data Infrastructure Visualization Application, http://www.bigdiva.org).

ARC currently gathers together peer-reviewed digital scholarship, making it findable. However, over the last six years, ARC has received many requests for a publishing platform from scholars. ARCScholar will aggregate digital editions that are published by institutions (digital publishing platforms as well as colleges and universities), working with them to break down silos, share tools, and maximize preservation, and it will publish scholarly digital editions that lack institutional support. ARC is hosted by the IDHMC at Texas A&M University.