Historians today can represent the past using an unprecedented variety of tools. Projects like Mapping Occupation and Virtual St Paul’s Cross demonstrate how digital publications can help us make sense of the role of the US Army in southern states during Reconstruction, or think in new ways about what it was like to attend an open-air sermon in 17th-century London. Humanists whose work cannot easily be accommodated to traditional modes of scholarly communication now have access to platforms for digital publishing like Scalar and Omeka that accommodate a rich variety of primary source materials, narratives, and analytical flexibility. But finding support for the research and publication of such scholarship can often be a challenge. The latest collaboration between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation looks to provide support for scholars whose work would benefit from digital publication.
Since the late 1990s the Mellon Foundation has provided funding for digital publication of humanities scholarship. Over the course of a decade starting in 1999, the Gutenberg-e program pioneered e-books as a medium for scholarly publication and worked to encourage their acceptance. In recent years, the Mellon Foundation and the NEH have collaborated to encourage and support digital research and publication in the humanities by individuals and institutions. The Humanities Open Book program funds the republication of out-of-print books in open access electronic formats, thereby improving availability of important scholarship by returning it to the marketplace.
The latest collaboration between the nation’s most important public and private humanities funders provides individual scholars with support for digital publication. The new NEH-Mellon Fellowships for Digital Publication provide grants to support paths to digital publication for scholarly works. This grant is a wonderful opportunity for historians whose research and publication ambitions include “visual, audio, and/or other multimedia materials or flexible reading pathways that could not be included in traditionally published books.” The application deadline is April 28.
For similar fellowship opportunities, check out the AHA’s free calendar.