Written by Andi Feddeler
As MobyLives recently reported, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which aims to strengthen and defend humanities and arts through grants and funding to higher institutions, awarded the University of Hawai’i Press a $100,000 grant in order to digitize and distribute twenty-two books that had gone out of print. The Mellon Foundation has partnered with the National Endowment for the Humanities in order to establish the Humanities Open Book Program, which works to make out-of-print books available to larger audiences.
Because digitizing books can be expensive and depends on technology that universities often don’t have access to, the grant will go a long way in helping make these books more accessible. The money will also pay for services like proofreading, clearing rights, and researching.
Though it’s not clear exactly which titles will be digitally uploaded, we can expect that they will be very important pieces of work. Among the confirmed books is a three-volume ethnography of Tahiti and a “biography of an important statesman who served the last king of the Hawaiian monarchy,” according to an article from the University of Hawai’i News page.
As technology advances and in-print books begin to decline, we can expect more projects like this to arise. Hopefully, the lengthy journey toward accessibility in the humanities will be pushed forward by the valuable grants and scholarships made available by organizations like the Mellon Foundation.