Search DH@UVA

Your Portal to the Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia

UVA wins $1M Mellon Grant for Digital Publishing Cooperative

UVA wins $1M Mellon Grant for Digital Publishing Cooperative

Press Release (Center for Digital Editing)

University of Virginia Awarded $1 Million Grant from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Press release published in full from the Center for Digital Editing (Contact: Katie Blizzard,

Charlottesville, Va.— The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $1 million toward a groundbreaking digital publishing enterprise at the University of Virginia (UVA).


The funding will support the Virginia Digital Publishing Cooperative, a partnership between the Center for Digital Editing (CDE) and University of Virginia Press that developed out of an NHPRC-Mellon planning grant awarded in 2017. The new award, issued in December 2019, will promote the creation of an accessible, robust, and sustainable system for publishing the work of scholars who transcribe and annotate records of historical importance.


The grant was made possible through a partnership between The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. In 2017, the NHPRC-Mellon Digital Edition Publishing Cooperatives initiative was developed in response to “the urgent need of scholars and documentary editors for reliable, sustainable, authoritative, and field-driven outlets for publication and discovery of digital editions.”


For the next three years, individuals and organizations from around the globe will collaborate on building the technical and human infrastructures necessary to make such a publishing pipeline possible. More than 30 leaders from the fields of textual editing, history, and digital humanities are participating, including Ron Hutchins, vice president of information technology at UVA; John Unsworth, dean of libraries at UVA; and the following organizations:

  • American University
  • Boston University
  • Bucknell University
  • Brumfield Labs, LLC
  • Center for Digital Editing (CDE) at the University of Virginia
  • Centre for Information Modelling in the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities at the University of Graz
  • Constitutional Sources Project
  • Cumberland University
  • Dolley Madison Digital Edition/Founding Women at the University of Virginia
  • Hampshire College
  • Harvard University
  • Filson Historical Society
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Ramapo College of New Jersey
  • SUNY Old Westbury
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Mary Washington
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of Virginia Libraries
  • University of Virginia Press/Rotunda
  • Wheaton College

Jennifer Stertzer, director of the Center for Digital Editing and principal investigator on the grant, explained that these contributors were carefully chosen for their insight into the challenges of preparing and publishing scholarly editions. “Members of this cooperative have long advocated for a robust digital editing ecosystem that provides editors with the tools, platforms, resources, and expertise necessary to advance the field of documentary editing and its goal of making the humanities accessible.”


Currently, there are only a handful of publishing platforms available to editors. Most notable of these is Rotunda, the electronic imprint of UVA Press. Rotunda was created to publish original digital scholarship along with newly digitized versions of previously published editions of critical and documentary works in the humanities and social sciences. 


Rotunda’s established reputation in publishing digital editions, and its available scholarship and expertise, will allow the cooperative to offer the electronic imprint as an attractive option for peer-reviewed publication. An additional option that will be made available includes a more customizable platform modeled after the digital editions developed by the CDE. The Virginia Digital Publishing Cooperative will help editors choose from among these options according to the needs and goals of their project. Ultimately, the cooperative’s package of consulting services and publication options should simplify digital publishing while accommodating editorial vision.


“The University of Virginia Press has worked closely with the Washington Papers and the Center for Digital Editing since the mid-2000s on our Rotunda digital edition of The Papers of George Washington, and for decades with the documentary editing community as the publisher of editions of George Washington, James Madison, John Jay, and other major figures,” said David Sewell, manager of digital initiatives at UVA Press. “We are pleased that our collaboration will now expand to enable a wider universe of documentary editors to take advantage of digital preparation and publication for their projects.”


“The Digital Publishing Cooperative will make digital editing and publishing more accessible by providing myriad modes of access and discovery; it will also enhance our understanding of history and advance scholarly research,” added Christian McMillen, associate dean of UVA’s College of Arts and Sciences. “The NHPRC-Mellon award confirms what we have long known: The University of Virginia Press and the Center for Digital Editing are leaders in the field of digital publishing.”



For more information about the grant, contact Katie Blizzard at



About the Center for Digital Editing


The Center for Digital Editing (CDE) promotes innovative digital advances in the field of scholarly editing. Founded in 2015 at the University of Virginia, the CDE is constantly exploring and developing new resources and insights as they relate to the following four elements: research and development, engagement, project consultation and development, and education.


Learn more about the CDE at the



About the University of Virginia Press's Rotunda


Rotunda was created to publish original digital scholarship along with newly digitized critical and documentary editions in the humanities and social sciences. Rotunda collections combine the originality, intellectual rigor, and scholarly value of traditional peer-reviewed university press publishing with thoughtful technological innovation designed for scholars and students.

Rotunda publications are produced by staff members of the University of Virginia Press. 


For more information on Rotunda or UVA Press, contact Emily Grandstaff at 434-982-2932 or