Thursday, December 17, 2015

ANS Awarded Funding for NEH/Mellon Foundation’s Humanities Open Book Project

The American Numismatic Society has been chosen as one of ten publishers to participate in Humanities Open Book project, a joint NEH-Mellon Foundation grant program to convert out-of-print books of enduring scholarship into EPUB e-books licensed to allow readers to search and download these books freely, and to read them on any type of e-reader. The ANS is the only learned society to receive funding for this initiative.

“The large number of valuable scholarly books in the humanities that have fallen out of print in recent decades represents a huge untapped resource,” said NEH Chairman William Adams. “By placing these works into the hands of the public we hope that the Humanities Open Book program will widen access to the important ideas and information they contain and inspire readers, teachers and students to use these books in exciting new ways.”

ANS publications date back to 1866 and include over 500 volumes of numismatic scholarship. Thanks to the funding received from the Mellon Foundation, nearly 100 of its rarest out-of-print books will be converted into free EPUB digital editions. The ANS will go one step further by TEI-encoding these editions for online viewing, searching, and linking. Following best-practices of Linked Open Data (LOD), these XML files will link to (and will be able to be linked from) other Open Access (OA) resources in the Humanities, benefiting researchers in history, archaeology, art history, geography, and other disciplines.

“Scholars in the humanities are making increasing use of digital media to access evidence, produce new scholarship, and reach audiences that increasingly rely on such media for information to understand and interpret the world in which they live,” said Earl Lewis, President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“Knowledge wants to be free,” Andrew Reinhard, ANS Director of Publications said. “This grant will help the ANS put even more of its collections online for free and open access for anyone who wants it.” The ANS continues its ongoing, longtime commitment to digitization and databases having placed over 600,000 objects online—more than 100,000 of which have been photographed—while contributing tens of thousands of coin records via international projects such as Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE) and PELLA: Coinage of the Macedonian kings of the Argead dynasty. Thanks to the Mellon grant, the ANS can continue to add its publications to this suite of OA materials.

Ethan Gruber, the ANS’s Director of Data Science, said “this is an important project that will enable us to further integrate our numismatic collection, archival materials, and digital library into a cohesive platform to further not only the study of coins, but also the study of the evolution of numismatics.”

“On behalf of the Trustees and staff of the Society, I would like to thank the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this exciting project,” Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Executive Director of the ANS, said.

The Mellon-funded EPUB and TEI-encoded publications will be available by the end of 2016.

For more information, contact Andrew Reinhard, Director of Publications, at

The full list of works to be made publicly accessible as EBooks through this program is available at

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