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Kentucky Historical Society to Lead National Digital Research Effort

A $90,000 grant from the National Historical Records and Publications Commission (NHPRC) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will help a team of national organizations led by the Kentucky Historical Society explore the future of biographical research and publishing for digital history projects. The Nineteenth Century Digital Cooperative (NCDC) will provide researchers, teachers and students a broader and better-connected network of historical people found in each member’s database. It also will enable the partners to seamlessly share data so that editors can produce, annotate and digitally publish historical documents more quickly than ever before. The cooperative’s initial members include the Civil War Governors of Kentucky (CWGK) Digital Documentary Edition at the Kentucky Historical Society, the Papers of Abraham Lincoln at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Frederick Douglass Papers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. CWGK director Patrick Lewis, Ph.D., is the project’s principal investigator. “The NCDC would lower the barrier to intellectual access of texts, archives and perhaps even image and object collections by providing an ever-growing bank of identified individuals and a place to host newly created biographical files, which can be served up according to the needs of the partner projects,” Lewis said. The $90,000 NHPRC/Mellon grant will be used to fund a planning and feasibility study for the database, assisted by nationally recognized consultants in digital humanities, documentary editing and Civil War research. The grant is part of a joint Digital Edition Publishing Cooperatives program launched by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the NHPRC (part of the National Archives) to fund creative ways to share digital resources and build new online publishing infrastructure. The goal is to create sharable tools that deliver a greater volume and quality of historical information via the web.


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