In 2017 the Mellon Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, or NHPRC, launched an initiative designed to address an emerging challenge in the world of documentary editions: the expectation that an edition’s content would be available on the web. Set up in two funding stages—planning (2018) and implementation (beginning 2020)—the NHPRC-Mellon sought applications to address “the urgent need of scholars and documentary editors for reliable, sustainable, authoritative, and field-driven outlets for publication and discovery of digital editions.”
The structure of the Primary Source Cooperative reflects the stipulations of the grant initiative’s guidelines that each cooperative be made up of an edition cluster and a host institution: the four editions on the home page and the Massachusetts Historical Society. To this the PSC has also added the Digital Scholarship Group at Northeastern University as a digital derivatives partner.
The full call for the implementation grant can be found here. In order to pursue what we understood to be the most pressing goal of the Digital Edition Publishing Cooperatives initiative, the organizing team at the MHS envisioned a cooperative that would be of direct service to editors who lacked the on-team expertise and/or the institutional resources to meet the perceived digital edition mandate. We also believed that the goal should be a digitization plan that makes use of the editorial richness provided by text encoding, making an XML-based workflow desirable.