Williams College Awarded Mellon Grant to Increase Access to Scholarship

Media contact: Gregory Shook, director of media relations; tele: 413-597-3401; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Oct. 30, 2018—Williams College, in partnership with the Islandora Collaboration Group (ICG) and in consultation with the Islandora Foundation, has received a $153,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the Islandora for All project.

Islandora for All is designed to advance the development of Islandora, an open-source digital repository that enables institutions—such as academic libraries, archives, and research institutions—to manage and share scholarly materials. Islandora was originally developed by the University of Prince Edward Island’s Robertson Library, but is now implemented and contributed to by an ever-growing international academic community that includes Williams College, Barnard College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Grinnell College, and Hamilton College, among others.

The Williams-led project will build on Islandora’s existing framework to make the platform easier to install and manage, therefore more useful to a larger group of institutions and saving valuable resources. In addition, Islandora for All intends to be scalable in order to serve evolving digital repository needs. This will allow institutions to operate smoothly while accommodating large collections of more than one million digital objects.

Among the expectations of the project is that institutions will be able to reduce costs for installing and maintaining Islandora by approximately 50 percent. This will help democratize and equalize access for institutions with limited resources, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities, community colleges, and tribal colleges.

By creating a high-storage-capacity digital repository that can be installed and maintained by a single person with modest technical skills, yet will perform at the level of more expensive platforms, Islandora for All aims to alleviate financial barriers and foster a scholarly community that values all institutions as producers of scholarship and promotes the dissemination of scholarly works.

Islandora for All is building community, making the Islandora platform more accessible by simplifying the deployment and maintenance of the Islandora stack, and establishing a viable out-of-the-box institutional repository to improve scholarly publishing and networking,” said David Keiser-Clark, Islandora for All project manager and academic application developer at Williams College.

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Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.

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