April 9, 2018

University of Hawai‘i Press will digitize twenty-two out-of-print books thanks to a Mellon Foundation grant


Last week, the University of Hawai‘i announced that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to the University of Hawai‘i Press to help in the digitization and open-access distribution of twenty-two out-of-print books.

The grant is a part of a larger national effort by the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), called the Humanities Open Book Program. Specifically designed to help universities and colleges digitize important and influential out-of-print backlist titles, it’s supporting the University of Hawai‘i for its second year running. Last year, the University received $90,000 to help launch a digitization project at UH-Mānoa in Honolulu.

Digitizing texts can be very expensive, requiring technological resources not easily funded within the university system. This grant helps university presses revitalize their lists by digitizing important texts and uploading them onto open-access sites. The texts would be available in both EPUB and PDF formats, at no cost.

The release quotes Joel CosseboomUH Press’s interim director and publisher:

“Like most university presses, we operate without an endowment and within narrow margins in order to support the best scholarship. This generous grant from the Mellon Foundation and the NEH will enable us to give important works from our 70 years of publishing new life in virtual collections.”

With this grant, UH Press hopes to digitize a “heavily illustrated, three-volume ethnography of Tahiti, as well as the biography of an important statesman who served the last king of the Hawaiian monarchy,” among other historical texts.



Alex Primiani is the associate director of publicity at Melville House.