AAA receives funding to launch bold electronic initiative in early 2004

December 18, 2003

The American Anthropological Association (AAA), the world's largest organization of anthropologists and largest single publisher of anthropological journals, has received a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to embark on a major internet-based communication initiative that will bring 100 years of anthropological material on-line to scholars and the public. The project, named AnthroSource will establish an electronic portal for scholars and interested persons to access a vast network of digitized materials on anthropology in a simple search. The three-year grant of $756,000 will fund the one-time development costs of this initiative.

Although published text will be the first accessible data, AnthroSource will eventually provide one-stop access to all media - sound, video, photographs, collections and databases - allowing people to tap into a broad range of materials that relate to anthropology from a centralized electronic source which facilitates sophisticated searching and easy retrieval.

AnthroSource is one of the most ambitious and innovative electronic initiatives currently underway in the social sciences and humanities. The AAA is uniquely positioned as sponsor, organizer and catalyst for the creation of this universal portal because it is the largest professional society of anthropologists and the trustee and steward of much of the historic record of anthropological work of the last century.

"AnthroSource is the most significant communications initiative undertaken by the AAA since its founding in 1902," says Bill Davis, AAA Executive Director. "It will exponentially expand access by scholars and the public to the most important work produced in anthropology in the past as well as put them in immediate touch with leading-edge work being produced today. It is, without a doubt, a development that could not have been undertaken without The Mellon Foundation's support."

AAA undertook the planning for AnthroSource with a $50,000 Mellon Foundation feasibility grant. It will partner with the University of California Press for the further development and implementation of the AnthroSource service. Work on AnthroSource begins on January 2, 2004.

As a first step, AAA will make past and current issues of its 29 print publications available online. When fully realized, AnthroSource will also include articles from journals published by other organizations and provide access to unpublished gray literature of relevance for anthropological research. This includes notes, databases, reference resources and unpublished writings as well as photographs, video and audio materials. AnthroSource will offer vastly expanded opportunities to deliver content that is impossible to present in print-only format.

Of signal importance is that AnthroSource will ensure the permanent availability of high-value material that may otherwise disappear. It will also heighten visibility for anthropological content throughout the world and provide comprehensive access to all types of materials for teachers and students not only in higher education but also at the secondary level. It will vastly expand access to literature in anthropology across the globe, serve the needs of scholarship and practice at all levels, and make anthropological information available to people in all sectors of society.

American Anthropological Association

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