Mellon Foundation Grant Supports Web Resources Project

NEW YORK, January 17, 2008 The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $156,000 to Columbia University and the University of Maryland to support the development of coherent, holistic models for incorporating web content into research library collections.

Columbia and the University of Maryland share oversight of the project, with Robert Wolven, Associate University Librarian for Bibliographic Services and Collection Development at Columbia, and Carlen Ruschoff, Maryland’s Director of Information Technology and Technical Services, taking the lead. Wolven said, “We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for recognizing the potential in this project. By collaborating on the development of a more holistic approach, we will gain a better understanding of the conceptual and practical transformations needed to incorporate web content into research libraries’ collections.”

The Mellon grant will support the Columbia University Libraries and the University of Maryland Libraries in a one-year, collaborative project with three interrelated objectives: to identify actions needed to incorporate freely available web content in the libraries’ collection-building processes; to estimate the scale of institutional investment needed to pursue such a program, retrospectively and on an ongoing basis; and to suggest means by which such local investment, as well as the benefits of the resulting collections, can be shared across and among the larger research library community.

Columbia University and the University of Maryland are among four institutions––including the University of Rochester and Stanford––that received Mellon grants for Web archiving.

To test these questions and develop models applicable to a range of content, Columbia and Maryland will each focus on a subject area in which it has strong existing collections and a strong research interest: Columbia on human rights; Maryland on historic preservation (saving historic places and revitalizing communities in the U.S.). For both of these subject areas, a significant body of content is generated by non-commercial organizations, with a growing amount in digital form only and with uncertain prospects for long-term availability. 

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 100,000 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

The University of Maryland is among the top 20 public research universities in the U.S. and is the only nationally ranked public university in the Baltimore/Washington area. With a total student enrollment approaching 40,000, the University is supported in its academic endeavors by the University of Maryland Library System, comprised of eight libraries and more than 3.5 million volumes.  The Libraries' special collections are particularly rich and include diverse formats and subjects, including printed and rare books, manuscripts, still photographs (more than 2.4 million images), audio/visual recordings, and antique maps.  Collections are especially strong in the humanities.  The Libraries’ website at is a gateway to its print and digital collections and to its services.

01/17/08 LMK