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New consortium will ensure future of SlaveVoyages database

Metro ATL

New consortium will ensure future of SlaveVoyages database

Main Quad on Emory University's primary Druid Hills Campus. Photo obtained via Wikimedia Commons

Atlanta, GA — SlaveVoyages.org, created and hosted at Emory University and a preeminent resource for the study of slavery, will be operated by a newly formed consortium of institutions, ensuring the preservation, stability and future development of what has become the single most widely used online resource for anyone interested in slavery across the Atlantic world, a press release announced.

The new consortium, organized by Emory, will function as a cooperative academic collaboration through a contractual agreement among six institutions: Emory, the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture at William & Mary, Rice University, and three campuses at the University of California that will assume a joint membership: UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine and UC Berkeley. Membership is for a three-year term and is renewable.

“The launch of the SlaveVoyages.org consortium is an innovation not just for scholars of slavery, but for all soft money digital humanities projects,” says David Eltis, Robert W. Woodruff Professor Emeritus of History and co-director of the SlaveVoyages project. “At long last, this consortium opens up a route to sustainability.”

Long-term sustainability has become an important question for granting agencies considering support for research in the humanities, says Allen Tullos, co-director of Emory’s Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS), which has worked with Eltis and other scholars to host, enhance and expand SlaveVoyages, including a major relaunch in 2018. “This consortium is a new model for publishing and sustaining large-scale digital humanities research.”

“Twenty years and four million viewers after its first appearance as a CD-ROM, the future of 48,000 slaving ventures recorded in SlaveVoyages is finally secured for posterity,” says Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of Harvard’s Hutchins Center, a consortium member.

Gates has called SlaveVoyages.org “a gold mine” and “one of the most dramatically significant research projects in the history of African studies, African American studies and the history of world slavery itself.”

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