Institutional Collaboration

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Mill Marginalia Online is an institutional collaboration between Somerville College, Oxford and the University of Alabama. In support of its mission to sustain the University of Oxford’s research and teaching mandates, as well as to promote the College’s historic special collections, Somerville issued a public call, in the November 2014 issue of Somerville Magazine, “to foster research into the annotations and to preserve” the John Stuart Mill Collection. After a close correspondence with Dr. Anne Manuel, the Somerville Librarian and Archivist, Professor Albert Pionke successfully obtained competitively awarded internal funding from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama for “The Reading Mill,” a project whose deliverables included digital page images of the marginalia found in Mill’s personal copy of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and two dozen other volumes. The technical and project management staff of UA Libraries’ Alabama Digital Humanities Center, led by Professor Emma Wilson, translated these images and their metadata into a form suitable for inclusion in a database and companion website to allow for faceted searching of the marks and annotations. On the strength of this initial collaboration and in light of the scholarly promise of this initial sampling of verbal and nonverbal marginalia, Manuel at Somerville College and Pionke at the University of Alabama have obtained additional funding for the project, from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and Britain’s National Manuscripts Conservation Trust, and UA’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and College of Arts and Sciences, respectively, and they, along with Wilson, have publicized some of the results obtained thus far through academic conferences, public relations events, and intellectual networks on both sides of the Atlantic.