January 25, 2009 -- New York, NY. JSTOR and Ithaka today announced the merger of their organizations. This move unites two pioneering entities that are focused on helping the scholarly community take advantage of rapidly advancing information technologies.
JSTOR was founded in 1995 by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as a shared digital library to help academic institutions save costs associated with the storage of library materials and to vastly improve access to scholarship. Today, more than 5,200 academic institutions and 600 scholarly publishers and content owners participate in JSTOR. Ithaka was started in 2003 by Kevin Guthrie, the original founder of JSTOR, with funding from the Mellon Foundation as well as The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation. Ithaka was established to aid promising not-for-profit digital initiatives and to provide research and insight on important strategic issues facing the academic community. Ithaka has become known for its influential reports including the 2007 University Publishing in A Digital Age and the 2008 Sustainability and Revenue Models for Online Academic Resources. It is the organizational home to Portico, a digital preservation service, and NITLE, a suite of services supporting the use of technology in liberal arts education.
The new combined enterprise will be called Ithaka and will be dedicated to helping the academic community use digital technologies to advance scholarship and teaching and to reducing system-wide costs through collective action.
This is a natural step for these organizations. JSTOR and Ithaka already work closely together, sharing a common history, values, and fundamental purpose. During 2008, the Ithaka-incubated resource Aluka was integrated into JSTOR as an initial step, further strengthening ties between the organizations. JSTOR will now join Portico and NITLE as a coordinated set of offerings made available under the Ithaka organizational name.
As one organization, Ithaka will explore how to use its combined knowledge and experience to help its constituents in new ways. "The academic community has invested significantly in the important set of services that we manage and, together, they represent core elements of the networked digital infrastructure needed to support scholarship, research, and teaching. Increasingly we are approached for help on a range of initiatives that seek to leverage this investment and that we think will benefit from stronger coordination across all our areas of expertise and activity," said Guthrie. "We are very excited about the potential to work with our constituents in even more useful innovative ways through this combination."
The organization will also remain steadfastly committed to enabling institutions to maximize the benefits they provide to scholars and students while containing expenses. Michael Spinella, Executive Director of JSTOR and now Executive Vice President of Ithaka added, "JSTOR and Ithaka have a history of helping academic institutions by building and managing collectively-supported large-scale resources with an aim of developing sustainable models that deliver greater value than institutions could achieve alone. Now is the time when we can work even more closely together to develop and sustain the kinds of shared solutions that will be vital to the success of educational institutions in the future."
In addition to JSTOR, Portico, and NITLE, Ithaka’s existing research and strategic services groups will remain important parts of the enterprise. The board will be composed of Ithaka and JSTOR Trustees, with Henry Bienen, President of Northwestern University, serving as Chairman and Paul Brest, President of the Hewlett Foundation as Vice Chairman.
JSTOR is an independent not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the scholarly community discover, use, and build upon a wide range of intellectual content in a trusted digital archive. The JSTOR archive includes over 800 leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as conference proceedings, transactions, select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work. More than 5,200 academic and other institutions in 143 countries and over 600 learned societies, university presses, cultural heritage, and other content contributors participate in JSTOR. Since the public launch of the archive, over 750 million articles and other items have been accessed by researchers and students throughout the world.
Ithaka is an independent not-for-profit organization with a mission to accelerate the productive uses of information technologies for the benefit of higher education worldwide. Ithaka provides research, strategic, and administrative services to promising not-for-profit projects, helping them to develop sustainable organizational and business models. It also works with established institutions that are rethinking the way they serve their core constituents. Ithaka includes Portico a digital preservation archive to which more than 8,200 e-journals and 4,600 e-books are committed, and NITLE, a suite of services supporting the innovative use of technology in liberal arts education.