Public Knowledge supports the creation and preservation of our cultural record—the vast and ever-growing historical archive that helps us explore and better understand our intertwined humanity. Our goal is to increase equitable access to deep knowledge—from scholarly texts to community collections—that helps build an informed, culturally diverse, and civically engaged society.
We work with archives, presses, and a range of university, public, and other local, national, and global libraries that are foundational to knowledge production and distribution. We prioritize grantmaking that supports the innovative maintenance of technology, tools, and infrastructure for content related to our social justice orientation, expands digital inclusion, and focuses on the preservation of materials from historically underrepresented and underfunded cultures and populations.
In collaboration with our grantees and funding partners, we aspire to cultivate networked resources, services, and collections, and to ensure that more authentic, reflective, complex, and nuanced stories are revealed, preserved, and told.
Community Archives Empower through Access and Inclusion
A UCLA program is helping communities reclaim their histories and determine what has value for the present and the future.READ MORE >
Queer Southern History: Building Community Archives to Preserve a Diverse LGBTQ+ Legacy
A network of community-based archives is helping to fill in the missing social history of LGBTQ+ people across the South.READ MORE >
Capturing History, 280 Characters at a Time
After Ferguson, archivists Bergis Jules and Edward Summers created DocNow to preserve social media posts, enabling activists to document the world’s most important social and political movements.READ MORE >
Preserving Social Media and Internet Art, Before Platforms Become Obsolete
Rhizome’s Webrecorder software is used to archive complex, interactive websites and new media art for future use and scholarship.READ MORE >
Correspondence Archives in the Age of Email
Senior Program Associate Kristen C. Ratanatharathorn on the US-UK task force currently developing a framework to address the challenges of preserving email correspondence.READ MORE >
Working Against the Clock to Preserve Time-Based Media
Audiovisual content, the fastest growing segment within archives and special collections, presents distinct conservation challenges. These initiatives aim to ensure that materials remain available for future generations.READ MORE >
Monograph Publishing in the Digital Age
Donald J. Waters, senior program officer for Public Knowledge, on incorporating modern digital practices into monograph publication of scholarship in the humanities.READ MORE >
Shining New Light on Hidden Collections
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative is improving access to collections in small repositoriesREAD MORE >
An Interview with Donald J. Waters
“There’s a revolution taking place,” says Donald J. Waters. Digital technologies are dramatically expanding and equalizing access to resources in the humanities, he notes, with vast implications for the entire field. As the Mellon Foundation’s Senior Program Officer for Scholarly Communications, Waters has been helping to support the people in the forefront of this revolution.READ MORE >
How is Digital Humanities Saving the Past for Our Future?
Perhaps one of the most refined traditions of data curation in the humanities is the publication of evidence in the form of scholarly editions. In the last decade, the digital environment has been enabling scholars to extend the form and function of this essential tool. Mellon’s grantmaking seeks to assist in accelerating some of these changes.READ MORE >